MaineHousing announces new down payment assistance promotion to start December 1


Replaces popular “Gift of Green” promotion that ends November 30

AUGUSTA, ME – October 20, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — MaineHousing current popular Gift of Green promotion ends November 30, but the agency will have a new promotion in place to help first-time homebuyers with their down payment and closing costs, MaineHousing Director Dale McCormick said.

Eligible homebuyers need to act quickly if they want to take advantage of the current Gift of Green offer before it changes, said McCormick. Borrowers must have their loan reserved with one of MaineHousing’s participating lenders by November 30 to qualify.

The current Gift of Green promotion  provides MaineHousing borrowers with a grant of up to four percent of their mortgage, to a maximum of $5,000, to help pay for the down payment and closing costs on the home they are buying. It also provides them with a coupon for a home energy audit worth up to $500.

“Beginning December 1, our revised Gift of Green promotion will provide all MaineHousing borrowers with a flat amount ? $2,500 ? to help with down payment and closing costs,” said McCormick. “It also will continue providing the $500 gift coupon for home energy audits.”

McCormick noted that about 800 Maine families have used or are using the Gift of Green program to buy their first home, well over the goal of 500 homes MaineHousing set when the program started in mid-June.

She credited strong support for the program from partners such as the Maine Association of Realtors, the Maine Association of Community Banks, and the Maine Credit Union League as one reason for the program’s success.

“This has been the most successful homeownership promotion we ever have offered,” McCormick said. “It came at a very crucial time to help stimulate Maine’s housing market and get potential homebuyers off the fence.”

Real estate professionals like Amy MacDonald, an Associate Broker with Sprague & Curtis Real Estate in Augusta, agree.

“MaineHousing’s Gift of Green Program could not have come at a better time to assist first time homebuyers,” MacDonald said. “ I work with many first time homebuyers and the Gift of Green program helped many of them who could afford a monthly mortgage payment, but didn’t have the cash needed for the down payment and other closing costs.”

Many first-time homebuyers combined MaineHousing’s Gift of Green with the federal housing stimulus, which provides first time homebuyers with a tax credit up to $8,000. The federal tax credit also is scheduled to end November 30, but unlike MaineHousing’s program borrows must have actually closed their loan to qualify.

“We are encouraging the federal government to continue the federal tax credit for first time homebuyers beyond the scheduled end date, but we do not know whether they will,” McCormick said.

Even without the federal tax credit, MaineHousing’s new Gift of Green promotion will provide significant benefits for first-time homebuyers. In addition to the grant of $2,500, MaineHousing mortgages come with low, fixed interest rates, little or no required down payment, and a mortgage protection program to help eligible borrowers who becomes unemployed.

While MaineHousing mortgages come with income and home price limits, most Maine people are income eligible and most Maine homes are within the program price limits.

Potential borrowers interested in learning whether they qualify can use a new online pre-qualification tool to find out. The process takes about five minutes to complete, and eligible borrowers can print a prequalification certificate and take it to one of MaineHousing’s participating lenders. The tool is available at

MaineHousing is best known for its First Home mortgage program for first-time homebuyers and former homeowners who have not owned a home for the past 3 years.  But what a lot of people do not realize is that MaineHousing also offers mortgages to eligible veterans, active duty military, and people buying homes in the 16 communities most affected by the closing of Brunswick Naval Air Station – even if they are already homeowners.

For more information, see


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