Buying a house is a dream for many Americans, but it can feel very out of reach for some people. To qualify for a mortgage, you’ll need an adequate credit score and down payment, which many people just don’t have.
That is where the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) comes in. The NACA has helped hundreds of thousands of people find affordable housing with no money down and no minimum credit score. NACA also provides financial assistance for approved homeowners that encounter financial difficulties.
If you’ve been struggling to figure out how you’ll afford to purchase a home, then the NACA program could help. This article will explain how the NACA mortgage process works and how the organization could help you find your next home.
What is the NACA mortgage program?
The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), a non-profit organization established in 1988, is dedicated to providing affordable housing options to Americans. Its mission is to combat discriminatory and unjust lending practices. With 45 branches across the United States, NACA assists borrowers with low credit scores in securing affordable mortgages.
NACA offers various solutions such as property improvement and foreclosure avoidance to help achieve this goal. Additionally, the organization helps homeowners reorganize their existing mortgages, preventing them from losing their homes to foreclosure. Nevertheless, NACA’s signature mortgage program remains the most sought-after offering among its services.
How does the NACA program work?
The NACA is known for its purchase program, which it calls the Best in America Mortgage Program. This program is designed to make homeownership more affordable for everyone.
If you applied for a mortgage through a bank or credit union, you would undergo an extensive credit check. But the NACA makes it possible to buy a home with:
- No down payment requirement
- No closing costs
- No requirement for perfect credit
- No limits on your income
- No fees – The lender pays the appraisal costs, attorney fees, title insurance, transfer tax, settlement agent fees, and buyer closing costs.
All of this is available at a below-market interest rate. Currently, the NACA is offering a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of 2.125% APR and a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage of 1.75% APR. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal anywhere else.
Bank of America stands as NACA’s largest and most significant partner, providing a major portion of the funding for the loans.
NACA Requirements and Qualifications
Before you assume the NACA mortgage program is too good to be true, there are certain requirements you’re going to have to meet to qualify. Unlike traditional lending practices, NACA evaluates creditworthiness based on character, rather than solely relying on credit scores.
For instance, NACA members won’t be penalized for financial hardship caused by an injury or illness. But you must demonstrate that you can afford to pay your monthly housing expenses.
These expenses include your mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and HOA dues. And your income can’t fluctuate from month to month.
While there are no income restrictions in the NACA purchase program, earning higher than the median income could limit your home buying options to specific regions. It’s also worth noting that owning another property while closing on a NACA mortgage is strictly prohibited.
Furthermore, as a NACA mortgage recipient, you are expected to engage in a minimum of five membership activities annually. These activities include volunteering at NACA offices, participating in protests, or offering support to other members during the home buying process.
Unfortunately, the NACA mortgage program still isn’t available everywhere, though the organization is working hard to expand across the U.S. It’s currently available in the following states:
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Carolina
NACA Program Pros and Cons
Here are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of taking out a mortgage through the NACA.
- Buying a home with no down payment or standard closing costs
- Snag a below-market interest rate on a 15-year or 30-year mortgage
- No credit requirements or income limits to apply
- Receive extensive borrower education and training
- Time-consuming application process
- Program isn’t available in all 50 states
- There are limits to how much you can borrow
- You’ll have to pay for property taxes and homeowners insurance
NACA Loan Limits
The NACA home buying program has loan limits that cap your mortgage amount. The purchase price of a home cannot exceed the conforming loan limit, which is $647,200 for a single-unit property in most states. The conforming loan limit for a single-unit home in Alaska and Hawaii is $970,800.
Who qualifies for the NACA program?
The NACA mortgage program is very generous, but there are several steps you’ll need to take before you can close on your home. Here are the seven steps you’ll take to complete the NACA loan qualification process.
1. Attend a free homebuyer workshop
If you’re considering applying for a NACA mortgage, you’ll first have to attend a homebuyer workshop. During this free workshop, you’ll learn more about homeownership and how to qualify for the NACA mortgage program. Then, you can register on the company’s website to reserve your spot.
2. Meet with your housing counselor
Once you’ve completed the homebuyer workshop, the NACA will assign you a housing counselor to guide you through this process. Your housing counselor will help you determine an affordable monthly mortgage payment and help you come up with a reasonable monthly budget. You’ll continue to meet with your counselor until you’ve qualified for the NACA housing program.
3. Attend a NACA purchase workshop
Once you’ve qualified for the mortgage program, you must attend a purchased workshop at the NACA office. During this workshop, you’ll review the home purchase process and work with a real estate agent to help you find the right home.
4. Receive a property qualification letter
Once you’ve chosen the home you plan to buy, you’ll have to get in touch with your housing counselor again. They will help you secure your qualification letter.
This letter states that you are qualified to purchase the home you’re interested in. Your NACA counselor and real estate agent can also help you draft an offer on the home.
5. Get your home inspected
Before you can purchase a home, it must pass a NACA home inspection and pest inspection. If the inspection reveals any problems with the home, you must resolve those issues before you can close on the home.
6. Meet with your mortgage consultant
Throughout this entire mortgage process, you should be saving money, maintaining your income level, and paying your bills on time. At this point, you’re going to meet with your mortgage consultant to prove that you’ve met the required guidelines and are ready to move forward with the mortgage application.
7. Close on your mortgage
Now it’s time to close on your home! There are no closing costs for a NACA mortgage. Additionally, NACA members do not pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).
Instead, your NACA membership provides you with a post-purchase assistance program through NACA’s Membership Assistance Program (MAP). But this is the final step that allows you to close on your new home and finalize the process.
Alternatives to the NACA program
The NACA program may not be suitable for everyone, or you may not qualify. If this is the case, consider other mortgage programs that may be available to you.
For low-to-moderate income borrowers who may not meet the stringent requirements of conventional loans, the Federal Housing Administration offers the FHA loan program. With lower down payment needs and more lenient credit score standards, these loans provide a viable option for those looking to finance their first home.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture extends its support to those seeking to purchase a home in rural or suburban areas through its USDA loan program. These loans offer attractive terms such as low or no down payment options and competitive interest rates, with the aim of fostering home ownership in less densely populated regions.
As a way to show appreciation for the sacrifices made by military service members, veterans, and their surviving spouses, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides VA loans.
These loans, exclusive to eligible individuals, boast features such as no down payment requirement, no private mortgage insurance, and interest rates that are often more favorable than those of traditional loans.
First-Time Homebuyer Programs
For those entering the housing market for the first time, many states and local governments offer programs tailored to their needs. First-time homebuyer programs often provide financial assistance in the form of lower interest rates and down payment assistance, as well as other incentives, making homeownership a reality for those who may not have the funds for a down payment otherwise.
Down Payment Assistance
To help alleviate the burden of the upfront costs of buying a home, down payment assistance (DPA) programs are available from government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private lenders.
These programs provide homebuyers with the necessary funds to cover their down payment, allowing them to get one step closer to affordable homeownership.
National Homebuyers Fund
As a non-profit organization, the National Homebuyers Fund offers down payment assistance to low-and moderate-income homebuyers in the form of grants that do not need to be repaid. Their mission is to provide a helping hand to those who may not have the resources to make a down payment on their own.
The CBC Mortgage Agency’s Chenoa Fund is a down payment assistance program that provides low-and moderate-income homebuyers with up to 3.5% of the home’s purchase price. This support is provided through either forgivable or repayable second mortgage loan options.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have the down payment or credit requirements necessary to apply for a traditional mortgage, a NACA mortgage may be a suitable option. Borrowers that qualify could receive low-interest mortgages with no down payment, closing costs, or fees. The application process is tedious, but the benefits can help you achieve the dream of homeownership.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a minimum credit score requirement for the NACA program?
No, NACA does not consider credit scores for mortgage approval. Instead, they look at your payment history and ability to make future mortgage payments.
Is there an income limit to qualify for the NACA program?
There is no strict income limit to qualify for the NACA program. The program is designed primarily to assist low- to moderate-income individuals and families, but it does not set an upper limit on income. The focus is more on your ability to afford the mortgage payments, and whether you meet other program criteria.
How long does the NACA mortgage process take?
The time frame can vary depending on individual circumstances, but generally, it takes several months from attending the initial workshop to closing on a home. The more promptly you can provide the required documentation and fulfill program requirements, the quicker the process will likely be.
How does the NACA mortgage differ from a traditional mortgage?
NACA mortgages typically offer more favorable terms compared to traditional mortgages. They come with no down payment, no closing costs, and no requirement for private mortgage insurance (PMI). The interest rates are often below market rate as well.
Can I use a NACA mortgage to refinance my existing loan?
No, NACA mortgages are designed for the purchase of a primary residence only. They cannot be used for refinancing existing loans or for investment properties.