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How the Chase DreaMaker Mortgage Program Works

How the Chase DreaMaker Mortgage Program Works

Michael Jensen, Mortgage and Finance Guru
, Mortgage and Finance Guru
  • Important DreaMaker Mortgage Program Considerations
  • Pros Cons
    • Ability to purchase a home with a 3% down payment and no borrower contribution
    • More flexible borrower qualification requirements (lower credit score requirement and higher borrower debt-to-income ratio)
    • Relatively attractive mortgage rate as compared to other conventional low down payment mortgage programs
    • No limits on property location
    • Applies to home purchase loans and refinancings
    • No up-front private mortgage insurance (PMI) and potentially lower monthly PMI fee as compare to other mortgage programs
    • Higher mortgage rate than government-backed low down payment programs mortgage programs (FHA, VA and USDA)
    • Borrower income limits
    • Requires ongoing private mortgage insurance (PMI)
    • Limit on mortgage amount
  • Chase DreaMaker Mortgage Program Overview
  • The Chase DreaMaker Mortgage Program is designed to help first-time home buyers and borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes afford mortgages and buy homes. The DreaMaker Program enables eligible borrowers to buy a home with a down payment as low as 3.0% of the property purchase price and no minimum borrower contribution. Using the program, borrowers can hold 3% of equity in their home when the mortgage closes without using any of their personal funds to make the down payment. By potentially lowering the amount of money home buyers are required to contribute to purchase a home and making mortgages more attainable, the DreaMaker Mortgage Program reduces the barriers to home ownership for people with limited financial resources.

    The Chase DreaMaker Mortgage program competes with government-backed low / no down payment mortgage programs such as the FHA, VA and USDA programs as well as conventional low / no down payment programs such as the Bank of America Affordable Loan Solution, Wells Fargo yourFirst Mortgage and Fannie Mae Home Ready programs. Similar to these other programs, the DreaMaker Program requires a down payment of 3%. The DreaMaker Program offers competitive mortgage rates as compared to conventional programs and potentially lower monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees. Be sure to compare and understand multiple low / no down payment mortgage programs to find the one that best meets your needs.

  • How the DreaMaker Mortgage Program Works
  • Borrowers apply for and obtain a DreaMaker Mortgage from Chase Bank. Chase administers the DreaMaker Program and determines your eligibility for the program. Borrowers that qualify for the program are required to make a down payment of 3% of the property purchase price and decide if they want to make the down payment using their own funds or other sources. Borrowers that do not have sufficient personal funds for the down payment can combine the DreaMaker Program with a personal gift, employer program or down payment assistance grant to pay for all or part of the down payment and closing costs.

    Using a down payment grant or gift enables the home buyer to purchase the property with no personal financial contribution. For example, if a home buyer wants to purchase a $100,000 home, they could obtain a $95,000 DreaMaker Mortgage from Chase and a $5,000 down payment grant to buy the home with no personal financial contribution.

    You can combine a Chase DreaMaker mortgage with a gift, company program, down payment assistance program, closing cost grant or qualified subordinated second mortgage to pay for a down payment, closing costs or property renovations, allowing you to buy a home with no personal financial contribution. Down payment and closing cost assistance programs as well as qualified subordinated second mortgages, also referred to as Community Seconds, are provided through state or local housing agencies or commissions which are not-for-profit organizations that offer a range of home buyer assistance programs. 

    • Find HUD-approved housing agencies or commissions that offer down payment assistance programs STATE PROGRAMS

    Home buyers seeking to use the DreaMaker Mortgage Program with a down payment assistance program should apply for the mortgage with Chase Bank and also contact their local housing commission (or employer) to apply for the down payment grant. In some cases, Chase may recommend specific housing organizations for borrowers to work with and the housing organization may provide resources in addition to the down payment assistance program to help guide borrowers through the home buying and mortgage processes. If you are interested in the DreaMaker Program your first step is to contact Chase Bank by calling, visiting the Chase Bank website or going to a local branch.

    We recommend that you compare terms including mortgage rate, fees and APR for a Chase DreaMaker loan to the terms for other low down payment programs. The table below shows rates and closing costs for leading lenders in your area.  Contact multiple lenders to find the mortgage program and loan that best meet your needs.  Shopping for your mortgage is the best way to save money on your loan.

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  • DreaMaker Mortgage Program Qualification Requirements
  • We review the key DreaMaker borrower qualification requirements below.

    Credit Score

    The minimum credit score required to qualify for a DreaMaker Mortgage is 620. Please note that borrowers with lower credit credit scores pay a higher interest rate and may be required to make a larger down payment. Borrowers are typically required to have a credit score of at least 720 to qualify for the lowest interest rate.

    Borrower Debt-to-Income Ratio

    The program applies a maximum borrower debt-to-income ratio of 45% to determine what size mortgage a borrower can afford. Your debt-to-income ratio represents the percentage of your monthly gross income that you spend on debt expenses including your mortgage, property taxes and insurance and other debt such as credit card, car and student loans. For example, if you earn $4,000 per month in gross income and Chase applies a debt-to-income ratio of 45%, you can spend $1,800 on monthly debt payments including your mortgage ($4,000 * 45% = $1,800). The higher the debt-to-income ratio, the higher the mortgage amount you qualify for. The debt-to-income ratio limit used by the DreaMaker Mortgage Program is below the debt-to-income ratio used by standard mortgage programs (50%) but consistent with many other low or no down payment mortgage programs except for the HomeReady and FHA low down payment programs which permit a borrower debt-to-income ratio of 50% or higher under certain circumstances.

    Borrower Income Limit

    The borrower’s income cannot exceed the area median income (AMI) for the county in which the property is located. You can use Freddie Mac’s Income Tool to determine the AMI for your area. Please note that the Wells Fargo yourFirst Mortgage Program as well as the FHA and VA mortgage programs do not apply income limits.

    Home Buyer Counseling Class

    Most DreaMaker Mortgage applicants are not required to take a home buyer counseling class although borrowers with higher loan-to-value (LTV) ratios may be required to take a class. The class focuses on helping borrowers understand how mortgages work as well as the financial obligations required by home ownership. Chase lets borrowers know if home buyer counseling is required when you apply for the program. Borrowers who decide to take the home buyer counseling class may be eligible to receive $500 from Chase upon completion of the successful completion of the class.

    Borrower Financial Reserves

    The program does not require borrowers to hold minimum funds in reserve at the time the mortgage closes; however, we recommend that you hold sufficient funds in reserve to cover three-to-six months of total monthly housing expense  which includes your mortgage payment plus property taxes and homeowners insurance.

    Use our free personalized mortgage quote form to review no obligation loan quotes from leading lenders. Our quote feature is easy-to-use, requires minimal personal information and does not affect your credit. Comparing mortgage proposals enables you to find the best loan terms.

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  • Program Costs and Fees
  • Mortgage Rate

    The interest rate you pay depends on many factors including your credit score and loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Borrowers with a credit score of 720 and above receive the program’s best interest rate while borrowers with lower credit scores and higher LTV ratios pay higher interest rates. For borrowers with higher credit scores, the interest rate for the DreaMaker Mortgage is competitive with other conventional low / no down payment programs but higher than the interest rate for a regular mortgage or for government-backed low and no down payment programs such as the FHA, VA and USDA mortgage programs.

    Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

    If your LTV ratio is above 80%, the DreaMaker Mortgage Program requires borrowers to pay an ongoing monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) fee, which is an additional cost on top of your mortgage payment. PMI is insurance the protects the lender in the event you default on your mortgage. The amount of the monthly PMI fee depends on your credit score and LTV ratio, among other factors.

    The monthly PMI fee for the DreaMaker Program is typically less than the PMI fee for a standard mortgage or for other conventional low / no down payment programs (although the Bank of America Affordable Loan Solution Program does not require PMI). Additionally, the DreaMaker Program does not require borrowers to pay an up-front PMI fee like they do for an FHA, VA or USDA mortgage and the monthly PMI fee is removed when your LTV ratio falls below 78%.

    Extra Fees

    Borrowers are required to pay standard lender fees and closing costs with the DreaMaker Program. Aside from a small fee to pay for the home buyer counseling class, if necessary, borrowers are not required to pay additional fees to apply for the program. Borrowers using a closing cost grant may be required to pay a separate fee to the housing agency or commission to apply for that program.

    Impound Account

    The program requires home buyers to pay property taxes, homeowners insurance and PMI, along with their mortgage payment, into an impound account on a monthly basis. An impound account is a trust account controlled by the lender from which expenses such as taxes and insurance are paid when due. The impound account does not affect the amount of fees the borrower is required to pay for the mortgage.

    Use the FREEandCLEAR Lender Directory to find lenders that offer a wide range of no or low down payment programs.

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  • Mortgage Type and Loan Amount
  • Mortgage Program

    The program only applies to thirty year fixed rate mortgages. Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) and interest only mortgages are not eligible for the program.

    Loan Limit

    The program only applies to conforming loan amounts ($484,350 or below for a single unit property in most counties) which limits the size of mortgage you can obtain.

    Mortgage Type

    The DreaMaker Mortgage Program applies to both home purchase mortgages and refinancings, although cash-out refinancings are not permitted.

  • Property Eligibility
  • The DreaMaker Program applies to owner-occupied, primary residences such as a home, condominium or co-op. Multi-family, one-to-four unit properties are permitted as long as the borrower occupies one of the units. The 3% down payment option only applies to single-family residences and buyers looking to buy multi-family properties may be required to make a higher down payment.

  • Great Mortgage IdeaRelated FREEandCLEAR Resources
  • Sources:

    Chase DreaMaker Mortgage Program: https://www.chase.com/personal/mortgage/home-mortgage/financing-home/types-of-mortgages

About the author

Michael Jensen, Mortgage and Finance Guru

Michael is the co-founder of FREEandCLEAR. Michael possesses extensive knowledge about mortgages and finance and has been writing about mortgages for nearly a decade. His work has been featured in leading national and industry publications. More about Michael

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