First-Time Home Buyer FAQ

Interested in buying a new home? Not sure where to start? Anxious about the process?

That’s where we come in. Our Georgia Dream program was created with you in mind. This program offers funding for first-time home buyers to assist with down payment and closing cost fees.

Keep reading for answers to some of our frequently asked questions. If you need more information, email our team at

What is DCA’s definition of a first-time home buyer?

General Rule

A bond-financed single-family mortgage loan must be made to a person who did not own his/her principal residence at any time during the 3-year/36-month period immediately preceding the date of the mortgage closing.

Definition of Principal Residence

  • Primary residence of the home buyer (based upon documented facts and circumstances)
  • Not a vacation-second home
  • Includes fee title in a single-family home, condominium, or co-op shares in your principal residence

Definition of Ownership Interests During Last 3 Years/36-month period

A prospective home buyer is disqualified if they owned his/her principal residence during the last 3 years in any of the following forms of ownership:

  • Fee simple title
  • Joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety
  • Coop shareholder
  • Life estate in residence
  • Land contract in which title is not transferred until a future date
  • Beneficiary of a trust that maintains the residence for the beneficiary

The prospective home buyer is not disqualified because of owning during the last 3 years the following interests in his/her principal residence:

  • Remainder interest (someone with a future interest in an asset, such as a house given to them as per a will)
  • Lease with an option to buy
  • A mere expectancy to inherit a principal residence
    • Once inherited, it becomes an ownership of a principal residence
  • A real estate purchase contract prior to closing
  • Ownership of real estate that is not used as the owner’s principal residence (e.g., vacation home, rental property, investment property)
  • If the prior 3 years consecutive signed tax returns contain mortgage interest, property taxes, property insurance, or sale of real estate
    • Examples: Primary residence sold prior to the 36-month ownership period or divorced or separated ex-spouse who did not have ownership interest as previously defined in the section titled “Definition of ownership in the prior 3 years/36-month period.”

When does the 3 year/36-month requirement does not apply?

  • Targeted area loans
  • If the co-signer is not going to reside at the bond-financed home

What is not included in the definition of property?

  • A home that is not permanently affixed to a foundation such as a mobile home
  • Undeveloped land
  • A time share

What documentation can be provided to support the borrower meets DCA’s definition of a first-time home buyer?

  • The most recent 3 consecutive years IRS transcripts
  • The most recent signed complete personal tax returns
  • A copy of lender’s Delegated Underwriter’s Transmittal signed 92900LT form with comments stating his/her review of the application
  • Credit report
  • Fraud report
  • A signed SF 60-12 form (required by Georgia Dream)
  • Signed letter of explanation addressing all prior addresses and no prior homeownership or a copy of the no-record results to the IRS request for the prior 3 years 1098 transcripts