Although Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 states by area, its embrace of good food, history and all things nautical make it a popular place for tourists and home shoppers alike. If you’re looking to put down roots in this northeastern state, there are several programs that can help.
Who Qualifies as a First-Time Homebuyer in Rhode Island?
Like most states, Rhode Island adheres to the federal designation that a first-time homebuyer is anyone who has not owned a property within the last three years. This means even previous owners can apply for financial assistance as first-time buyers if enough time has elapsed since selling the property.
Statewide First-Time Homebuyer Programs
This fairly new program from Rhode Island Housing (RIHousing) awards approved borrowers with $10,000 in down payment assistance in the form of a forgivable loan. The loan accrues no interest and requires no monthly payments, and as long as the home is your primary residence for the lifetime of the loan, the full amount is able to be forgiven. Learn about more about this exciting program on the 10kDPA website.
Extra Assistance Program
If the only thing standing between you and your new home in Rhode Island is the down payment, you definitely want to look into RIHousing’s Extra Assistance Program. This program grants up to 6 percent of the purchase price, or $12,000 (whichever is lower), toward down payment expenses. First-time homebuyers who meet the credit score and income limits must also complete a homebuyer education course. Visit RIHousing’s website for more details.
FirstHomes Tax Credit
Plenty of states have a tax credit option for first-time homebuyers, and Rhode Island is no exception. Approved applicants can claim a tax credit equal to 20 percent of the total mortgage interest paid, or up to $2,000 per year. This money-saving program can be applied every year for the lifetime of the mortgage, helping first-time homebuyers keep their finances balanced after making the big move. To learn about the purchase price and income limits, visit the FirstHomes Tax Credit page on the RIHousing site.
Homebuyer Programs by Location
Just south of Providence sits Cranston, the second largest city in the state. Cranston offers two first-time homebuyer programs: a down payment assistance program and a closing cost assistance program. The down payment program provides up to 50 percent of the required down payment amount, not to exceed $5,000.
The closing cost program provides up to $3,000 toward closing costs in the form of a loan that becomes a grant after five years. This means as long as you occupy the home as your primary residence for at least five years after purchase, the entirety of the loan is forgivable.
Of note: The programs cannot be combined. Applicants are approved for one or the other. Visit Cranston’s website to get more information on how to apply.
Through the federal HOME Investment Partnership Program, the city of Providence offers first-time homebuyers down payment assistance. The amount is determined based on credit score, purchasing price and income limits; to apply, visit Providence’s Housing & Community Development website.
Similar to Providence, the city of Woonsocket offers down payment assistance through the federally mandated HOME Investment Partnership Program. Up to $5,000 can be awarded to approved borrowers. Half of the amount is deferred, and the other half becomes a grant after five years of living in the home as a primary residence. To apply, visit Woonsocket’s Housing Assistance Programs webpage.
Ready to Move to Rhode Island?
The Ocean State is the perfect place to settle down for everyone from new parents to retirees. Enjoy beautiful scenery and thriving social scenes all across the state. No matter where you end up in Rhode Island, there are first-time homebuyer programs to help you out.
The links on this site were researched by NewHomeSource. This is as cohesive a list as possible. Individual homebuyers should contact entities to fully understand requirements and processes.
Other Rhode Island Resources
Kian Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Kian is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Kian also serves as president of the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.