The Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

I don’t know anyone that would say no to extra money so I have another little-known program to share with you that gives just that…extra cash.  It’s called the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC).  This program is a tremendous opportunity for a first-time homebuyer or anyone looking at buying a home that hasn’t owned in the last 3 years.  If you’ve owned a home in the last three years, don’t worry there is a caveat, just keep reading. This amazing program increases your take-home income and increases the loan amount you can qualify for all through a tax credit.

How it Works:  The MCC Program operates as an IRS tax credit. It’s a program that survived the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the specifics vary per state.  I’m located in San Diego, CA so I’m going to give specifics to San Diego, but this information will give you a general idea of the program and you can look up your own state and area information.  With a MCC, the qualified homebuyer becomes eligible to take a federal income tax credit of 20% of the annual interest paid on the mortgage each year for as long as they live in the home. For example, a $300,000 home financed at 4.00% is approximately $12,000 a year in interest. 20% of $12,000 would be a $2,400 credit! This dollar-for-dollar credit is applied directly to the buyer’s federal tax liability.  Basically, it reduces the federal income taxes you have to pay, resulting in an increase in an increase of net earnings and thus increases the amount of a mortgage loan you can qualify for.

How to Qualify: “What’s the catch?” is what I’d be asking at this point, so let me lay out the details for qualifying:

  • Your household income and the purchase price must not exceed the limits shown below.
  • You must not have owned property in the last three years. When the home being purchased is in one of the sixty-six designated targeted census tracts the applicant is not required to be a first-time homebuyer but cannot own a home at the time of application.
  • You must occupy the home.
  • You must apply for the MCC through a participating Lender (like Synergy One), and pay a non-refundable MCC application fee, amounts listed below.
  • All fixed or adjustable loan types are eligible. Including FHA, VA and Conventional.  Cannot be layered with mortgage revenue bond financed loans, or negative amortization loans.
  • You must purchase a single-family detached home, condominium, townhouse, or duplex within the eligible area.

There are a variety of specialty programs like this available.  The MCC is another example of why you should always choose a real-life mortgage advisor over an online mortgage company.  You don’t want to leave thousands of dollars on the table, so make sure you get the advice of experts.

If you have any questions on this, or any mortgage financing programs, feel free to contact me at

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Sarah Lindsey

Sarah Lindsey (Home Loan Gal) is a home loan adviser with over 15 years of industry experience. Her core values are based on one simple approach – provide clients with trusted expertise, personalized information, specific to their needs. Sarah currently serves as a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist with Synergy One Lending, is a regular guest on the television show, The American Dream with Craig Sewing, is a resource partner for the San Diego Chapter of the Financial Planner’s Association, is a board member for Junior Achievement (a non-profit focused on bringing financial education to all school age children) and can be heard on the radio station AM 1170 advocating consumer awareness on financing.


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