A 10-Year Partnership That’s Opening the Doors of Affordable Homeownership

June 6, 2024

June is National Homeownership Month, which celebrates the benefits — emotional and financial — that owning a home can bring to families, communities, and neighborhoods. To raise awareness about affordable homeownership opportunities, this month we are spotlighting how Down Payment Resource and eHome America have been working together for 10 years to help turn more homeownership dreams into reality.

Down Payment Resource (DPR) was launched by Rob Chrane in 2008 to help the housing industry connect homebuyers with the down payment assistance (DPA) they need. Since then, DPR has amassed and maintains a current accounting of all U.S. homebuyer assistance programs (that’s 2,300+ programs from 1,200 providers at the time of writing). DPR’s eligibility finder is free to the public and through industry partners like eHome America.

eHome America, also launched in 2008, provides high-quality, online homebuyer education in English and Spanish to arm first-time homebuyers with the knowledge necessary to prepare them for long-term success. Since its inception, eHome America has helped more than 750,000 families across all 50 states and U.S. territories complete the homebuyer education required for securing financing and receiving down payment and closing cost assistance.

To help spread the word on DPA and homeowner education and how the two used together can open the doors to affordable homeownership, we sat down with Milt Sharp, Jr., president of eHome America, to discuss the barriers and opportunities faced by today’s homebuyers and how to get help. Here are his thoughts: 

DPR: Can you start by explaining why homeownership courses are important for today’s homebuyers and often required by their lender or counseling agency?

Milt Sharp: It’s challenging to buy a home, especially for low-income and minority buyers who may struggle to save for a down payment and have limited credit histories. We’ve seen how homeownership counseling can help prepare these buyers for long-term success as homeowners and how DPA can help them qualify by lowering the loan amount for a more favorable debt-to-income ratio or providing enough cash for closing costs. 

DPR: Who takes the eHome America course, and how does it benefit them?

Milt Sharp: Most of our clients are already working with a lender and may be using an affordable mortgage product like HomeReady, which allows for 3% down but requires completion of an approved homeownership program.

Our eHome America’s signature homebuyer course is a six- to eight-hour course buyers can take entirely online. It’s interactive and can be broken into multiple sessions to accommodate a busy schedule. This course has helped about 84,000 people and is followed by convenient, online 1:1 counseling. 

The course includes information on down payment assistance and provides a widget that allows clients to search DPR’s extensive program database to find assistance programs for which they may qualify.

Program data is maintained by DPR and made accessible to our counselors and partners, including HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, lenders, and state and local housing authorities. Since we initiated this agreement in 2014, the DPA eligibility form has been used 538,000 times and 21,000 clients have clicked through to learn more about specific DPA programs.

In addition to our signature homebuyer course, eHome America offers four other online courses on buying a manufactured house, money management, post-purchase, and foreclosure prevention. These resources help people get into homes and set themselves up for long-term financial success. 

DPR: How is eHome America structured? 

Milt Sharp: We work with more than 650 nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. to reach potential homebuyers, help them learn about the homebuying process, and make sure they’re financially ready. Partners refer their clients to us so they don’t have to ‘recreate the wheel’ in developing their own multi-media homeownership content. Customer feedback on our content is very positive and we have a very high completion rate. This is due in part to the accessibility of the course but also that these buyers are highly motivated to become homeowners.

DPR: Why was it important to include down payment assistance in your course?

Milt Sharp: Providing information and access to DPR’s database is essential to our mission to help every homebuyer. Many of our clients are unaware of DPA or have misconceptions about how it works. Many years ago, when we started working with Rob [Chrane], we knew we needed to get this information in front of our counselors and customers since having a down payment is one of the biggest hurdles homebuyers must overcome. 

DPR: Is this a good time to buy a home?

MS: When you have enough money and the time is right for you personally, it’s always a good time to buy. Interest rates will always go up and down. So, if you buy and they drop, you can always refinance. A smart home shopper will talk with several lenders and seek out housing counseling from a nonprofit, many of these organizations purchase properties to renovate and sell as affordable housing. They’ll also be aware of and inquire about DPA. 

While this is National Homeownership Month, and we are hoping to shine a particularly bright light on resources that can help buyers achieve their dreams sooner rather than later, people buy homes throughout the year, making an investment in their own futures. 

We believe homeownership is possible, and we’re glad to be working with partners like DPR to help more people achieve sustainable homeownership. 

For more about eHome America, visit

Down Payment Resource builds tools that help mortgage lendersreal estate agentsmultiple listing services and consumer listing sites build relationships with homebuyers by connecting them with the homebuyer assistance they need.

To learn how Down Payment Resource can help you support homebuyers, contact us.

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