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 and investors/developers may be eligible for grants and/or loans offered by the City of Lawrence through its lead abatement and rehabilitation programs to rehabilitate 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 owners and investors.

For more information, please contact Olivia Rosa.

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, closing costs, and a reduction of the mortgage principal.

Financial assistance is available in the form of a zero-interest deferred loan (second lien). This loan is forgivable after Ten (10) years as long as the homeowner remains in the home as their principal residence.

Payment of 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 within the ten (10) year 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 not to exceed $15,000 in financial assistance.  The assistance can cover down payment, principle write downs and eligible closing costs identified in a signed Closing Disclosure, and reflected in the final HUD-1 Settlement Statement. 

To qualify for this deferred loan, applicants must:

  • Be a First Time Homebuyer
  • Have a CHAPA-approved Homebuyer & Landlord Education Certificate
  • Meet the HUD-HOME income limit guidelines
  • Property must pass a Housing Quality Standard Inspection
  • Meet the City of Lawrence FTHB program’s affordability ratio criteria
  • Cannot have cash assets of more than $25,000 (excluding retirement savings)
  • Contribute 2% 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 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, (with all the required supporting documents) will be accepted and processed.

Our department will review applications for consideration of down payment 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.