Mike’d Lender Edition Ep 002 – What is the Downpayment Plus Grant w/ Lender Stacy Wolak from INB

Mike sat down with lender Stacy Wolak from INB (NMLS #689948) to talk about the Downpayment Plus Grant.

[00:00:00.000] – Mike Van Cleve

I am here with Stacy Wolak from INB. Stacy is a lender. Stacy and I work together quite a bit, and we talked about doing a video about the different grants that are available to buyers these days. So thanks for joining me, Stacy.

[00:00:20.640] – Stacy Wolak

Yeah, thanks for having me.

[00:00:21.960] – Mike Van Cleve

Of course. Big question is, what is a grant and how does that benefit a buyer?

[00:00:28.810] – Stacy Wolak

So a grant is something that’s provided from some entity. So there’s grants coming from different avenues. The grant that we have is through the Federal Home Loan Bank and it’s called the Down Payment Plus Grant. What that grant does is it helps a buyer with their down payment and closing costs, this specific one in particular.

[00:00:48.180] – Mike Van Cleve

Awesome. And so what would be the responsibility on the buyer’s behalf if they were to want to do a grant like this?

[00:00:56.260] – Stacy Wolak

So different grants have different requirements. This specific one does require an online course, and then they also have to do a budget call. Then they do have to have their own funds, so they do have to have $1,000 of their own funds to get this. Right now, it’s a $10,000 grant.

[00:01:14.620] – Mike Van Cleve

That’s incredible.

[00:01:15.400] – Stacy Wolak


[00:01:16.420] – Mike Van Cleve

And that $1,000, in past, clients have been able to use that for earnest money, or inspections, or things that are part of the due diligence process in purchasing. Is that still the case?

[00:01:33.400] – Stacy Wolak

Absolutely. So say they did $500 earnest money, they had $500 inspections, there’s their $1,000. And then as long as they qualify, then the rest of the money would be coming from the grant covering the rest of their down payment and closing costs. So depending on the sales price of the home, you have a good sized down payment, right? Absolutely. You can get 5 %, 10 %, and you can purchase a house anywhere in Illinois. So there’s no restrictions on this one. You can go by in Peoria or across the river or out north just depending on where they’re looking.

[00:02:06.850] – Mike Van Cleve

Awesome. And you talked about qualifications. What would somebody need to do in order to qualify for a grant like that?

[00:02:14.440] – Stacy Wolak

So for this one, the minimum credit score is 620 to go with a conventional loan, and then they’d have to qualify for a conventional financing. It’s paired with what’s called home ready or home possible. You actually don’t have to be a first time home buyer to use this, which is why I really like it. Maybe someone on social security or pension making a small amount each month, then if they qualify, they can maybe get their next home and get some help with their down payment. Or maybe they are a first time home buyer and they need that assistance. It’s just a great program to help different people in different situations.

[00:02:53.500] – Mike Van Cleve

But it does need to be what we call their primary residence or the place where they are going to live.

[00:02:58.380] – Stacy Wolak

Absolutely. It’s not for investors. You cannot own another home when you purchase this, so you can’t have another home while you’re purchasing this house. You can close and then purchase the new house at the same time, same day, but you can’t own investment properties and then use this grant program.

[00:03:16.600] – Mike Van Cleve

Interesting. But what if somebody wanted to buy, say, a duplex and they’re going to live in one side and they’re going to rent out the other side? Is that something that would work for this property for this grant?

[00:03:26.150] – Stacy Wolak

It is. As long as they are going to occupy one side. Then the mortgage says, in case you didn’t know, on a mortgage that everybody signs in Illinois, it says if you’re purchasing something as a primary residence, you’re to occupy it within 60 days of closing and you were to live in it for one year. . 

[00:03:41.180] – Mike Van Cleve

What other information do buyers need to look at? Is a grant always a good fit?

[00:03:49.820] – Stacy Wolak

It’s not always a good fit. Sometimes it might not work for a buyer. Sometimes they make too much money. It’s a good problem to have, right? We’re making $100,000 a year, we don’t qualify for a grant a lot of times then. Those are some things to look at. Sometimes there’s rates or maybe that lien is going to be there for so long because a grant is still a lien against a home for a specified period of time, different for each grant. For the Down Payment Plus grant, it’s for five years. After five years is up, then that lien is lifted, the grant is forgiven. But one of the things that I appreciate about the Down Payment Plus grant is if you find another home buyer for your house, if you had to move in a year or two, you can actually get that grant waived if the person coming in is in your same similar situation when you bought the house. .

[00:04:38.150] – Mike Van Cleve

Oh, interesting.

[00:04:39.820] – Stacy Wolak

Or if you’re not making any money from the proceeds, say you did have to sell after a year, maybe you’re not making any money off the sale of your house, they’re not going to pull something from something you don’t have.

[00:04:49.920] – Mike Van Cleve

That makes sense.

[00:04:50.310] – Stacy Wolak

So it’s not going to prevent you from having to move and go about your life.

[00:04:55.170] – Mike Van Cleve

Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense. What are the most common hurdles to somebody applying for the grant process?

[00:05:04.440] – Stacy Wolak

First one is definitely income limitations. So we have to use your current three pay stubs to see if you qualify or not. It’s literally for the Down Payment Plus grant this is. We have to have your actual three current pay stubs. It doesn’t go backwards. That’s not based on your W2s. It’s based off right now. So if you are making bonuses or overtime or anything like that, then that can actually throw someone out of being able to qualify. So that’s the first one. The second one is credit. I know people think, Oh, well, my credit is okay. I should be fine. Yes, the minimum credit score for conventional is 620, but that doesn’t mean you’re approved. So there are compensating factors, time on the job. Do you have some money saved over the $1,000? Because buying a house is a big purchase and we do really need more than $1,000. There are people who get that plus of only having $1,000. But what happens when you move into that house and having some money? But the lending world looks at that as compensating factors. So if you’re at home not paying rent, then you should be paying a monthly payment similar to what you’re about to enter into.

[00:06:12.000] – Stacy Wolak

You should be able to save that, right?

[00:06:13.720] – Mike Van Cleve


[00:06:14.040] – Stacy Wolak

Am I going to be able to afford this house that I’m buying or this condo that I’m buying? Can I put that much money away each month and still have some money to pay the bills, to fix something if I need it? Am I prepared and ready to be a homeowner?

[00:06:28.260] – Mike Van Cleve

What if somebody is not a straight W2 employee, like somebody’s a contract nurse or like me who is a 1099 or independent contractor? How does that work when it comes to a grant program like this?

[00:06:45.910] – Stacy Wolak

Great question. With self employed people or people who are working two jobs or seasonal jobs, when we don’t have that guaranteed 40 hours a week, then we do have to look at your two year history. We need two years of W2s or two years of tax returns and then it gets averaged. Those are the things that we do have to come up with. Some people haven’t filed their tax returns yet or they wait and they extend and extend, but maybe you need this last one to get your income up to qualify for more of a house. I have come across some people who aren’t claiming income. So if you don’t claim it, then we don’t have anything to use. But claiming it is important for us. I know everybody wants to write it off for the taxman, but it’s important to claim income. And then that is what we look at. But we do look at the two year history. In regards to the grants, though, they are projecting forward. In regards to your lender, we’re looking at the history.

[00:07:44.450] – Mike Van Cleve

Sure, that makes sense.

[00:07:45.440] – Stacy Wolak

So it can be a little bit tricky sometimes. That’s a great question.

[00:07:48.670] – Mike Van Cleve

Absolutely. Are there other obstacles that you come across when it comes to somebody wanting to do a grant program?

[00:07:59.680] – Stacy Wolak

That’s a good question. The nice thing is we have been able to use it for condos since it is conventional financing. No limitation on the areas. I guess if somebody needs to have a co signer like a parent, then unfortunately, then that means they’re not qualified anymore. Sometimes we need a little more time on the job kinda like waitresses are the same. They don’t have a guaranteed pay. If you’re using tips, we again need that history to pay attention to.

[00:08:31.560] – Mike Van Cleve

That makes sense. If somebody wants more information about the Down Payment Plus, somebody who really likes to not just hear a video like this but wants to read through the criteria, where can they go to find that information?

[00:08:45.270] – Stacy Wolak

Sure. Well, they can call me for sure. And then there is a website. So if you Google Down Payment Plus program, you will find it. And all the information is out there in regards to the income limitations, the Excel spreadsheet. There is a lot of information out there that you could definitely dive into. I am, of course, happy to guide you through different steps and things to look at also.

[00:09:08.180] – Mike Van Cleve

And if people go to www.MikeVanCleve.com and search for Down Payment Plus, you will be able to find the information on our website, and I’ll link to it in this video as well. How does somebody get a hold of you, Stacy?

[00:09:26.020] – Stacy Wolak

Best way is my cell phone, 3093031542, and happy to chat anytime. I’m more of an educator than a salesman, so my rule is the only dumb questions are the ones we don’t ask because we don’t know what we don’t know. Ask away, that’s what I’m here for is just to help walk alongside, answer questions and continue to learn and grow together.

[00:09:50.460] – Mike Van Cleve

That’s awesome.