Below are answers to common questions we receive related to loans, lending areas, education opportunities, and much more. If you don't find the answer to the question you have, feel free to contact us.

View All Loan Process General Questions Loan Programs Lending Areas

Loan Process

NFC underwrites each application to standard Conventional guidelines. We encourage everyone interested in utilizing our program to submit an application to NFC. We cannot make a determination without a completed application to review.

Once the loan is closed, NFC will hold all the funds for the rehab/repairs in an escrow account. NFC holds an additional 10% contingency for any overage during the rehab process.  As projects are completed, the borrower will provide the required documentation to NFC. NFC will inspect the improvements.  If satisfactory, NFC will cut a check to the Contractor, which will be ready to be picked at NFC on Tuesday or Friday, after 4:00 pm.



The first step is to complete and submit an application. NFC can prequalify you before you find a home to buy. The home you wish to buy, improve or refinance must be in NFC's lending area.

There is a 5% down payment required for purchase loans. Some borrowers can qualify for 3% of their own funds and 2% from an acceptable source of funds. The 3% to 5% down payment has to be the buyers own liquid funds and cannot be gifted funds. 

The decision process depends on our current volume; generally 3-5 business days, but often more quickly. We strive to provide decisions as quickly as possible. A loan originator or processor will contact you when the prequalification process is complete.

NFC is very proud of the fact that most of our loans are processed and closed within 60 days. The speed at which a loan closes is largely dependent on the borrower. We do require a property evaluation to help us determine what repairs may be needed for the property; the evaluation is performed after the borrower is approved. Once the evaluation is done the borrower is responsible for gathering bids for the required repairs.    

General Questions

It is highly unlikely that you would qualify for a loan with NFC right after you close on a loan with another lender to buy the home. Because you have to borrow money from NFC to get the free money (forgivable loan) for home improvements, it is best to obtain your mortgage through NFC to be eligible for the subsidy funds.

The borrower is responsible for hiring contractors and getting the bids for the home improvements/repairs that will be completed once the loan is closed.

NFC will order a property evaluation. The NFC evaluation will be to determine necessary repairs once a signed purchase contract and/or approved application has been received by NFC.  The evaluator will focus on safety and soundness repairs and code violations first.  Once the evaluation is completed and turned into NFC, the originator will provide a copy to the borrower. 

Please contact Stephanie Murphy, Executive Director, for information and an application form.

Almost all homes in the NFC lending area are eligible for financing. NFC offers up to $10,000 ($15,000 for Cedar Rapids) per property every 10 years as a forgivable loan for home improvements/repairs as long as the borrower lives in the property for at least 5 years. NFC offers yard signs and brochures that can be used when trying to sell a home. Please contact a NFC loan originator to get a yard sign, brochures or with questions regarding a specific property.

With a NFC loan, there are three ways to access the funds for home improvements: Purchase loan- lump sum up to $10,000, or $15,000 in Cedar Rapids, Refinance loan- lump sum up to $10,000, or $15,000 in Cedar Rapids, Home Improvement loan- percentage of your project determine by your household income.

Please contact a loan originator to determine your eligibility.

**** Note: Funds are only available in conjunction with a mortgage loan with NFC - you have to borrow money to get the forgivable loan money. ****

Loan Programs

No. Our program is neighborhood or property-driven, not income-driven. 

At the time of closing, there is a lien filed against the property for the amount of the escrow renovation plus a 10% contingency to cover any overages during the renovation process. The loan is forgiven over a five-year period, 20% each year. The borrower must stay in the property for the first full five years of the mortgage for the entire amount to be forgiven.  As long as the borrower has occupied the property as their primary residence for the first 5 years, at the end of the 5th year, the lien is released.


On a purchase or refinance loan, up to $10,000, or $15,000 in Cedar Rapids, per property is forgiven over a 5 year period.

For a Home Improvement loan, the forgivable portion is determined by your household income compared to the median income for Linn/Polk County. The amount forgiven will be 25%, 33% or 50% of the rehab costs. The higher the household income, the less that is forgiven. Please contact an originator to determine the amount of forgivable funds available to you.

Yes, $10,000, or $15,000 in Cedar Rapids, is available per property every 10 years. 

What makes NFC most different from other lenders is the partnership with the City of Cedar Rapids, City of Des Moines, and Polk County allowing up to $10,000, $15,000 in Cedar Rapids, per property every 10 years for home improvement/repairs in the form of a 5 year, forgivable loan. As long as the borrower occupies the property as their primary residence for the first 5 years of the mortgage, the loan is forgiven. Like other lenders, NFC offers competitive interest rates. NFC offers both refinance and home improvement loans, depending on which is a better fit for the borrower's situation.

Lending Areas

NFC does not have a list of home that are for sale within our lending area. NFC has a map that shows our lending area, but not the properties for sale within those areas. NFC recommends utilizing a Real Estate Agent to find listed properties. Be sure to let your Real Estate Agent know you are interested in NFC lending areas.

There is no specified timeframe by which designated lending areas change, but generally every few years. 

The local government determines the NFC lending area in cooperation with NFC.  All low-to-moderate income census tracts within each city are in the NFC lending area. 

Please visit our Lending Map pages.  The maps show the NFC lending areas and the descriptions of the different lending areas. If a property is on a border of a lending area, please contact one of our loan originators to clarify if the property is in the lending area or not. Generally, NFC lends on both sides of the street.