Programs for Homeowners & First Time Home Buyers

The City of Lawrence through its Community Development Department offers Lawrence homeowners and first time home buyers various Housing Programs to help make housing safer and more livable by addressing code violations, and more affordable.

Rehabilitation / Deleading Program

Low and moderate-income homeowners may be eligible for grants and/or loans offered by the City of Lawrence through its rehabilitation programs to repair/renovate properties located in the City. Our primary goal is to eliminate building and sanitary code violations and decrease the instances of lead poisoning in children by increasing the availability of affordable lead-safe housing. The program offers low interest loans, deferred payment loans and/or grants to eligible owner-occupied properties.

The First Time Home Buyers Program (FTHB)

The First Time Home Buyers Program (FTHB) is designed to assist low-to-moderate income families who are purchasing a residential, owner-occupied property in the City of Lawrence. The City, through the HOME Partnership Investment Fund can assist eligible homebuyers with down payment and closing costs. 

Financial assistance is available in the form of a zero-interest deferred loan (second lien) with no monthly payment for the life of the loan. This loan is forgivable as long as Buyer/Borrower is in compliance with the affordability restriction and the affordability period has expired.  

The affordability restriction requires the Buyer/Borrower to reside in the property as their main residence, maintain the property and not take out any equity out of the property for the entire affordability period. The affordability period is based on the awarded amount. If Buyer is awarded under $14,999, a five (5) years affordability restriction will be recorded. If Buyer is awarded $15,000 to $25,000, the affordability restriction is ten (10) years.  

Payment of the HOME loan is due upon the sale of the house, refinancing to cash-out, Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit, transfer of title or if homebuyer is in default of the terms and conditions of the senior loan and/or city loan during the affordability term. There will be a recording and preparation fee for any subordinations (subject to the Subordination Policy of the Community Development Department) and/or discharges. 

The City of Lawrence FTHB Program will provide qualified homebuyers with up to 5% of the purchase price for the use of down payment and eligible closing cost, not to exceed $25,000 in financial assistance.   

To qualify for this deferred loan, applicants must: 

  • Be a First Time Homebuyer 
  • Meet the HUD-HOME income limit guidelines and HOME Value Limits 
  • Have a CHAPA-approved Homebuyer and Landlord Education Certificate 
  • Have a passing City Property Inspection (At no cost to buyer) 
  • Meet the City of Lawrence FTHB program’s affordability ratio criteria 
  • Cannot have cash assets of more than $25,000 (excluding retirement savings) 
  • Contribute 1.5% of the purchase price for the use of down payment or a minimum of $2,000 on purchases prices below $100,000 
  • Purchase an owner-occupied property in the City of Lawrence and occupy it as the owner’s principal residence 

Applicants are encouraged to meet with the Homeowner Project Officer to review program criteria and application process before applying. Applications can be mailed or picked up at the Community Development Department located at 12 Methuen Street, Lawrence, MA 

Applicants can come in for an intake session once they have a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. Applicants should apply immediately after signing an offer and/or Purchase & Sale Agreement. The application process can take up to 45 days to complete. Only a completed application package, (with all the required supporting documents) will be accepted and processed. 

Our department will review applications for consideration of financial assistance in the order in which we receive them, on a “First-qualified”, “First-come”, “First serve” basis. Priority will be given to person (s) who live and/or work in the City of Lawrence. 

For more information please contact Marlene Ferrer at 978-620-3531 or email her at MFerrer Email

Related Documents

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