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Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance Program in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Are you planning to live in Miami? This county, which lies on Florida's Gold Coast, has just under 2.5 million people and is the 3rd largest in the state. It combines agricultural lands with densely populated metropolitan areas. The county's borders include Biscayne National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Everglades National Park, which offer a peaceful retreat in contrast with the big Miami city.

This county is home to many of Florida's renowned schools and universities. The two primary local industries are tourism and transportation, although there is also a broad mix of domestic and foreign enterprises, from finance to healthcare.

Overall, this county is an excellent place to live because there are plenty of employment and job opportunities; low crime and high safety; excellent schools; high-quality infrastructure and roads; access to green space, recreation, and parks; as well as arts, culture, clean air, and water.

Unfortunately, Miami-Dade home prices are increasing fast due to the demand increase. Lending rates are also rising. And with meager earnings, many Floridians find it challenging to put aside money for closing costs and down payments.

Fortunately, local, state, or federal initiatives to aid homebuyers in affording down payments on their homes exist. If you satisfy specific requirements, you can qualify for an outright grant or a low-or no-interest second mortgage to cover your down payment. Lenders usually accept funds from DPA initiatives. Some DPA funds may also be used to cover closing costs.

Grants have no payback obligations, unlike loans, which must be paid back with your primary mortgage. Deferred loans are supplementary mortgages with delayed payments due when you sell, relocate, or refinance.

On the other hand, forgivable loans are supplementary mortgages that have the option of being forgiven or delayed over a certain period, requiring payments only if you plan to relocate, sell, or refinance shortly.

Many DPA programs are accessible at the county or local level. The requirements for participation in each program vary—most first-time homebuyers looking to acquire a primary home require a strong FICO score. But not every scheme adheres to the same set of guidelines. The following is a look at one of the most accessible DPA programs to qualify for in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

What exactly is the Chenoa Fund?

The Chenoa Fund is a national down payment aid program to make houses more affordable. It's the product of CBCMA, a federally chartered government entity that stands for CBC Mortgage Agency. The fund aims to help people afford homes by providing loans for the down payment and closing costs.

This is particularly advantageous for first-time buyers and those with low to moderate incomes. However, the fund is not exclusive to these demographics. Any applicant who satisfies the minimum standards is qualified.

How much down payment assistance is offered?

The Chenoa Fund offers down payment assistance up to 5 % of the negotiated real estate price. This assistance is provided as supplementary mortgage loan products that are repayable or forgiven.

Borrowers may use Chenoa Fund funds with FHA mortgages and standard Fannie Mae home loans. That said, as of right now, the DPA program for conventional mortgages has been stopped indefinitely.

Working with a recognized mortgage lender requires the Chenoa Fund down payment assistance program. That implies that you must select your lender from the list of lenders approved by the program; otherwise, you won't qualify for the DPA.

The best part is that all authorized lenders have been given underwriting authority. As a result, they can easily administer the Chenoa Fund products.

Borrowers who want to keep their saved DPA money for unforeseen expenses, house repairs, or an emergency fund have a great option. You can use the program funds for a down payment and keep your savings for later use.

Additionally, recipients of this assistance can pair it with other incentives, such as seller concessions to cover closing expenses.

What loan programs does the Chenoa Fund work with in Miami-Dade County, Florida?

The Chenoa Fund DPA is available for FHA borrowers. FHA loans are government-insured mortgages available to people with low incomes and poor credit histories.

You might still be eligible for an FHA loan if you've been denied conventional loans due to high debt loads, low credit profiles, foreclosures, or previous bankruptcies.

If your request for an FHA home loan is granted, the lender will cover approximately 96.5 % of the home's appraised value. So, the deposit required will be 3.5 percent. Fortunately, the Chenoa Fund contributes nearly the same amount to DPA. The only expenses you will have to finance yourself are the closing costs.

The Chenoa Fund offers three distinct FHA loan-compatible programs:

Chenoa Fund Rate Advantage program

The most well-liked and profitable Chenoa Fund offering is the Rate Advantage program. It enables homebuyers to lock in a great rate on their primary mortgage and a 3.5 % loan to help with the down payment.

The program has a minimum credit score threshold of 640. The maximum DTI allowed is 50 %. The program's income requirement ceiling is 135 % of the county's median. The down payment funds must be repaid in 10 years at an 8 % interest rate.

Chenoa Fund, DPA Edge

This "soft second" mortgage comes from a forgivable loan. That means you may be exempted from paying it back. It's a popular option among homebuyers with low incomes.

It's available to borrowers with a 620+ FICO and a DTI below 45 %. It's a no-interest supplementary mortgage with no monthly payment obligations. You must make your primary mortgage payments on time, usually every 30 days. If you do that, this second mortgage can be forgiven after 3 years (36 months).

The 36-month window resets whenever you make a late payment, allowing you another opportunity to work towards loan forgiveness.

The DPA Edge program from Chenoa Fund has an income ceiling of 115 % of the county's median income, which is where you are planning to buy your home.

Chenoa Fund Edge Repayable Second Product

This Chenoa Fund DPA option has no income limit requirements. However, it requires a FICO of 620+ and a DTI below 45 %. It is available in the form of a 10-year zero-interest or a 30-year 5 % interest-repayable loan.

Does the Chenoa Fund work with conventional loans?

Sadly, the Chenoa Fund's DPA product for traditional mortgages has been suspended indefinitely. But when it was operational, it provided funds equal to 3 % of the negotiated real estate purchase agreement, which could be used to make a down payment and settle closing costs. It was available for use with the Fannie Mae standard 97 % LTV mortgage and the HomeReady Mortgage.

Down Payment Assistance phrase written on notebook

Chenoa Fund Guidelines in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Chenoa Fund down payment assistance for FHA borrowers is available through forgivable and repayable second mortgage options. They all require a 620 minimum FICO score.

Repayable second mortgage demands monthly payments. It is available as a 10-year loan with an interest rate set 2 % higher than your primary FHA mortgage rate.

Forgivable second mortgage is available as a zero-interest 30-year mortgage without monthly payment obligations. All you need to do is make your primary mortgage payments on time, usually every 30 days. The amount of the DPA determines when the loan can be forgiven as follows:

  • 3.5 % DPA - forgiveness after 3 years (36 months) if you make your primary mortgage payments on time, usually every 30 days. However, whenever you make a late payment, the 36-month window resets, allowing you another opportunity to work towards loan forgiveness. That means you have the entire 30-year term to fulfill the requirements for forgiveness. But if you haven't fulfilled forgiveness requirements at the end of the loan's term, the debts may still be forgiven.

  • 5 % DPA - Forgiveness after 120 continuous on-time repayments on the primary FHA mortgage. However, if you delay making payments for more than 60 days, the forgiveness provision is struck from the loan. But it'll remain a zero-interest 30-year loan without monthly payment requirements.

If the prior forgiveness standards are not met, by the end of the loan duration, both second mortgages may still be forgiven. However, you'll have to repay the title in full if you sell or transfer the title before the second mortgage is forgiven.

Who is eligible for down payment aid from the Chenoa Fund?

If you have an FHA-backed loan and wish to apply for a Chenoa Fund DPA, you must have:

  • A credit score of at least 620.

  • A debt-to-income ratio of 45 % or below.

  • Additionally, you must be eligible for an FHA mortgage.

To be eligible for Chenoa Fund DPA for standard mortgages (when it comes back), you must have:

  • 640 or higher on the FICO scale.

  • A debt-to-income ratio of 50 % or below.

  • A 2 % maximum interest rate premium over the first mortgage, with a second mortgage duration of 10 years.

Are there income limits for the Chenoa Fund?

No income limits exist to qualify for Chenoa Fund assistance on a conventional loan. However, this does not suggest that income is not essential.

Depending on the loan program you are applying for, lenders will still want proof that you can make the monthly mortgage payments before approving you for a home loan.

However, once you qualify for the loan and meet the above Chenoa Fund requirements, you can apply for the DPA.

On the other hand, the Chenoa Fund Advantage Rate DPA program has an income ceiling of 135% of the county's median, while the DPA Edge program has it at 115%.

What more services is the Chenoa Fund program able to provide?

The Chenoa Fund provides pre- and post-purchase homebuyer education to ensure successful homeownership. To help first-time purchasers get through their first year as homeowners, the Chenoa Fund Borrower Success education program provides various counseling services, regular check-ins every month, and help with various issues. The help is provided by knowledgeable, empathetic counselors approved by HUD.

Additionally, the Chenoa Fund is self-sufficient and doesn't depend on taxpayers to run itself. It generates enough revenue to support the DPA program's ongoing operations and other initiatives to enhance homeownership.

For instance, there is still a growing disparity between the homeownership rates of minorities and whites. To solve this issue, the CBCMA has joined forces with programs like the UHOUSI to develop and broaden possibilities to boost homeownership among African Americans and other minorities.

Benefits of Utilizing this Fund and How to Apply in Miami-Dade County, Florida

  • It provides up to 5% DPA.

  • It's available to all homebuyers as long as they meet the qualification requirements.

  • It works with FHA and conventional mortgages (though DPA on the latter loans is unavailable now).

  • Rapid approval procedure with no review delays.

  • Borrowers will receive post-purchase guidance for 18 months.

  • Initiatives geared toward minorities that assist underserved demographics in learning about creating wealth via sustainable homeownership.

  • Available in the form of repayable and forgivable loans.

Many borrowers value only having to deal with one person. This makes it easier for them to get loans and keeps the procedure simple. The Chenoa Fund is available through approved lenders.

You can get the primary loan and second mortgage for DPA from the same provider. That's what the Chenoa Fund offers. Contact the program at to get a list of authorized lenders. You can also call 866-563-3507 to speak with representatives for guidance.

The Top Places to Get an Acai Bowl in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Want to satisfy your açai fix? Here are the top places in Miami-Dade to get a revitalizing bowl and other tempting menu items.

Raw South Juice Co.

Raw South Juice is a fantastic restaurant if you want vibrant, Instagram-worthy food that is too beautiful to consume. This organic juice bar offers more than some of the city's top açai bowls. They have soups, smoothies, and overnight oats. All prepared to get you going back for more.


Do not be deterred by the name because this is one of the most hygienic restaurants in Miami-Dade. It's a farm-to-table restaurant focusing on health that serves some of the best-tasting meals and snacks in the region.

Even though it's a young restaurant, the cold-pressed juices, veggie and quinoa bowls, and sandwiches have already generated a lot of excitement.

Goji Juicery and Kitchen

The Aventura neighborhood's Goji Juicery and Kitchen serve raw, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and nutritious foods like sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, salads, smoothies, and soups. A variety of acai bowls are also available.

Roots Juicebar

Roots is a serene juice bar in the center of Kendall that specializes in handcrafted juices and bowls for the city's health-conscious diners.

Pura Vida Cafe

Pura Vida, located at 110 Washington Avenue, offers a delicious sixteen-course menu. Depending on what you like, you can choose to enhance your acai bowl with protein powder, bee pollen, goji berries, or even fat burners.

Is the Chenoa Fund DPA program a good idea?

Yes, the Chenoa Fund is an excellent DFPA program. It offers DPA as a second mortgage in the form of a zero-interest 30-year forgivable loan or a repayable loan with a 10-year term and an interest rate 2 % higher than the rate on the FHA primary mortgage. The former requires no monthly payments, whereas the latter does. Forgiveness depends on the DPA amount.

However, remember that the Chenoa Fund isn't the only DPA program. Several special programs are available for first-time purchasers and other home buyers in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Why struggle to apply for a Chenoa Fund repayable loan when you may qualify for DPA either as a grant or forgivable loan from other programs in the county?

You need to know where to look for them. Start by speaking with your loan officer.

These other DPA programs may not be as generous as the Chenoa Fund. They might provide forgivable loans and grants, but the sum might not be sufficient to meet the down payment (usually 3% of the purchase price) and closing charges. The Chenoa Fund stands out by offering DPAs up to 5% of the negotiated real estate agreement.

The Chenoa Fund may be your best option, even if your DPA loan is not forgivable. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do research. Examine other DPA programs in Miami-Dade County, Florida and weigh your options.

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