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Our low mortgage rates and first time home buyer program make buying your first home in the Boston area a breeze! We can help you find the right down payment assistance programs in Massachusetts for you.
 

First Time Home Buyer

Your dream home is a click away. 

Buying your first home. Feel overjoyed, not overwhelmed.

If you’re like many first time home buyers, you know you’re taking on a major financial commitment. Choosing and applying for the right mortgage can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be that way. Century Bank is your trusted partner from pre-qualification to closing.

No two home buyers’ circumstances are the same, we get that. At Century Bank, we take the time to get to know you and consider factors like debt-to-income to make sure you are taking out a mortgage you can truly afford. Our team of borrowing specialists will help determine which loan is best for your unique situation. If we wouldn’t offer the loan to our family, we won’t offer it to yours.

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Advice for first time home buyers

As a first time home buyer we know you have a lot of questions. To help you on this exciting and often confusing journey, we’ve outlined how Century Bank will help you.

  • Do we offer what you need? Determine if working with a bank or a mortgage broker is best for you.
  • Are you financially ready? Understand the important role credit and financial history plays when getting a mortgage.
  • How do you get pre-approved? Learn what information is needed to start the mortgage pre-approval process.
  • How much can you really afford? Discover financial considerations beyond a mortgage when buying your first home.
  • Ready to close? Evaluate mortgage options and see if you qualify for down payment assistance.

 

Bank vs. Mortgage broker: Which is best for you?

How you finance your home is a major decision you can’t afford to get wrong. Choosing between a bank and a mortgage broker is an important consideration. Who you work with can ultimately save, or cost you, thousands of dollars. Should you go with a bank or a mortgage broker? It depends on your situation.

What is a mortgage broker?

There are many different mortgage programs, deciding which option to go with can be confusing. Having a broker research rates and fill out paperwork can be appealing, however that may not be the wisest decision. Brokers are usually paid on commission, meaning they are thinking about what works best for you – and them. That isn’t the case with Century Bank. None of our borrowing specialists work on commission and we’ll be servicing your loan.

Benefits of getting a mortgage through a bank

Brokers and internet mortgage sites advertise their ability to streamline the mortgage application process and guarantee low rates. But what happens when you have a question or problem? With Century Bank, you can take comfort in knowing you are part of our family and we have your best interest in mind. You can call or meet with us at any of our locations - that can’t be done if your lender is in California. A Century Bank borrowing specialist will make applying for a mortgage as simple as possible. We’ve been in the business of servicing mortgages for decades. Needless to say, we’re in this with you for the long run.

Your credit history and your future mortgage.

Before starting the mortgage application process, you need to make sure your finances are in order. Start off by checking your credit score. You can get a copy of your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com.

Your credit score is determined by several factors including credit card and loan payment history. Scores range from 300 to 850 with scores above 670 considered to be low-risk. Most brokers look for a high credit score to secure the best interest rate. However at Century Bank, everyone gets the rate we quote regardless of credit score.

If you have a lot of debt and have not paid your bills on time, this will be reflected in your credit score. People with low credit scores are perceived as a risky investment, resulting in a higher interest rate, higher fees, or having the application declined.

If you have a low credit score, you can turn things around by paying down your debts. The less money you owe, the more attractive your application will be for a mortgage. If you find inaccuracies on your credit report, reach out to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to get it fixed. Correcting errors on your credit report may raise your score in less than 30 days.

Get prequalified and preapproved for your mortgage

Before you start your home search, you’ll want to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage gives you an idea of how much you can afford to spend and which loan programs you qualify for. With this information, you won’t run the risk of putting an offer on a house you can’t afford.

Pre-qualified vs. pre-approved: What is the difference?
Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage at Century Bank is a simple process, just complete this form. We’ll ask a few questions about your finances and then estimate how much money we’ll be able to offer you.

If you’re seriously looking at houses, you’ll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Unlike being pre-qualified, pre-approved means we have verified your credit and finances. A pre-approval shows the realtor and seller a commitment to purchase the home. We’ll be able to get your credit score, but we’ll need you to complete an application and gather the following information:

  • Social security number
  • Two most-recent pay statements
  • W-2 forms for last two years
  • Tax statements for last two years
  • Bank statements for last two months
  • Retirement account statements for last two quarters
  • Monthly debt payments

We’ll confirm your interest rate once we’ve verified your finances. When you are ready to place an offer, we’ll furnish a tailored letter with your down payment and loan amount. This document sends a strong signal to sellers you have confirmed financial backing from Century Bank to your bid. 

Searching for your new home: How much should you borrow? 

People often say mortgage payments can be cheaper than rent, which in certain circumstances can be true. However, being a homeowner encompasses expenses beyond a mortgage. When thinking about your budget, you’ll need to consider real-estate property tax, homeowner’s insurance and maintenance costs. A Century Bank borrowing specialist can help you crunch the numbers. You can also use our rent vs. buy calculator to weed through fees, taxes and monthly payments. 

Many first time home buyers won’t get everything on their dream list – and that’s ok. A few years down the road we can take you through the process of getting a home equity line of credit to fix that cracked driveway or replace your old stove. In the meantime, make a list of your must-have features in order of priority.

Offer accepted! Now what?

Congratulations! You’ve found a home and the seller has accepted your offer – the hardest part of the process is over. Now, your Century Bank borrowing specialist will help you choose which loan is best for you. To help you comfortably afford your first home, we offer several mortgage options including the ONE Mortgage and a 15/1 ARM, but a traditional fixed-rate mortgage may be most suitable. 
Check out our current mortgage rates.

Century Bank’s first time home buyer program

Here are a few highlights from our first time home buyer mortgages:
ONE Mortgage
• No private mortgage insurance (PMI)
• As little as 3% down for single and two-family homes
• Fixed-rate interest rate without points
• Income limits based on household size and home location apply
15/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)
• Fixed-rate for the first 15 years, adjusts annually thereafter
• Maximum rate adjustments of 2% annually; +6% over the lifetime of the loan
• No maximum income restrictions
• As little as 3% down for single and 5% down for two-family, owner-occupied homes
• Reduced mortgage insurance premiums

Down Payment Assistance Programs in Massachusetts

It’s a simple equation. The more money you put down for a home, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. Coming up with a sizable down payment can be difficult, especially when faced with high rental costs, student loans and childcare expenses. You may be entitled to free money from a down payment assistance program that can make owning your first home a reality. A Century Bank borrowing specialist will help determine if you qualify for down payment assistance and guide you through the application process.
How down payment assistance programs work
The amount and nature of assistance varies depending on the organization. Often loans and grants are available only to those who meet specific income limits, which are based on your income in relation to the median income (half the residents earn more and half earn less) where you plan to buy. The number of people living in the home (verified by tax documents) is also considered.
Another part of your financial picture that will be looked at are your cash assets. In addition to money in your savings account, cash assets include stocks, bonds and anything else that can quickly be converted to cash.
Some down payment assistance programs don’t make you repay the funds if the home is your primary residence for a certain number of years. A primary residence is a home you live in at least six months out of the year. This is important to keep in mind if you are considering renting the property or making it your second home. If the property does not remain your primary residence for a specific amount of time, you may have to repay the loan early. There are also programs specifically for first time home buyers that cover a portion of your down payment if the property is classified as affordable housing (priced below market value).

It’s not an uncommon requirement to make a personal contribution (your own money) towards the down payment. Some assistance programs will double the money you put down up to a certain dollar amount.
Completion of a first time home buyer course is often a requirement to receiving assistance. These classes go over the home buying process from start to finish. Make sure you take a certified class before signing up or you may not be eligible for all programs.
In many cases, assistance funds are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Where you can get down payment assistance
There are multiple organizations in Massachusetts offering down payment assistance such as: The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, North Suburban Consortium, Neighbor Works Southern Mass, Pro-Home, Inc. Communities including Cambridge, Somerville and Lynn have city-specific programs. You may qualify for and be able to take advantage of multiple programs.

Use this chart to find programs in your home search area.
Chart Guide
Example Scenario:
Caitlin, Matthew and their young son Jack live in a rental property in Somerville, Massachusetts. Caitlin and Matthew's combined income is $80,000 a year. They dream of owning a home in their current neighborhood but high rental and childcare costs has made it difficult for them to save enough for the typical 3% - 20% down payment. They found a condo for sale nearby for $415,000. Here's how they go into their first home: 
  • They got pre-qualified for a First Time Home Buyer Mortgage, which requires a 3% down payment.
  • Applied to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and received the $12,450 (3% of the purchase price of $415,000) toward the down payment. They added $1,000 of their own money to satisfy the minimum $500 personal required contribution. 
  • Applied to the City of Somerville and received all the money needed for closing costs, which totaled $3,500. 
Once the family has lived in the property for 5 years, all the assistance grants will be forgiven. With only a $1,000 investment the family is out of the rising costs of a rental, building equity in a home and contributing to their savings for rainy days and little Jack's future. 
Chart Terms:
  • Down Payment Assistance: May include a certain dollar amount or percentage of purchase price towards your down payment and closing costs. Many programs are set up as a loan which is forgiven after a certain time period if the property remains your primary residence. 
  • Income Limits: Maximum annual income you can earn based on area median income and how many family members will be residing in the home. 
  • Personal Contribution: Your own money towards the down payment. 
  • Primary Residence: The owner lives in the property the majority of the year. If you decide to make the property a second home or rental property, in some cases you will need to repay the loan before the forgiveness period. 
  • Cash Assets: Cash on hand and items that can be quickly converted into cash, such as stocks and bonds. These programs typically exclude 401Ks and other retirement accounts. 

All Cities and Towns in MA
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
All MA

Up to $15,000 towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400 
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200
At least $500 towards down payment

All MA
Receive a match up to double what you put towards a down payment up to $20,000. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if it remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $99,550 
2 People: $123,750
3 People: $128,000
4 People: $142,200
At least $500 towards down payment
 
Boston Metro
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Arlington Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value or up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $62,450     
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Boston 3% of purchase price towards down payment for a 1-2 family home, and 5% for a 3 family home. 
1 Person: $99,550
2 People: $123,750
3 People: $128,000
4 People: $142,200
Cash assets cannot exceed $75,000 
1.5% of purchase price
Braintree Neighbor Works Southern Mass Up to $20,000 towards down payment and closing costs.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Cash assets cannot exceed $75,000
3% of purchase price
Cambridge City of Cambridge 6% of purchase price towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Chelsea North Suburban Consortium Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Everett North Suburban Consortium Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Malden North Suburban Consortium Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Medford North Suburban Consortium Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Melrose North Suburban Consortium Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Quincy Neighbor Works Southern Mass Up to $20,000 towards down payment and closing costs.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Cash assets cannot exceed $75,000
3% of purchase price
Somerville City of Somerville 80 Program for first time home buyers, up to $5,000 toward closing costs. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if property remains your primary residence. Cannot be combined with the 110 Program. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Savings cannot exceed 15% of the purchase price 


Somerville City of Somerville 80 Program up to 15% of sale price toward down payment. Cannot be combined with the 110 Program or down payment 80 Program.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200
 Savings cannot exceed 15% of the purchase price 

Somerville City of Somerville 110 Program up to $3,500 towards closing costs. Loan forgiven after 5 years as long as the property remains your primary residence. Cannot be combined with 80 Program.
1 Person: $83,000
2 People: $94,850
3 People: $106,700
4 People: $118,600

Savings cannot exceed 15% of the purchase price 

Winthrop North Suburban Consortium Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value or up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Boston South
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Attleboro Pro-Home, Inc.
5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains  your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Berkley Pro-Home, Inc.
5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Dighton Pro-Home, Inc.
5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Holbrook Neighbor Works Southern Mass
Up to $17,500 towards down payment and closing costs.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200
Cash assets cannot exceed $75,000 
3% of purchase price
Lakeville Pro-Home, Inc.
5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Mansfield Pro-Home, Inc. 5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

North Attleboro Pro-Home, Inc. 5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Norton Pro-Home, Inc. 5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Plainville Pro-Home, Inc. 5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Central MA
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Fitchburg City of Fitchburg 2% of purchase price towards down payment or closing costs.
1 Person: $49,700
2 People: $56,800
3 People: $63,900
4 People: $70,950

Fitchburg NewVue Communities  2% of purchase price towards down payment and closing costs.
1 Person: $49,700
2 People: $56,800
3 People: $63,900
4 People: $70,950

Metrowest
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Framingham City of Framingham Contact for more information
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200
3% of purchase price
Merrimack Valley
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance
Income Limits Personal Contribution
Haverhill City of Haverhill Up to $6,000 towards down payment and closing costs.
1 Person: $52,850
2 People: $60,400
3 People: $67,950
4 People: $75,500
1.5% of purchase price
Lawrence City of Lawrence Up to 5% of purchase price, not to exceed $15,000, towards down payment.
1 Person: $52,850
2 People: $60,400
3 People: $67,950
4 People: $75,500

Cash assets cannot exceed $25,000 
2% of purchase price, minimum of $2,000
Lowell City of Lowell Up to $11,800 towards down payment and closing costs.
1 Person: $52,850
2 People: $60,400
3 People: $67,950
4 People: $75,500

Cash assets cannot exceed $25,000 
1.5% of purchase price for down payment
Lowell Lowell Development and Financial Corporation 2.5% of purchase price, up to $5,000, towards down payment.
1 Person: $90,400
2 People: $103,300
3 People: $116,200
4 People: $129,100

North Shore
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Gloucester City of Gloucester Up to 7% of purchase price, not to exceed $10,000, towards down payment.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Lynn City of Lynn Up to $7,500 toward down payment. Cannot exceed 10% of purchase price.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Cash assets cannot exceed $50,000 
$2,000 minimum
Revere North Suburban Consortium Up to $7,500 towards down payment for a property priced at market value or up to $3,000 for an affordable housing property.
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200

Salem City of Salem Up to $7,500 towards down payment. 
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200
Cash assets cannot exceed $50,000 

South Coast
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Fall River City of Fall River Up to $10,000 towards down payment.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500
Cash assets not to exceed $25,000 

New Bedford City of New Bedford Up to 5% of purchase price, up to $10,000, towards down payment.
1 Person: $43,200
2 People: $49,400
3 People: $55,550
4 People: $61,700
1.5% of purchase price for 1-2 family home, 3% for 3 family
South Shore
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Brockton BRA/
NWSOMA
Up to 3.5% of purchase price, up to $12,500, towards down payment and closing cost. Loan payments are deferred as long as the property remains your primary residence. 
1 Person: $51,800
2 People:  $59,200
3 People: $66,600
4 People: $74,000
Cash assets cannot exceed $25,000 
1.5% of purchase price for single family, 2.5% for 2 or 3 family 
Carver Pro-Home, Inc. 5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards your down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Middleborough
5% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, towards down payment. Loan is forgiven after 5 years if it remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $45,850
2 People: $52,400
3 People: $58,950
4 People: $65,500

Plymouth Town of
Plymouth
Up to $20,000 towards half of down payment and closing costs. 

1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200
Cash assets of all household members cannot exceed $75,000 
1.5% of purchase price
Weymouth Neighbor
Works
Southern
Mass
Up to $20,000 towards down payment and closing costs.
1 Person: $62,450
2 People: $71,400
3 People: $80,300
4 People: $89,200
Cash assets cannot exceed $75,000
1.5% of purchase price
Springfield/Pioneer Valley
City/Town Organization Closing Costs and Down Payment  Assistance Income Limits Personal Contribution
Chicopee City of Chicopee 3% of purchase price, up to $5,000, towards down payment.
1 Person: $49,700
2 People: $56,800
3 People: $63,900
4 People: $70,950
3% of purchase price Gifted funds do not count toward this requirement
Easthampton Valley Community Development Corporation Up to $7,500 towards down payment. 
Loan is forgiven after 5 years.
1 Person: $53,200
2 People: $60,800
3 People: $68,400
4 People: $76,000

Holyoke Holyoke Housing Authority Up to $4,999 towards down payment.
Loan is forgiven after 5 years if the property remains your primary residence.
1 Person: $49,700
2 People: $56,800
3 People: $63,900
4 People: $70,950

Springfield City of Springfield Up to $2,500 towards down payment.
Loan is forgiven after 5 years.
1 Person: $49,700
2 People: $56,800
3 People: $63,900
4 People: $70,950
1% towards purchase of property
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Derek Craig image
Derek Craig
Vice President
781-393-6045
 
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Down payment assistance
 
 
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Let us help you get into your first home