Buying a House

Buying a house provides a sense of stability and ownership in your community. Home ownership is a sometimes daunting monetary commitment but it is actually cheaper than renting over time. There are huge financial incentives to encourage home ownership and not all of them are related to the appreciation in the value of the home.

The largest federal incentive to encourage American to buy homes instead of renting is the mortgage deduction. Homeowners get to deduct any interest that they pay on their home from their federal income taxes every year. For the average $125,000 home in College Hill, the owner will pay $1,300 less in federal income tax in the first year that they own the home and $23,750 less over the life of a 30 year mortgage at today's interest rates. Even if a home does not appreciate significantly in value, this tax deduction can make homeownership much less expensive than renting.

The best place to start to understand your preparedness for home ownership is with Home First, a local non-profit home buyer education and mentorship service. Home First can help you understand how home purchase works, educate you about all the available incentives and even help you plan a road map towards home ownership if you need help establishing or repairing your credit. This service is free and more information is available online.

housing in the college hill district

College Hill is a hip place to live, attracting people from all walks and stages of life to enjoy active, walkable, bikeable neighborhoods with beautiful historic homes and locally owned neighborhood businesses. And even more attractive, there are several incentive programs available to houses in the College Hill District.

Remember to speak with your financial professional to find out how these incentives can benefit you. Everyone's tax situation is unique and professional tax advice can help you understand how you can benefit.

financial incentives

Even if this "cool-factor" isn't enough to entice you, there are other huge incentives, beginning with down payment assistance. Many renters hesitate to buy housing because of the costs of purchasing including closing costs (usually $3,000-$5,000 piad to your mortgage broker and closing attorney) and 3.5% of the price of the home is a down payment ($4,375 for a $125,000 home). Most or all of these costs can be covered by various incentive programs for College Hill.

Mercer University Down Payment Assistance

Mercer University offers up to $20,000 for any of its full-time employees to purchase a house in College Hill. This program is very simple to use and has few restrictions. All Historic Macon homes in Beall's Hill are eligible for Mercer's down payment assistance program. For more information about our properties and Mercer DPA, contact Lauren Mauldin at

City of Macon Down Payment Assistance

Non-Mercer employees may also receive assistance from other sources to cover down payments and closing costs. The City of Macon offers a down payment assistance program through the Economic and Community Development Department. Eligible recipients must earn less than 80% of area's median income as determined by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (currently around $28,000 for an individual). This program provides up to $25,000 in down payment assistance to home purchasers in College Hill and is also very easy to use. Contact the Economic & Community Development Department at 478-751-7190.

georgia dream

Almost all first-time home buyers will also qualify for assistance form the Georgia Department of Community Affairs' Georgia Dream program. These programs can be used in addition to the programs above or independently. Home buyers of one or two person households earning less than $61,000 and with average to good credit can receive a $5,000 down payment quite easily. Professionals in the education, healthcare or public protection (police, fire fighting, etc.) can receive $7,5000 fairly easily. Recipients of these incentives usually do not have to contribute more than $500 to $1,000 in total to cover closing costs and down payment. Other more specialized needs such as disabled buyers and lower income earners may be eligible for other programs through the Department of Community Affairs. More information is available here.

Special Incentives for Historic Homes

Historic homes purchased form Historic Macon's neighborhood revitalization programs come with even more incentives. On top of all of these other incentives, historic homes come with two major savings. The first is a property tax freeze. Property taxes in Macon are currently around $2,000 per year for a $125,000 home. Historic homes from historic Macon usually have property taxes frozen at a yearly rate between $200 and $1,000 for 8.5 years, saving hundreds of dollars every month. The second incentive is a state income tax credit equal to 30% of the amount of money that Historic Macon expended on the rehabilitation of the home. These state tax credits are so large that most buyers do not pay state income tax for 10 years, meaning that the household sees a 6% increase in income for everyone in the household, usually with a value of hundreds of dollars every month. Explore Historic Macon's available properties.