Actually You Could Buy A House

Those who know me have heard me talk about owning a house, that’s mine, that I live in. It’s my dream. I live in Brooklyn, a city that smashes dreams mercilessly, and snatches even the possibility of such dreaming away … or is that just me?

Well, it was. Until I said to myself: acceding defeat before I even try is just a form of giving up AND giving agency and power away. What if I tried a different tactic? What do the numbers actually say? So I did a bunch of research and came up with — let’s not say a solution — some hopeful research and optimistic savings plans. Guess what: there are grants to help you buy a house, that you live in, in New York State and New York City. Check it out:

1. Hopeful Research

First Home ClubNew York State [+New Jersey]

  • Up to $7,500 in a grant-matching savings program
  • Income limits apply, you have to live in the house for 5 years.

HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance Program, NYC

  • Up to $15,000 in a grant-matching savings program
  • Income limits apply, you have to live in the house for 10 years.

IMG_0969Will the above programs make you apply, submit and fill out paperwork, then fill out more esoteric paperwork, and trot around like a good responsible pony? Yes, and so will banks if you want to get a mortgage. Will they then give you free money? Yes, unlike banks who will take and take your money in the form of interest on a mortgage. Pro tip: there is no free money, but these grant-matching programs are pretty close.

Other programs I found include:

Good Neighbor Next Door, National program

  • Discount of 50% on home purchase *of HUD-owned properties* if you are a teacher, firefighter, EMT, or law enforcement officer.

State-by-State list of HUD offices, National

  • Every state and city has programs to help people own houses.

Real talk: few organizations will do the actual work for you, but there are lots of organizations and people out there to help, to give resources, and to support you doing the work!

2. Optimistic Savings Plans

In a recent conversation with a friend who’s under 30, he was talking about a long-term plan to buy a house. “Dude you are in a great place to start this!” I squealed, stoked that he had 10 years to go. Confused my friend said “Why is it good that I’m so many years away from wanting to do this?”


It’s easier to save when you don’t have to do it all immediately.

We came up with a plan for him to go from $0 to $38k: what he’d need to put down 20% & have closing costs for a $150k house in 15 years*. Point here? You can start with 22 bucks and, pending your income goes up, end with a down payment, no family wealth needed:

Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Total
$ave/yr 250 500 750 1000 1200 1500 1500 2500 2500 3500 3500 4500 4500 5500 5500 38,700
$aved/month 22 42 62.50 83 100 125 125 208 208 292 292 375 375 458 458 38,700

*I can hear you now – in 15 years nothing will be $150k! (not true, and if he buys with someone else then it matters less) What about inflation! (Just let yourself hope and learn about laddered ROTH CDs already.) Jeez yall this is ONE BLOG POST. 

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