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Freddie Mac BorrowSmart® AccessSM Expands Home Affordability

March 01, 2024 3-minute read

Author: Kevin Graham


You’ve got a good job, solid income and a credit score that will enable you to get an attractive rate on a mortgage. There is just one problem: Saving up for the down payment is taking a while.

Freddie Mac BorrowSmart® AccessSM is a special-purpose credit program (SPCP) that could open up your options if you live in qualifying counties.1

See What You Qualify For


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What Is Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access?

Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access is a special-purpose credit program. The purpose of SPCPs is to help bridge the housing gap between communities that have been underserved historically by the financial and credit systems and the rest of America as a means to help build generational wealth.

The program allows for those buying in an eligible county within one of 10 metropolitan statistical areas to receive down payment assistance in the amount of $3,000. Here are the areas:

  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin
  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
  • Memphis, Tennessee-Mississippi-Arkansas
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Florida
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware-Maryland
  • Louis, Missouri-Illinois

What Are The Other Requirements?

To qualify for this option, there are several requirements you have to meet, including around credit and income. Here’s what you need:

  • 620 median qualifying credit score
  • 3% down (can be covered in whole or in part by the credit)
  • Income of no more than 140% of the area median
  • At least one client has to be a first-time buyer.
  • Free homeownership counseling is required.
  • Qualifying DTI can again vary, but it’s a good idea to aim for below 40%.

How Does Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access Compare To Other Programs?

We’ve already said this works much like Home Possible® from Freddie Mac or HomeReady® from Fannie Mae with the difference being the down payment credit based on income and where you live.

Let’s look at how this stacks up against a couple of other programs, though.

Conventional Low Down Payment Options

Freddie Mac has a 3% down loan option called Freddie Mac HomeOne®. Fannie Mae has a similar program that’s without branding.

The difference between these programs and Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access or Home Possible® or HomeReady® mentioned above is that these don’t have income limits. However, they do require that one client be a first-time home buyer.

Pricing is also better on Home Possible®. This means you’ll be able to get a better rate on this program compared to others if you have the same qualifications.

FHA loans

For those who don’t qualify for a conventional loan, an FHA loan might be a good option. Requiring a median credit score of 580 or better at Rocket Mortgage®, the qualifications are a little more forgiving. If your score is 620 or better, you might qualify with a slightly higher DTI ratio.

You will need at least a 3.5% down payment. It should be noted that if you make a down payment of less than 10%, you’ll pay monthly mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. Additionally, there is an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.75% associated with all FHA loans.

Bottom Line

Home Possible® is a low down payment loan option. Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access is an SPCP that allows qualified clients in eligible counties to receive $3,000 in down payment assistance.

Some standard requirements for conventional loans apply, including the need for a 620 qualifying credit score and a DTI no higher than 50%. Alternatives to this option include first-time home buyer programs from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that don’t have income limits. There are also FHA loans if you’re in the process of building your credit.

If you’re ready to get started with Freddie Mac BorrowSmart Access or any other mortgage options, you can apply online or speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (833) 326-6018.

Client will receive a $3,000 credit toward down payment. Offer valid only for first-time home buyers when qualifying income is less than or equal to 140% AMI and when the property is located in an eligible county within the following metropolitan statistical areas: Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA, Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI, Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI, El Paso, TX, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX, Memphis, TN-MS-AR, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, St. Louis, MO-IL. Client is required to complete one-on-one Homebuyer Education Course with GreenPath facilitated by Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF). Offer valid on new loans locked on or after 2/28/2023. Offer valid on primary residence retail purchase loans only. Offer is not valid for team member or Schwab channel products. Offer is nontransferable and cannot be combined with any other discounts. Offer cannot be applied retroactively. Offer may not be redeemed for cash. Rocket Mortgage reserves the right to cancel this offer at any time. Acceptance of this offer constitutes the acceptance of these terms and conditions, which are subject to change at the sole discretion of Rocket Mortgage. Additional restrictions/conditions may apply. This is not a commitment to lend.

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Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham is a Senior Blog Writer for Rocket Companies. He specializes in economics, mortgage qualification and personal finance topics. As someone with cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegia that requires the use of a wheelchair, he also takes on articles around modifying your home for physical challenges and smart home tech. Kevin has a BA in Journalism from Oakland University. Prior to joining Rocket Mortgage, he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.