First Time Home Buyer

If you’re a first-time homebuyer in Wisconsin or Illinois, Blackhawk Bank can help. We offer a variety of first-time homebuyer programs with down-payment assistance.

Our programs and availability vary by state. Some options include Wisconsin’s WHEDA Loan, Illinois’ IHDA Grant and the Federal Home Loan Bank program. We invite you to learn more about each of these first-time homebuyer loans here.


If you’re looking for an easy and effective first time homebuyer program, a WHEDA loan may be right for you. The WHEDA Advantage Home Loan features low monthly mortgage payments, a small down payment and closing cost assistance. You also benefit from a fixed interest rate. The WHEDA program is designed to save you money now and in the future. To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a home buyer with sufficient credit and income to support a monthly mortgage loan
  • Participate in a qualified homebuyer education program to support your future success
  • Plan to use the property that your loan will apply to as your primary place of residence
  • Purchase a single family home or a duplex – the latter may have additional requirements
Those who qualify for a WHEDA loan may also qualify for the First Time Home Buyer (FTHB) Advantage home loan. FTHB is offered exclusively as a first-time homebuyer loan for qualified buyers. Eligibility is determined through the WHEDA process and confers other benefits.

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) reserves the right to change or modify this program at any time. For the most current and up-to-date program details, please visit WHEDA’s website.

IHDA Grant and Loan Program

Looking for first-time homebuyer grants? The IHDA program, available exclusively in Illinois, combines a mortgage loan with favorable terms and a grant that can be applied to your down payment. You receive a fixed interest rate on the loan and a grant for assistance.

With the IHDA program, you have a choice of a Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs, or conventional loan type. This allows you to customize your home buying approach based on your background and the location of the property to be purchased.

To be eligible for this Illinois grant, you must be a first-time homebuyer who can:

  • Meet minimum contribution amounts that may apply
  • Meet IHDA’s income and purchase price limits
  • Adhere to IHDA’s credit requirements
  • Agree to live in the new home as your primary residence
  • Attend homeownership counseling
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) reserves the right the change or modify this program at any time. For the most current and up-to-date program details, please visit IHDA’s website.

Downpayment Plus

By participating in Downpayment Plus, you receive a grant to help with your down payment, based on your matching contribution.  This matching program provides triple what the homebuyer contributes, up to a specific maximum amount.  A Blackhawk Bank Mortgage Planner will give you specific details about the allowable grant amounts.  

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLB Chicago) reserves the right the change or modify this program at any time. For the most current and up-to-date program details, please visit FHLB Chicago’s website.

Home Buyer Education

We also offer home buyer education.  MGIC's Home Buyer Education will help you enter the home-buying process with your eyes wide open. You'll find information on preparing to buy your home, as well as information about overlooked or misunderstood options to buy your home using private mortgage insurance. Other educational resources include:

To learn more about first time home buyer loans or other mortgage loans that are available, please contact one of our Mortgage Lenders. Our job is to make the available programs easy for you to understand so that you can pick the one that’s right for you.