Skip To Content

Homebuyer Dream Program™

Accepting Reservation Requests
July 8, 2019

Contact an ESL Mortgage Originator today for details and next steps.


Exciting Changes are Here for New York First-Time Homebuyers

ESL will begin accepting Homebuyer Dream Program (HDP) grant reservation requests on Monday, July 8, for submissions to the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. Reservation requests into the HDP are limited each year and are available on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible buyers.

Earlier this year, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (which supports mortgage-lending efforts for New York State lenders) announced changes to New York’s first-time homebuyer program. These changes include an increase in grant funds up to $15,000 per household. $14,500 of these funds can be used for down payment and closing cost assistance, with an additional $500 that can be used toward the payment of required homeownership counseling costs.

Many prospective homebuyers have asked what this change means for them. Here’s a quick rundown on what to expect and some additional insights from Tina Lookup, ESL Manager, Mortgage Lending. 

How to Get Started

Speak with an ESL Originator

Interested members should reach out to an ESL Originator (585.336.1502) and get prequalified or submit an application to purchase their first home. Having a fully executed Purchase and Sales Contract on your first home and completing a homeownership counseling course is required prior to requesting a reservation into the Homebuyer Dream Program.

Speak with our homeownership counseling partners

ESL has partnered with several counseling agencies to help you complete your homeownership counseling course prior to requesting a reservation into the Homebuyer Dream Program. Once the course is complete, the counselling partners will work directly with ESL’s HDP administrator to get members registered into the HDP. Partners include:

Eligibility Requirements

To enroll in the HDP program you must meet the definition of a first-time homebuyer as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This is generally defined as not having owned a home individually or with a spouse in the last three years. Some exceptions do apply.

Homebuyer(s) must provide a fully executed Purchase and Sales Contract dated prior to the reservation request date and be mortgage ready for one of ESL’s mortgage products.

Homebuyer(s) are required to complete homeownership counseling through a counseling agency prior to requesting a reservation into the program.

Homebuyer(s) must provide a minimum equity of $1,000 toward the purchase of the home and must provide recent proofs of the sources of their household income whether from employment, pension, disability, Social Security or other recurring sources of income. They must also execute a zero income certification for each member of the household, 18 years and older, with zero income.

Homebuyer(s) must agree in writing to reside at the subject property for five years and agree to record that agreement (i.e. place a lien) against the property during that five-year period.

Income Limits

Household total income must be at or below the 80% Area Median Income (AMI) for the county in which the household is purchasing, adjusted for household size. For 2019, this is $62,240 for 1 and 2 person household and up to $71,576 for a 3+ person household.

Mortgage Eligible Counties

The grant funds will be made available to qualifying owner occupied purchased properties that are located within our 10 county lending area which include; Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties in the State of New York.


The FHLBNY and ESL reserve the right to change the terms and conditions at any time, without prior notice. The Household also fully understands that the limited funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and even if the Household meets all of the terms and conditions this does not guarantee that there may be funds available at the time that the Household qualifies. The FHLBNY, in its sole discretion, may refuse to honor a Homebuyer Dream Program funding request. The Household further agrees that any proceeds, which will not be, or cease to be, used for the purposes approved by the FHLBNY will be recaptured and the unused, or improperly used, grant will be returned to the FHLBNY. The Household will also acknowledges receipt of a copy of these terms and conditions.

Additional Resources