The frequently asked questions below are divided into several homeownership topics. If you have additional questions not found here, please email Duane McCrobie.
Q: What are today's rates?
A: Today's rates can be viewed at: ohiohome.org/rates/
Q: How do I check the status of a loan?
A: You can log into Lender Online at lol.ohiohome.org; click Loan Status, type in the reservation number or search by name. Once the loan is located, click View. Scroll to the bottom to show the status of the loan under Stage/Status/Date. The HFA conditions/exceptions will also show if there is more documentation that is needed once the loan is initially reviewed.
Q: How can I make changes to a loan that was already reserved? I need to change the loan amount, purchase price, DPA amount, program.
A: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request changes to a loan already reserved.
Q: Is online training provided for OHFA homebuyer programs, processing and/or Lender Online?
A: Recorded training can be found online at: ohiohome.org/partners/training and ohiohome.org/partners/lenders.
Q: Can I request an in-person training session for my staff?
A: Please contact Erin Higgins to coordinate an in-person training session.
Q: What programs does OHFA offer to homebuyers?
A: Your Choice! Down Payment Assistance – Your Choice! Down Payment Assistance allows homebuyers to choose either 2.5% or 5% of the home's purchase price. Assistance can be applied towards down payments, closing costs or other pre-closing expenses. This assistance is forgiven after seven years. If you sell your home within seven years, you must repay all of the assistance provided.
Ohio Heroes – OHFA's Ohio Heroes rewards Ohio residents who serve the public with a discounted mortgage interest rate.
Grants for Grads – Congratulations, graduate! OHFA's Grants for Grads provides a discounted mortgage interest rate to recent graduates as an additional incentive for making Ohio their home. Grants for Grads includes 2.5% or 5% down payment assistance. Down payment assistance is forgiven after five years as long as you remain in the state of Ohio. If you sell your home and move out of Ohio within five years, you must repay some or all of the assistance provided.
Mortgage Tax Credit – OHFA's Mortgage Tax Credit provides homebuyers with a direct federal tax credit on a portion of mortgage interest paid, which could provide up to a $2,000 tax savings per year for the life of the loan.
Next Home – OHFA's Next Home program provides 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to Ohio residents who are not first-time homebuyers.
OHFA Refinance Program – Current OHFA home borrowers can refinance their mortgage loan to improve their mortgage interest rate and reduce their monthly payment, helping them save money over the life of their loan.
Q: Where can I find the program guides?
A: Please reference the following guides:
– Conventional Term Sheet
– Government Term Sheet
– MTC Basic Term Sheet
– OHFA Refinance Guidelines
– Lakeview Conventional Refinance
– Lakeview Government Refinance
– Lakeview Refinance Training
Q: How do I become an OHFA Lending Partner?
A: Learn how you can take advantage of OHFA Homeownership Products to help more Ohioans achieve homeownership. Find our Lender Participation and Informational Forms on the lender page (third tab from the left). To become a participating lender please contact:
Business Development Manager
Ohio Housing Finance Agency
2600 Corporate Exchange Dr., Suite 300
Columbus, OH 43231
Q: How do I order a mortgage payoff?
A: Please call US Bank at (800) 365-7772 to request mortgage payoff information; you may also fax a request to (800) 200-8772. The first mortgage payoff from US Bank will include a line item showing the payoff for the second.
Q: I had a Grants for Grads loan. What are the forgiveness options?
A: Please contact email@example.com to request forgiveness for the remaining balance.
Q: Does OHFA subordinate the Down Payment Assistance (DPA)?
A: To assist homeowners who are trying to refinance their mortgages, OHFA has established policies regarding subordinations.
Down Payment Assistance second mortgages with a seven-year forgiveness term can be subordinated if the loan is refinanced with OHFA's Refinance Program. If the loan is not refinanced with OHFA's Refinance Program, the amount of the down payment assistance provided is due in its entirety at the time of the refinance. Please call US Bank at 800.365.7772 or fax a payoff request to 800.200.8772. The first mortgage payoff from US Bank will include a line item showing the payoff for the second.
For more information about our subordination policy, please visit ohiohome.org/partners/lenders
For additional information about the subordination policy, please email the borrower's name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is OHFA's employer identification number (EIN) number?
A: Please email Duane McCrobie to obtain the EIN.
Q: How do I register my borrower/loan with OHFA?
A: You can register the loan at: lol.ohiohome.org. You will need your login credentials to access the site. Once you are logged in, you may click the "New Reservation" tab at the top of the webpage. Select the program you are wishing to register; then enter in the borrower details.
We also have a helpful video about our process at: youtu.be/a3XLrtu5cOw
Q: I'm getting an error message that says, "No programs are available". – What is happening?
A: You will receive this message when you attempt to reserve a loan outside of the operating hours. Loans can only be reserved between 9:45 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Q: When I try to register the loan, I receive a message that there is an existing reservation for my borrower. What do I do?
A: The borrower might have had a loan with us in the past which is still showing in our system, or perhaps the borrower had a reservation that was previously cancelled for a different property. Please complete the New Reservation page (Yes it will give you an error message for duplicate loans), print to pdf and send to Duane McCrobie or Erin Higgins, via secure email, and we will manually reserve the new loan for you.
Q: What is your relock policy?
A: Any loan cancelled during the rate lock period may not be re-reserved for 60 days from the original reservation expiration date or cancellation date for the same borrower purchasing the same property. Whichever date is later will be used.
Q: I'm ready to submit loan documents from my borrower for OHFA to review. What do I need to do?
A: Each loan will have a checklist depending on its program type. This can be accessed by going to lol.ohiohome.org, logging in, and then clicking Loan Status. You may type in the reservation number and then click PDF Docs to the left of the borrower's name. This will take you to the applicable checklist and Post-Closing documents. Once you are ready to upload the Pre-Closing documents for initial review, you will click on eDocs. The eDocs icon can also be found to the left of the borrower's name on the Loan Status tab. Click "Add New" to upload the documents. You can either upload all the documents in one file or each individual documents. When you have completed uploading documents, you will need to click the "Submit" button to ensure that OHFA is notified there are documents to be reviewed.
There is also a helpful training video online at youtu.be/a3XLrtu5cOw
Q: What documents do I need to submit a loan for Pre-Closing review?
A: Each loan will have a checklist depending on its program type. This can be accessed by going to lol.ohiohome.org, logging in, and then clicking on the "Loan Status" tab. You may pull the loan up by entering the OHFA reservation number, the lender loan number (if entered at the time of the reservation) or the borrower's name and/or Social Security Number. Once the loan pulls up, click the "PDF Docs" icon to the left of the borrower's name. You will find the applicable pre-closing checklist and voucher on the PDF Docs webpage. At a minimum, OHFA requires the following documentation be provided for commitment approval:
- Borrower(s) 1003 Mortgage Loan Application
- 1008 Transmittal
- Three years most recent years signed tax returns for borrower(s) and spouse releasing dower, if applicable. IRS transcripts are acceptable in lieu of signed returns.
- Two most recent paystubs within the last 60 days or one recent paystub and a written Verification of Employment (WVOE).
- Copy of executed purchase contract.
- For the Ohio Heroes program, see Heroes section for required documentation.
- For the Grants for Grads program, provide evidence of graduation date and type of degree.
- Other documentation as needed per transaction. (reviewed on a case-by-case basis)
Q: Does my borrower have to take the Homebuyer Education (HBE) course?
A: OHFA requires HBE for all borrowers except those utilizing the MTC Basic program. To meet the HBE requirement, the following can be provided:
- A certificate from a HUD-approved counseling agency issued within 12 months of the reservation date, if the borrower completed a minimum 4-hour class with the HUD-approved counseling agency.
- Participation in OHFA- streamlined homebuyer education (online and telephone counseling)
- The HBE is required for at least one owner occupant borrower, even homebuyers utilizing our Next Home program. HBE is required to be completed prior to commitment (pre-closing) approval.
Please direct the borrower to hbe.ohiohome.org to begin the process.
Q: How does the Homebuyer Education (HBE) process work?
A: OHFA asks the Lender to direct the borrower to the HBE portal to begin the HBE process. The borrower will complete the Test and Budget, then select a HUD-approved counseling agency. Borrowers can expect a call and or email from the counseling agency they selected within two business days of completing their test and budget. The housing counselor will schedule a time to complete the phone session with them within the next three days. Phone sessions can take 45 minutes to an hour, please advise your borrowers to allow that time frame when scheduling. The certificate of completion and HBE approval will be uploaded to the file within 24-hours of the phone session being completed.
Q: The loan has been approved by OHFA. What do I need to do now?
A: In Lender Online, find the loan, and click on eDocs. The "Commitment package to be signed at closing" will be available to download. Also, you will need to click on PDF Docs to prepare the purchase package that will house more documents to be signed at closing. The "Commitment and Award letter" will also be found under PDF Docs. If the loan has down payment assistance (DPA), you will also need to prepare the HUD-1 form as well and the DPA Note and Mortgage. All forms will need to be signed by the borrower and notarized where indicated. All documents signed at closing will need to be returned with the Post-Closing package for review.
Q: I need to extend the reservation. How do I do that?
A: To extend the commitment approval, please email Duane McCrobie or Erin Higgins. The fee to extend is 0.375% for every 30 days beyond the original 70-day lock period. Extension fees charged to the borrower or seller must be approved by OHFA prior to closing.
Q: Will OHFA accept transcripts in lieu of federal tax returns?
A: Yes, we will take tax transcripts in lieu of returns. The transcripts do not need to be signed, but returns must be signed.
Q: How many years of federal tax returns does OHFA require?
A: OHFA requires a borrower to provide the most recent three years of tax returns or tax transcripts for all OHFA programs.
Q: What if the borrower did not file federal tax returns?
A: If the borrower was not required by the IRS to file tax returns, we need to know what year(s) were not filed and the reason they were not filed. We will add this information to the Borrower Initial Affidavit for the borrower to attest to at closing. If they were required by the IRS to file but did not (for whatever reason): OHFA does not accept IRS tax extensions or borrowers with outstanding tax years not filed. To be eligible for purchase, they will need to file the outstanding year(s).
Q: Does OHFA require a copy of the State tax return?
A: No, OHFA does not require a copy of the borrower's state tax return.
Q: Does OHFA need the non-purchasing spouse tax return?
A: If a borrower is married and the spouse is not on the loan, we need to verify if the non-purchasing spouse (including estranged spouses) owned the home in which the borrower has lived for the last three years. We will require the spouses returns for the most recent three years, or for the period married to the borrower if less than three years. It is not necessary for a non-purchasing spouse to sign tax returns (regardless of the filing status: jointly with the borrower or filed separately). In lieu of the tax returns of the non-purchasing spouse, we will accept evidence, (i.e. a printout from the auditor's website, that the non-purchasing spouse did not own the home(s) in which our borrower lived during the last three years.
Q: What types of properties may be purchased with OHFA programs?
A: – One-to-four-unit single family properties (Grants for Grads program limited to one-unit only)
- If using a conventional product, condominiums must appear on US Bank's current active approved condo association list or the lender must submit to US Bank's Project Approval Dept. for approval of the condominium association unless lender has received delegation approval from US Bank to approve condominium projects. See US Bank's website for approved list and submission requirements.
– Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)
Q: Is there an acreage limit?
A: Yes, two acres or less within municipal corporations and five acres or less outside municipal corporations.
Q: What are the maximum purchase price limits?
A: Maximum purchase price limits by county are posted online at ohiohome.org/limits
Q: What is a Target area and how do I know if my borrower's property is in a Target or Non-Target area?
A: A Target area is a census tract where the housing market is highly challenged. There are two types of target areas: 1. Qualified Census Tracts (QCTs), which are based on household income data and designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 2. Areas of Chronic Economic Distress (ACEDs), that are designated by OHFA and subject to federal approval. A home must be located in at least one of these to be eligible for a Target area loan. Most Ohio counties contain both target and non-target areas. Determine whether a property is located within a target area by going to: ohiohome.org/Geodata
Q: My borrower's loan has closed now. What do I need to do?
A: Lenders must submit a purchase compliance package to OHFA after closing and prior to the loan being eligible for purchase by the servicer. A purchase compliance documentation checklist is available on the Lender Online Reservation System. Only documents provided by OHFA on the Lender Online Reservation System will be accepted. Once the purchase compliance package is approved by OHFA, the servicer is authorized to purchase the mortgage loan.
Q: How long do I have for the loan to be purchased by the servicer?
A: Mortgage loans must be purchased and funded within 70 calendar days of the loan reservation date. Failure to comply with the 70-day purchase deadline will be subject to a 0.375% extension fee for every 30 days beyond the original 70 days.
Q: To where do I send the program fees?
A: Fees collected at closing that are payable to OHFA and (the $100 administration fee, $250 MTC Plus fee or $500 MTC Basic fee) can be sent via Automated Clearing House (ACH) (please email Duane McCrobie or Erin Higgins for instructions) or mailed to:
Ohio Housing Finance Agency
2600 Corporate Exchange Dr, Suite 300
Columbus, OH 43231
Q: Who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer?
A: Borrowers are defined as "first-time homebuyers" if they meet one of the following:
- Have not had ownership interest in a principal residence at any time during the three-year period ending on the date the mortgage loan is executed
- Are qualified military veteran who have received honorable discharges from the U.S. military, even if they have previously owned a home
Borrowers do not have to qualify as first-time homebuyers if the home they select for purchase is located in a designated Target area census tract. Please refer to ohiohome.org/geodata to determine if a property qualifies as being in a target area.
Q: What if a borrower doesn't meet the definition of a first-time homebuyer?
A: For borrowers who do not meet the definition of a first-time homebuyer but who do meet all other qualifications for OHFA's program(s), they may be eligible for our Next Home program. Next Home follows the same guidelines as our first time homebuyer loans with the following exceptions:
- 2.5% down payment assistance (DPA) only. 5% DPA is not offered.
- Interest rates could be slightly higher for the Next Home program.
- Cannot be combined with the OHFA Grants for Grads program.
- Cannot be combined with the OHFA Mortgage Tax Credit program.
Q: Do I as the lender need to send the borrower a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) or Loan Estimate (LE) for the down payment assistance second mortgage?
A: No, OHFA will send the borrower a GFE that will disclose the potential recording fee for the down payment assistance.
Q: Who can hold title to an OHFA loan?
A: Only occupant borrowers and their spouses can take title on any of our first time homebuyer products.
There is no restriction as to whom can hold title on the Next Home program. Follow standard government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) Agency uGuidelines.
Q: What are dower rights?
A: A spouse will be endowed with a life estate in one-third of any real property owned by his/her spouse.
Q: Does a non-occupant co-borrower sign any OHFA documents?
A: Non-occupant co-borrowers do not sign any of our documents. They may sign the second mortgage note but are not required to do so. They don't sign any other documents and cannot hold title if using our first time homebuyer products.
Q: Does OHFA require a Year-to-Date Profit and Loss (YTD P&L) statement for self-employed borrowers?
A: Yes, OHFA requires a YTD P&L statement for self-employed borrowers.
Q: The borrower owns a current property and plans to retain ownership, but will not live there. Is this O.K.?
A: Yes, if the borrower has not lived in the property within the last three years as his/her primary residence, then he/she are considered a first-time homebuyer. OHFA will add the market rent to the borrower's income calculations when determining income eligibility.
- If the borrower's primary residence is not sold prior to closing or will be retained as rental property:
Please provide documentation of gross market rent – A Zillow print out or the equivalent is acceptable.
- If the subject property being purchased using an OHFA product is a two-to-four family home:
Please provide a copy of the appraisal to determine market rent for additional units.
Q: What if my co-borrower does not have a credit score?
A: If the co-borrower has no score, it is acceptable to obtain an AUS approval.
Q: What is OHFA's mortgagee clause?
A: You can use OHFA's servicer's mortgagee clause depending on the program type:
US Bank National Association
Its Successors and Assigns as Their Interest May Appear
C/O U.S. Bank Home Mortgage
P.O. Box 961045
Fort Worth, TX 76161-0045
For Third-Party Originator (TPO) and Refinance programs:
Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC c/o LoanCare, LLC
PO Box 202049
Florence, SC 29502-2049
Q: What is the minimum credit score required?
A: Please see guidelines for credit score requirements.
Q: What is OHFA's maximum allowable DTI (debt-to-income) limit?
A: Please see guidelines for DTI requirements.
Q: Does OHFA allow manually underwritten loans?
A: Please refer to our program guidelines for reference.
Q: Are "high cost" or "high priced" mortgage loans allowed?
A: High cost loans are not allowed. High priced mortgage loans are allowed.
Q: Does OHFA allow for principal reductions?
A: Yes, as allowed per government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) Agency guidelines.
Q: Can a borrower get cash back at closing?
A: At closing, an eligible borrower may not receive cash back except for the following reasons: overpayment of fees and/or expenses paid outside of closing (i.e. earnest money deposit, appraisal fees, home inspection fees, credit report charges, gift funds, etc). An eligible borrower may be reimbursed up to the amount of overpayment with documented expenditures. In the event there are funds remaining after an eligible borrower has been reimbursed for the requested appropriate amount, an eligible borrower shall not receive the additional funds; however, surplus funds may be applied as a principal curtailment on the first mortgage and be documented on the Closing Disclosure.
Q: If a spouse is not going to be on the loan, will OHFA still count his/her income?
A: OHFA will only count the income of the person(s) listed on the mortgage and living in the property. If a spouse is not going to be on the loan, then we will not count his/her income.
Q: What is the minimum borrower contribution?
A: OHFA does not have a minimum borrower contribution. We defer to GSE agency guidelines.
Q: The appraised value of the property came in lower than the purchase price. Will the down payment assistance be lowered?
A: No, the down payment assistance is always sized at exactly 2.5% or 5% of the home purchase price, rounded down to the nearest dollar.
Q: What can the Down Payment Assistance funds be used for?
A: The down payment assistance may be applied against the borrower's down payment, closing costs, prepaid items and other related program and mortgage loan fees and expenses.
Q: Do you allow for funds to be held back for repairs to be completed after closing (escrow holdbacks)?
A: U.S. Bank does allow for weather-related repair escrows. OHFA defers to US Bank's guidelines regarding escrow holdbacks. If you have further questions, please contact US Bank's customer care at: email@example.com.
Q: What is a Mortgage Tax Credit?
A: The Ohio Housing Finance Agency's Mortgage Tax Credit provides homebuyers with a direct federal tax credit on a portion of the mortgage interest paid, which could provide up to a $2,000 tax savings per year for the life of the loan. Homebuyers must have a tax liability to use this non-refundable credit. The mortgage tax credit is in addition to the IRS home mortgage interest deduction. The size of the tax credit a homeowner receives is based on the location, property, and type of mortgage.
Q: What is the difference between the Mortgage Tax Credit Plus and Mortgage Tax Credit Basic programs?
A: The difference between the two programs is as follows:
If borrowers use the Mortgage Tax Credit Plus program coupled with an OHFA mortgage, with or without DPA, they will receive a tax credit of 40% of the home mortgage interest. The maximum annual tax credit is $2,000. Homebuyers using Mortgage Tax Credit Plus could have a slightly higher interest rate. Homebuyers are also able to couple the mortgage tax credit with 2.5% down payment assistance.
The Mortgage Tax Credit Basic program is when a borrower's first mortgage is not an OHFA loan, but rather a loan offered by the borrower's lender under their terms and OHFA only provides the tax credit. In this case, a borrower's tax credit percentage is 30% for the purchase of a bank-owned property, 25 percent for a property located in a target area, or 20% for all other properties.
Q: Is there a cost to use the Mortgage Tax Credit programs?
A: The fee for the Mortgage Tax Credit Plus program is $250 and for the Mortgage Tax Credit Basic the fee is $500.
Q: A borrower refinanced his/her mortgage. Can the borrower still use the Mortgage Tax Credit?
A: Instructions can be found for requesting reissue of a Mortgage Tax Credit Certificate upon refinancing on our website at: myohiohome.org/mtc-holders
Q: How do I use my Mortgage Tax Credit?
A: To claim your Mortgage Tax Credit, please review IRS Publication 530 or contact a tax professional.
Q: What is recapture tax?
A: Recapture tax is a federal tax a homebuyer may have to pay if he or she sells the home within the first nine years of the purchase date, receives a net profit on the sale of the home and exceeds the maximum income limits at the time of sale. All three provisions must occur at the time of sale for any potential recapture tax obligation to apply.
The IRS requires recapture tax, because OHFA mortgages are sometimes funded through the sale of tax-free mortgage revenue bonds. Recapture tax also applies to homebuyers using OHFA mortgage tax credits. This provision ensures compliance with OHFA's stated purpose of helping low- and moderate- income homebuyers.
Effective March 1, 2006, OHFA will reimburse homebuyers for the actual amount of recapture tax paid to the IRS on loans closed on or after the effective date. In the past, the term "recapture tax" caused potential homebuyers to think twice about buying their home. However, through extensive research, OHFA has found that very few people have ever had to pay the tax for selling their homes early.
For more information on the reimbursement process, please visit: myohiohome.org/mtc-holders
Q: Who are the servicers?
A: For the First-time Homebuyer Programs, Mortgage Tax Credit Plus and Next Home programs:
U.S. Bank Home Mortgage
- For post-closing/pre-funding status requests, questions on deficiencies, pooling, and post-closing/pre-funding policies and procedures, contact:
- 800.562.5165, Option 1
- For underwriting status or conditions questions:
- For underwriting pre-submission scenarios or guideline questions:
- 800.200.5881, Option 2
- For loan level questions – housing finance agency (HFA) customer care:
- 800.562.5165 Option 1
- For general HFA program questions – HFA Programs:
- 800.562.5165 Option 2
- For underwriting scenarios and guidelines – underwriting customer care:
- 800.200.5881 Option 2
- For lender eligibility and approval status – lender management:
- For DocVelocity assistance:
For the Third-Party Originator and Refinance Programs:
- For Lakeview Loan Servicing:
- 85-LAKEVIEW (855-253-8439)
- 85-LAKEVIEW (855-253-8439)
- For lender questions regarding underwriting:
- For lender questions regarding delivery of the closed loan file including loan deficiencies:
- For lender questions regarding compliance:
- Lenders should consult with their internal compliance departments.
For general lender questions, including how to become an approved Lakeview lender:
Lenders may contact their Lakeview VP/BDD. Map of contacts: https://www.lakeviewcorrespondent.com/contact-us/