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Updated on Tuesday, February 19, 2019
If you’re drawn to midwestern friendliness, wide open spaces and affordable homes, there’s no place like Kansas to settle down. And if you need help coming up with a down payment on your first home, or you want to keep your mortgage affordable, the state may have a program for you.
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The Sunflower State offers one first-time homebuyer program that provides assistance with your down payment and other homebuying costs in the form of a forgivable loan. And to help increase the number of homebuying assistance options, two Kansas counties joined to create another statewide program open to first-time homebuyers. Because the state has fewer programs than many other states, Kansans might also want to look at federal and local first-time homebuyer programs to increase the chances of finding a program that fits their needs.
In January 2019, we researched first-time homebuyer programs in Kansas. This included reviewing the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation website and other state resources. We put together the information you need to know in this guide.
Kansas first-time homebuyer programs
The first program on our list is offered through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), a public corporation that runs housing programs in Kansas. The mission of the KHRC is to increase the availability of affordable, quality housing for Kansas residents. The organization oversees more than 25 affordable housing programs, one of which is designed to help first-time homebuyers.
Another statewide program open to first-time homebuyers is sponsored by two Kansas counties, Sedgewick and Shawnee. The program offers grants of up to 5% of a home’s purchase price to help with closing costs and down payment, along with extra subsidies for very low-income homebuyers. The program also now offers a zero-interest second mortgage that is forgivable after one year for homebuyers who qualify.
Requirements for Kansas assistance
Homebuyers who want to use a Kansas first-time homebuyer program must have a household income that falls within program requirements and must be buying a home within an eligible area in the state.
First Time Homebuyer Program
The First Time Homebuyer Program (FTHB) from the state of Kansas offers assistance with down payments, closing costs and legal fees to help first-time homebuyers who meet income requirements. Homebuyers who stay in their home for 10 years or longer may not have to repay any of the funds they receive.
What is it?
The First Time Homebuyer Program offers
- A subsidy divided into two equal parts: a loan that may be forgiven over five years if the amount is under $15,000 or 10 years if it is $15,000 or more, and a loan that must be repaid on the sale of the house only if the house is sold within 10 years of the date of purchase.
- A loan for 15% to 20% of the total purchase price of the home, depending on the homebuyer’s income.
In order to be eligible to participate in the First Time Homebuyer Program, you must
- Have not owned a home in the past three years OR be either a manufactured home owner, a single parent or a displaced homemaker. A displaced homemaker is defined as someone who has worked mainly in the home without pay and is experiencing difficulty finding paid employment.
- Have income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI).
- Not be buying within the city limits of Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka or Wichita.
- Not be buying within the limits of Johnson County, which includes the cities of Olathe and Overland Park.
- Put down the greater of 2% of the purchase price or $500 with your own funds.
- Live in the purchased home as your primary residence.
How to apply
To apply for the First Time Homebuyer program in Kansas, you’ll need to contact a KHRC-approved lender that participates in the program. The lender you choose will ask questions to determine whether you qualify for the First Time Homebuyer Program and will walk you through the application process.
If you’re planning to buy in one of the top six largest cities in Kansas that are excluded from the program, you may want to check to see if the local government offers a first-time homebuyer program. For example, the City of Wichita offers the HOMEOwnership 80 program for first-time homebuyers buying in certain areas, and Topeka offers the Topeka Opportunity to Own (TOTO) program for first-time homebuyers.
Kansas Housing Assistance Program
The Kansas Housing Assistance Program (KHAP) was created by two Kansas counties, but residents across the state can take advantage of it. It’s available to first-time and repeat homebuyers with low or modest incomes. In addition to a 30-year mortgage, it offers a grant to help with home down payment or closing costs. A new enhancement to the program (see Kansas Kick Start below) also offers a forgivable second mortgage to qualifying first-time homebuyers.
What is it?
The Kansas Housing Assistance Program offers
- A 30-year fixed rate mortgage
- A grant of up to 5% of the home purchase price to help with closing costs or a down payment on the home. Grant percentage varies based on whether you get a conventional loan (up to 5%), FHA loan (4%), USDA loan (2%), or VA mortgage (2%).
- An extra subsidy on conventional loans of up to $1,500 (for buyers who are above 50% but below 80% of the area median income [AMI]) or $2,500 (for buyers below 50% of the AMI).
You do not need to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify for KHAP. However, you must
- Have a credit score of at least 640 (for conventional, VA and USDA loans) or at least 660 (for FHA loans).
- Buy either a detached single-family home, a condo, a townhome or a duplex (with one unit occupied by you).
- Meet income limits that vary based on the location of your home and the type of mortgage.
- Be buying a home priced at $453,100 or less.
How to apply
To get started with KHAP, contact a participating lender. The lender will ask questions to determine whether you qualify and will help you apply for the program. Find a lender on the KHAP list of lenders.
Kansas Kick Start
Kansas Kick Start is a new offer that is part of the Kansas Housing Assistance Program and can provide additional funds to first-time homebuyers. It offers a flat sum as a forgivable second mortgage.
What is it?
The Kansas Kick Start enhancement to the KHAP program offers
- A flat amount of $7,000 as a zero-interest second mortgage that is forgivable in one year.
- The option to be used along with a 1% or 2% KHAP grant.
- The option be “stacked” with other funding sources.
To qualify for Kansas Kick Start, you must
- Be a first-time homebuyer.
- Use a conventional loan to purchase your home.
- Meet Kansas Kick Start income requirements, which vary based on location and household size.
- Be buying a home that meets Kansas Kick Start home price limits.
- Complete a homebuyer education course.
- Have a credit score of 640 or higher for Freddie Mac HFA Advantage loan.
- Be buying a single-family property.
How to apply
As mentioned under the Kansas Housing Assistance Program, you must go through a participating lender. To get started, check the KHAP list of lenders.
National first-time homebuyer programs
Many states offer a variety of first-time homebuyer programs to allow homebuyers to find a program that fits. Because Kansas offers only one program specifically targeted at first-time homebuyers, Sunflower State buyers might want to expand their options by looking at federal first-time homebuyer programs. If you’d like to see what federal programs are open to you, check out LendingTree’s guide to first-time homebuyer programs before you go looking for your dream home. (LendingTree owns MagnifyMoney.)