Home$tart is a down payment and closing cost assistance program offered by the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) Des Moines to qualifying home buyers through Marion County Bank.

Who can qualify for a Home$tart grant?

The Home$tart program is available to qualifying first-time home buyers earning up to 80 percent of area median income for the location of the residence being purchased.  You can find median income information for your area on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website at www.huduser.org.  Income limits are adjusted based on household size.  Home$tart recipients must also:

  • Complete a first-time home buyer education class 
  • Qualify for mortgage financing with their lender

How much grant money may I receive through Home$tart? 

Home$tart participants may receive up to $7,500 in grant funds in 2019.

You must have a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement to enroll in Home$tart.

How do I enroll in Home$tart?

You can enroll through any financial institution that is a member of the FHLB Des Moines and participates in the Home$tart program.  Your lender will help you sign up for Home$tart and explain the program in greater detail.

Are there are any restrictions on the type of home I may purchase?

Home$tart grants may be used to purchase single-family homes, manufactured homes, condominiums and other types of residences.  The home you purchase must be used for your primary residence.  There are no neighborhood restrictions (i.e., type or location).  If you qualify for mortgage financing from your lender and are income eligible, you will likely be able to receive a Home$tart grant.

Are there any restrictions on how the grant may be used?

Yes. Home$tart may be used for down payment and closing costs.  The grant may not be used to pay for moving costs or to pay bills.

What happens if I sell my house?

If your home is purchased with Home$tart assistance, it is subject to a five-year deed restriction requiring that you return a portion of the grant if you sell your home within five years.  This amount will be prorated based on the length of time you own the home, and the funds will be taken from your sale proceeds.  If you sell your home at a net loss or to another low-to-moderate income home buyer or if you lose your home through foreclosure, the prorate amount owed on your grant will be forgiven; in these cases, your title company should contact FHLB Des Moines to request a forgiveness review.  However, if you live in the home for at least five years, you never have to repay the grant.  It’s all yours!

Questions? Contact Diane Roose at Marion County Bank


Email Diane



Marion County Bank is a Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender