Skip To Content

Homebuyer Dream Program™

Check back soon for 2020 Homebuyer Dream Program updates!

The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York is not currently accepting new reservation requests for the 2020 Homebuyer Dream Program. ESL will provide updates when Homebuyer Dream Program grant funds are announced and made available.

The information below will help get you started and prepare for requesting a reservation in 2020. If you are ready to purchase your first home, please contact our ESL Mortgage Originations team at 585.336.1502.

Six Tips to Prepare for Homebuyer Dream Program

  1. Make Sure You Are Ready to Buy a Home
    It’s important to know how much you can realistically afford before you begin your house hunting journey. Completing a free prequalification will help you estimate a mortgage amount that is right for you.
  2. Learn About the Program Benefits
    The Homebuyer Dream Program is a first come, first serve grant assistance program from the FHLBNY that offers up to $15,000 for eligible first-time homebuyers: up to $14,500 per household for down payments and closing costs, with an additional $500 toward homeownership counseling costs.
  3. Be Proactive!
    First-time homebuyer assistance is great. However, there are limited HDP grants available each year. It is highly recommended to get a head start and complete all the necessary requirements prior to the 2020 program start date.
  4. Review the Eligibility Requirements
    Questions to ask yourself:
    • Are you a first-time homebuyer?
    • Have you saved at least $1,000 toward the purchase of a home?
    • Can you provide proof of income?
    • Do you meet the income limitation requirements?
    • Will you be purchasing a home within ESL’s 10 county lending area?
    • Do you have a signed and accepted purchase contract?
    Further details and definitions regarding eligibility requirements are located below.
  5. Complete a Homeownership Counseling Course
    Interested HDP applicants cannot submit a reservation request without first completing a required homeownership counseling course.
    • Once completed, your course certification can be used up to 18 months from the course completion date. This lengthy “expiration date” provides you enough time to search for a home while having the course requirement already completed.
    • Counseling courses take place in-person or online, and are completed during one-day workshops, typically lasting 6-7 hours. Workshops do require a registration fee, which varies by agency.
      • Contact our agency partners for details regarding hours and fees.
    • ESL has partnered with several counseling agencies that will assist you with scheduling and completing your course.
      • Contact information for our agency partners is located below.
  6. Obtain a Signed Purchase Contract
    Interested HDP applicants cannot submit a reservation request without first obtaining a purchase contract. Homebuyers must first have a fully executed Purchase and Sales contract (signed AND accepted) in hand prior to the date of the reservation request.
    • Don’t forget, when making a purchase offer on a home a preapproval letter shows the seller that you are qualified to buy.
    • ESL is ready to help you get preapproved or submit an application for the purchase of your first home. For assistance, contact a member from our Mortgage Originations team by calling 585.336.1502, or submit an application online.

Homeownership Counseling Agencies

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 2020, 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