What is down payment assistance?
Believe it or not, grants to help you buy a house really exist.
Down payment assistance (DPA) helps homebuyers with grants or low-interest loans, reducing the amount they need to save for a down payment.
There are more than 2,000 of these programs nationwide. State, county, and city governments run many of them.
DPA programs vary by location, but many home buyers could be in line for thousands of dollars in down payment assistance if they qualify.
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>Related: How to buy a house with $0 down: First-time home buyer
How down payment assistance works
Down payment assistance (DPA) programs help home buyers with loans or grants that reduce the amount they need to save for a down payment.
Provided you qualify, you could receive an outright grant or a low- or no-interest loan to cover your down payment. Some DPA funds can be used for closing costs, too.
Most DPA programs are offered at the local level. And eligibility requirements vary from one program to the next.
Many DPAs require that you be a first-time home buyer (meaning you haven’t owned a home in three years) with a decent credit score and a low or moderate income. But not all programs have these same rules.
Also note that many DPA programs have a list of “participating lenders” they work with. So you may have to choose a lender that’s approved by your assistance program.
Types of down payment assistance programs
There are four main types of down payment assistance:
- Grants: Gifted money that never has to be repaid
- Loans: Second mortgages that are paid monthly along with your primary mortgage
- Deferred loans: Second mortgages with deferred payments that only have to be paid when you move, sell, or refinance
- Forgivable loans: Second mortgages that are forgiven over a set number of years (often five, but maybe up to 15 or 20). These only need to be repaid if you move, sell, or refinance too early
Some DPA loans are interest-free, some have lower rates than your first mortgage, and others require the same or a higher rate than that.
A quick count of the programs listed below suggests all four types of DPA are widespread. Grants are the most common, but not by much.
Who qualifies for down payment assistance?
Down payment assistance programs are typically meant for first-time home buyers.
However, a repeat home buyer often counts as a “first-time buyer” if they haven’t owned a home in the past three years.
Other requirements might include income caps, purchase price caps, and buying a home in a qualified area. Many programs also require homebuyer education courses.
Every down payment assistance program is a little different. The exact criteria to qualify will depend on where you live and what programs are available. That said, many of them have similar guidelines.
Typical requirements to qualify for down payment assistance:
- First-time home buyers only
- Buyers must have low- to moderate-income
- The home will be a primary residence
- The home is within local purchase price limits
- The DPA is used in conjunction with an approved mortgage program
- You work with an approved mortgage lender
Programs vary by ZIP code, but you’re likely to get more money and qualify more easily if you’re buying in a so-called “target area.” Your lender can help determine if your property is eligible.
How to find down payment assistance near you
Down payment assistance programs are usually very localized. There are a few national DPAs and many statewide ones, but the majority are run at a city or county level.
The best way to find down payment assistance programs for which you qualify is to speak with your loan officer or broker. They should know about local grants and loan programs that can help you out. They’ll also know which programs the lender can accept (not all lenders work with all DPAs).
If you want to do some research on your own, you can also Google “down payment assistance grants in [state, county, or city].” This will help you find current programs specific to your area that you might be able to apply for.
How big of a down payment grant can I get?
DPA programs are something of a ZIP code lottery.
Depending on where you want to buy, you could be in line for nothing. Or a few thousand dollars in the form of a second mortgage. Or many thousands in the form of a grant, which you never have to repay.
- In Seattle, you could get up to $55,000 as an interest-free loan that you don’t have to pay until you move, sell, transfer, or refinance your home. And that could be decades later
- In New York City, you could qualify for a forgivable loan or up to $100,000 which, if you stay in the home 10-15 years (depending on loan amount), does not have to be repaid
- In Iowa, you could get a grant of up to $2,500 toward your down payment and closing costs
Of course, some homeowners will qualify for more and some less. The only way to know how much help you’re in line for is to find local down payment assistance programs in your area and apply.
Are there closing cost grants, too?
Some homebuyer programs explicitly state that you can use their funds for closing costs as well as your down payment. Others may or may not have rules about that. Check your local down payment assistance programs to see if closing cost grants are included.
What mortgages can be used with down payment assistance?
Almost all DPA programs require you to borrow from an approved lender and use an approved mortgage program. You may have to sign up for a particular mortgage product.
However, DPA-approved mortgages often include the most popular loan programs, like:
- Conforming loans from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- FHA loans (backed by the Federal Housing Administration)
- VA loans (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs)
- USDA loans (backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
In other words, the mortgage products allowed by your DPA program may be very flexible.
Benefits of down payment assistance
It’s possible to qualify for a home loan with no money down or with a low down payment of 3% to 3.5%. But using an assistance program to increase your down payment amount has some distinct benefits:
- You can make a more competitive offer
- You’ll have a smaller loan amount
- You’ll have reduced mortgage payments
- You can buy a home sooner
In hot housing markets around the nation, home shoppers with little or no cash for down payments are struggling to compete with buyers who can make larger down payments.
Down payment assistance loans or grants can help make up some of the difference if you’re low on savings.
Along with helping you make a more attractive offer, a bigger down payment can save money over the life of your loan. More money down makes your opening mortgage balance smaller. Lower balances mean more equity and lower monthly mortgage payments.
Finally — and perhaps most importantly — DPA programs can help you buy a home sooner.
For example, if you decided to save up a $10,000 down payment by setting aside $200 a month, you’d need to wait more than four years. By then, real estate prices would likely be higher than they are today.
If you use DPA to buy sooner, you can get a foot on the homeownership ladder. You’ll start building home equity and stop paying rent. And this can have huge benefits for your overall financial health.
Down payment assistance programs by state
Depending on whose math you trust, there are between 2,000 and 2,500 DPA programs in the U.S. These are typically run by state and local governments as well as nonprofits at the community level.
We list some of the biggest programs in each state below.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also lists many homeownership assistance programs including DPA on its State Pages.
While we have made reasonable efforts to make sure the information above is correct at the time of posting, it is subject to change without notice. Please check relevant websites for more information.
Alabama Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Alabama Housing Finance Authority’s Step Up program offers to lend you your down payment in a 10-year second mortgage. That deal comes with conditions:
- Your household income can’t exceed $130,600
- You need a credit score of 640 or higher (680 or higher if you make more than 80% of your area’s median income)
- Your new first (main) mortgage must be a Housing Finance Authority Advantage conventional loan, FHA, VA, or USDA loan from the Step Up program
Alaska Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) can provide a grant toward your closing costs and down payment.
- You must have a score of 640 or above to be eligible
- You can get up to 4% of the purchase price of the home you’re buying. However, you may get only 3% if your credit score is particularly low
- You must be buying (not refinancing) a single-family home that you’re going to occupy yourself
- You must be financing that with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Arizona Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Arizona Department of Housing’s Home Plus program provides up to 5% of the initial balance on your new mortgage. The amount you might get will depend on the type of mortgage you choose.
- Funds can be applied to both down payment and closing costs
- You’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 to qualify for the program, and for some types of mortgage that needs to be 660
- To be eligible, your annual income must not exceed $112,785
Arkansas Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) has a couple of helpful programs.
ADFA’s home loan program, “ADFA Move-UP,” offers home buyers an “affordable” mortgage and can be used in conjunction with a conventional, FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage loan.
Those taking advantage of the Move-Up loan might also be able to access down payment assistance through the ADFA. The organization offers a few assistance programs:
- The Arkansas Dream Down Payment Initiative (ADDI): Up to 10% of the purchase price, not to exceed $10,000, as a forgivable second mortgage
- The ADFA down payment assistance program (DPA): Between $1,000 and $10,000 as a second mortgage paid off over 10 years
- ADFA mortgage credit certificate (MCC): A dollar-for-dollar tax credit worth up to $2,000 per year
Visit the web pages of the ADFA Move-Up Choice and AFDA Down Payment Assistance programs to discover more, including income limits for your county. And take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs for Arkansas.
California Down Payment Assistance Programs
The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) MyHome Assistance Program provides down payment help for eligible buyers. This takes the form of a second mortgage of 3-3.5% of the home’s purchase price or $11,000 — whichever is less.
- The program provides 3% (up to $11,000) for homes financed with conventional or USDA loans
- It provides 3.5% (up to $11,000) for homes financed with FHA loans
This is a first-time home buyer down payment assistance program. So it won’t help if you already own an existing home.
However, CalHFA defines a first-time home buyer as “someone who has not owned and occupied their own home in the last three years.” So many who’ve previously owned homes may qualify.
Check out the MyHome Assistance Program webpage for more information. You’ll find some income limits there. If you’re a teacher or fire department employee, certain program limits may not apply.
Also take a look at HUD’s list of alternative programs for California.
Colorado Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation’s (CHAC’s) Down Payment Assistance Program is intended for first-time buyers. To qualify, you’ll need to have a low or moderate income compared to others in the area in which you buy.
- You need to save up at least $1,000 of your own money (not a gift) toward your down payment to be eligible. If you’re part of the state’s disability program, that $1,000 is reduced to $750
- This down payment assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage loan that must be repaid via monthly payments. Borrowers must also take a homebuyer education course
Connecticut Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) offers up to $20,000 in down payment assistance (DPA) in the form of a second mortgage at 1% interest. However, some borrowers may be entitled to lower DPA rates.
- You have to pay a $200 application fee. And the minimum DPA loan amount is $3,000. You can normally borrow between 3% and 3.5% of the purchase price of the home
- But, if you have significant savings, you must put those toward your down payment until you’re down to your last $10,000
To apply for this program, you’ll first need to be approved for a mortgage by a participating lender.
Delaware Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) has several ways to help make home buying easier, including a down payment assistance program.
- DSHA Preferred Plus Program offers a second mortgage loan of up to 5% of your home’s purchase price. You can put the money toward your down payment or closing costs. You’d need to repay the money when you sell the home, refinance, or stop using it as your primary residence
- A Preferred Plus loan can be used along with the DSHA First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, which could reduce your federal taxes owed by up to $2,000 a year
You’d have to use a participating lender and meet maximum income limits which vary by county.
Washington, D.C. Down Payment Assistance Programs
The District of Columbia’s Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) helps low- or moderate-income borrowers.
- Qualified low-income applicants: Get an interest-free loan of up to $4,000. There are no monthly payments. The loan falls due when the home is resold or refinanced and must typically be repaid only then. Borrowers who make less than 80% of their area’s median income may qualify
- Qualified moderate-income borrowers: Can also get $4,000 as an interest-free loan. However, they have to start repaying that after five years. Borrowers who make 80% to 110% of their area’s median income may qualify
Florida Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) has four DPA programs:
- HFA Preferred Grant: Those who are eligible may get 3-5% of the home’s purchase price in the form of a non-repayable grant
- HFA Advantage PLUS: This is a second mortgage program that is forgiven at 20% a year throughout its 5-year loan term
- Florida Assist: You may be able to get up to $7,500 as an interest-free second mortgage. You don’t have to make payments on this loan. Repayment is deferred until the property is sold or refinanced
- Florida Homeownership Loan Program: This program lends up to $10,000 repayable in monthly payments over 15 years. The loan’s balance will come due in full if you sell, refinance, or stop using the home as a primary residence
Georgia Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Georgia Dream Homeownership Program (GDHP) helps provide affordable financing for low- and moderate-income first-time home buyers.
The program includes down payment assistance loans of $7,500 for most buyers, or $10,000 for teachers, health care providers, active duty service members, and public employees.
Hawaii Down Payment Assistance Programs
There isn’t an official statewide down payment assistance program for Hawaii. But help is still available for Hawaii first-time home buyers.
The Hawaii Home Ownership Center is a non-profit mortgage brokerage offering both down payment assistance and a 15-year deferred closing cost loan.
- DPAL: This program features a low 3% down payment requirement with no mortgage insurance and no prepayment penalty
- Deferred Closing Cost Loan: Buyers may qualify for this 15-year term deferred loan with no interest and no monthly payments. The funds can be applied to both down payment and closing costs. Eligible borrowers must have low to moderate income (120% AMI or below), attend a first-time home buyer education course, and use the property as their primary residence
Take a look at HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Hawaii.
Idaho Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) runs two DPA programs:
- Second Mortgage Loan: With a credit score of at least 620, you could qualify for this 10-year loan that must be repaid via monthly payments. Funds can be used for the down payment and closing costs
- Forgivable Loan: This loan’s balance slowly goes away over a seven-year period as long as you live in the home and don’t refinance. This loan could equal as much as 5% of your home’s price, and there is no first-time home buyer requirement
Both these loans require borrowers to complete a home buyer education course, and the borrower must always provide at least 0.5% of the home price using their own money. This means you couldn’t use money from a gift or a separate DPA program. (For a $200,000 home, 0.5% equals $1,000.)
Illinois Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has three down payment assistance loan options:
- Access Forgivable offers up to $6,000: Unless you sell or refinance your home within the first 10 years, this DPA assistance loan’s balance would be forgiven. You could get 4% of the home’s purchase price up to $6,000
- Access Deferred offers up to $7,500: This 0% loan would need to be repaid when you sell or refinance the home. You could borrow 5% of the home’s price up to $7,500
- Access Repayable offers up to $10,000: You’d make monthly payments on this DPA loan for 10 years. You could borrow 10% of the home’s purchase price up to $10,000
To get any of these loans, you’ll have to put up $1,000 or 1% of the purchase price (whichever is greater) yourself. And you must be buying an existing home; new builds are excluded.
Indiana Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) has two programs that offer down payment assistance.
- First Place Program: First-time home buyers and veterans can get up to 6% of their home’s purchase price as a forgivable loan
- Next Home Program: First-time home buyers can get up to 3.5% of the home’s purchase price as a forgivable loan. This program can also be combined with IHCDA’s Mortgage Credit Certificate
You’d need a credit score of at least 640 to qualify. If your debt-to-income ratio is above 45% but below 50%, you can qualify with a credit score of 680. Both of these programs work only with 30-year FHA loans.
The authority also offers a tax credit that can help first-time home buyers and veterans qualify for a better mortgage loan.
Iowa Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Iowa Finance Authority offers grants and loans as down payment or closing cost assistance.
- FirstHome Loan: The loan could provide 5% of the home’s purchase price, up to $5,000, with no monthly payments. The loan would come due when you sell or refinance the home
- FirstHome Grant: The grant could pay $2,500 toward closing costs or a down payment
First-time home buyers and veterans may qualify for either type of assistance. Others can also qualify if they’re home buying in a low-income census tract. And the Iowa Finance Authority runs a similar program for repeat home buyers.
All programs have income limits and price caps on eligible homes. You’d also need a credit score of 640 to qualify.
Kansas Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) has a first-time home buyer down payment assistance program. However, purchases within the city limits of Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence, and Kansas City, and in Johnson County, are not eligible for help.
- If you qualify, you could get a loan of 15-20% of your home’s purchase price, depending on your income. And that loan should be progressively forgiven over time, meaning it could end up costing you nothing
- You must make a minimum investment of 2% of the purchase price. For a $200,000 home, 2% equals $4,000
Kentucky Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Kentucky Housing Corporation offers two down payment assistance programs:
- Regular DPA: Borrow up to $7,500 repaid over 10 years with an interest rate of 3.75%
- Affordable DPA: Borrow up to $7,500. The loan is repayable over 10 years with interest of 1%. But you must be within certain income limits to qualify. Income limits vary by county and household size
For either program, your home’s purchase price can’t exceed $346,644. Check the KHC’s website for more details, including income limits for the Affordable DPA program.
Meanwhile, consult HUD’s list of alternative homeownership assistance programs in Kentucky.
Louisiana Down Payment Assistance Programs
Louisiana has one of the most generous down payment assistance programs.
- Resilience Soft Second Program: Qualified borrowers could get 20% of a home’s purchase price — up to $55,000 — as a silent second mortgage. This loan would be completely forgiven after 10 years if you stay in the home that long, and you could also add $5,000 to the loan for closing costs
This program is operated by the Louisiana Housing Corporation, and you’d need to meet income limits. You can’t earn more than 80% of your area’s median income.
And, only first-time homebuyers can participate. Louisiana includes single parents who owned a home while married as first-time buyers.
Only homes in the following parishes qualify: Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, De Soto, East Carroll, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. James, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.
Maine Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Maine State Housing Authority’s (MSNA’s) First Home Loan Program is aimed at first-time buyers and those who’ve not owned a home within the last three years.
- Advantage down payment and closing cost assistance: You get up to $3,500 toward your down payment and closing costs as a non-repayable grant. But that will be recouped by your lender through a slightly higher mortgage rate
Eligibility criteria include an unspecified minimum credit score and caps on your household income and home purchase price. You’ll also need to put 1% of your own cash toward your home purchase. (The cost of your required home buyer education course goes toward this 1%).
Maryland Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (MDHCD) Down Payment Assistance and Partner Match Programs provide three forms of assistance:
- Flex offers no-interest loans: These typically become payable only when you sell the home or refinance. So there are no monthly payments
- 1st Time Advantage features forgivable loans: These are typically forgiven a bit at a time over several years. So you usually pay nothing unless you move or refinance before the time it takes to fully forgive the loan expires
- Partner Match cash grants: When you use one of the MDHCD loan products to purchase a home, you can receive a down payment assistance grant of up to $2,500. These never have to be repaid and are provided only by MDHCD’s partners
Massachusetts Down Payment Assistance Programs
MassHousing, an independent housing agency in Massachusetts, can offer up to $25,000 in down payment or closing cost assistance money in Boston or the state’s mid-sized Gateway cities. All other locations cap benefits at $15,000.
To find out whether you’d be eligible for this program, you’d need to speak with a loan officer. MassHousing doesn’t publish program details on its website.
For a list of other local programs in Massachusetts, visit HUD’s website.
Michigan Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has two programs that each offer up to $7,500 in down payment assistance. To be eligible, home buyers must get their mortgage loan through MSHDA.
The programs are:
- MI Home Loan: For first-time buyers and those purchasing in target areas whose income and home purchase price are within limits. You’ll need a minimum credit score of 640 or 660, depending on your choice of mortgage. Homebuyers in many ZIP codes can get up to $10,000
- MI Home Flex: Open to all who fall within income and home purchase price limits. You’ll need a minimum credit score of 660
According to HUD, help comes in the form of an interest-free loan that typically only falls due when you refinance, finish paying down your mortgage, or sell the home. So there are no monthly payments.
Michigan also offers a federal tax credit for home buyers.
To qualify for any of these programs, you’d have to take a home buyer education course.
Minnesota Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) provides two types of down payment assistance loans to eligible borrowers:
- Monthly Payment Loan: Borrow up to $17,000 at the same rate you pay on your first mortgage. Pay that down each month over 10 years
- Deferred Payment Loan: First-time buyers can borrow up to $11,000 free of interest. You make no payments, but the balance will come due when you finish paying off the mortgage, refinance, or sell the home
Mississippi Down Payment Assistance Programs
Mississippi home buyers can use the Smart Solution program for down payment assistance.
- This program lets you borrow up to 4.5% of your home’s price to use on a down payment. This 10-year second mortgage, which has the same interest rate as your first mortgage, requires monthly payments
- You’ll need a credit score of at least 640 to qualify, and your household income cannot exceed $95,000 a year
Missouri Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) provides down payment assistance for both first-time and repeat buyers. This comes in the form of a second mortgage loan of up to 4% of the home’s purchase price.
- This loan will be forgiven after 10 years, provided you don’t move, sell, refinance, or pay off your first mortgage during that time
- To qualify, your income must be below certain limits, which vary by location. You also can’t buy a single-family home with a purchase price over $391,308 (duplexes $488,215)
Get more information from the MHDC’s website. And check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Missouri, including one operated by the Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation.
Montana Down Payment Assistance Programs
NeighborWorks Montana offers three down payment assistance programs:
- 20+ Community Second: This second mortgage loan would require a monthly payment, and the interest rate would be 2 percentage points higher than your first mortgage loan. You’d have to borrow at least $10,000, and you can use this program if you make up to 125% of your area’s median income (or 115% AMI for FHA fist mortgages)
- State Home Deferred: First-time homebuyers who earn less than 80% of their area’s median income can borrow up to $50,000 with no payments required. (Up to $65,000 in cases of disability, manufactured home purchase, or homes in designated high-cost areas.)The balance would come due if you sold the home, refinanced, or paid off your primary mortgage loan
- Statewide Low Mod: Low- and moderate-income borrowers (up to 125% of area median income) can get up to $20,000 which must be repaid through monthly payments
NeighborWorks also offers closing cost assistance if you’re getting a USDA Direct Loan which does not require a down payment.
Nebraska Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) offers several options for down payment assistance.
- Homebuyer Assistance Program: When you use $1,000 of your own money, you can get a second mortgage up to $10,000 for 10 years at 1%
- First Home Grant Program: Home buyers who meet their county’s median income limits can get up to $5,000 that never has to be repaid. This program has limited funds each year
Nevada Down Payment Assistance Programs
The State of Nevada’s Home Is Possible Down Payment Assistance Program can provide a grant (not repayable) of up to 5% of your loan amount. And there are no asset limits or first-time purchaser rules.
To be eligible for Nevada’s DPA program:
- Your qualifying income must be below $105,000 as a single borrower or $135,000 for two or more borrowers
- Your credit score must be 640 or above
- The purchase price of the home must be under $647,200
- You have to pay a one-time fee of $755
- Teachers and military service members can qualify for better interest rates
For more details, visit the Home is Possible Down Payment Assistance Program’s webpage. And check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in Nevada.
New Hampshire Down Payment Assistance Programs
The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority’s Home Flex Plus program can provide up to 4% of the loan amount in cash to assist with your down payment and closing costs. And it’s a grant, so you don’t have to repay a cent.
The main hurdle for you to clear is that your income can’t exceed $137,400.
New Jersey Down Payment Assistance Programs
First-time buyers in New Jersey can get up to $10,000 in down payment assistance through a five-year, forgivable loan with no interest or monthly payments required.
The loan must be paired with a first mortgage from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency which can be a 30-year FHA, USDA, or VA loan.
New Mexico Down Payment Assistance Programs
The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority’s FIRSTDown DPA program offers help with closing costs and down payments to first-time buyers. It provides up to $8,000 as a 30-year second mortgage at a relatively low interest rate.
- This program must be used in conjunction with New Mexico’s FIRSTHome mortgage financing program
- There are caps on household incomes and home purchase prices. But those may be higher if you’re buying in a target area
New York Down Payment Assistance Programs
The State of New York Mortgage Association (SONYMA) offers down payment assistance loans when you use the association’s mortgage program to finance your home purchase.
- DPAL: You could borrow 3% of your home’s purchase price up to $15,000, with a minimum loan amount of $1,000. This loan would be completely forgiven if you stay in the home loan for 10 years, and there’s no interest
- Graduate to Homeownership: SONYMA also offers loans of up to $15,000 for first-time buyers who are recent college graduates and who are purchasing in certain communities in upstate New York
North Carolina Down Payment Assistance Programs
First-time and repeat home buyers may be eligible for a down payment loan of up to 5% of your mortgage balance with the NC Home Advantage Mortgage.
- This assistance loan starts to be forgiven in year 11 of your mortgage and will be fully forgiven by year 15. If you sell, transfer or refinance before year 11, you’ll have to pay back the whole amount
- NC Home Advantage also has a similar program offering $8,000 in down payment assistance to veterans and first-time homebuyers
Use the link above to get more information from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s website. And review HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.
North Dakota Down Payment Assistance Programs
The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) has two programs (Start and DCA) that are intended to help with down payments and closing costs.
To qualify, you’ll have to have a household income below certain caps. And the value of the home you’re buying may also be limited.
Ohio Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has a down payment assistance program through its MyOhioHome.org resource. It provides either 2.5% or 5% of the home’s purchase price.
- This DPA comes in the form of a loan, which is forgiven after seven years. Sell, transfer, or refinance before then, and you’ll have to repay the loan
- You’ll need a credit score of 640 or better with a conventional, USDA, or VA loan. Buyers with FHA loans will need a FICO of 650 or more
- Limits apply to incomes and purchase prices
Oklahoma Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency offers its OHFA Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance program. This provides down payment assistance loans to eligible borrowers using a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Those secondary loans are 3.5% of the primary mortgage amount.
- To qualify, you’ll likely need a credit score of 640 or better
- And your household income will be capped according to family size and the county of purchase
Oregon Down Payment Assistance Programs
Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) offers down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. They’re intended for “low-and very low-income families and individuals, with particular focus on underserved populations.” Up to $15,000 may be available.
The state agency sends money to various local agencies which provide direct assistance to home buyers.
There’s a list of those agencies on the OHCS website, together with the county or counties each serves. Links are provided there to every agency. Also check out HUD’s list of other homeownership assistance programs in the state.
Pennsylvania Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s HOMEstead program can provide up to $10,000 in down payment assistance to qualified borrowers.
- To be eligible, your household income and the purchase price of the home you’re buying must be below certain limits (PDF
- Although the money is a zero-interest loan, it is forgiven at a rate of 20% each year over five years. At the end of that time, you should typically be free and clear — provided you haven’t moved, transferred ownership, or refinanced in the meantime
Puerto Rico Down Payment Assistance Programs
Puerto Rico provides grants of up to 5% of the purchase price on new homes and those refurbished by private developers. That purchase price must be in the range of $94,000 to $143,000. Learn more at PRHFA Programs.
It’s not clear whether the U.S. Virgin Islands has a down payment assistance program as such. But its William’s Delight Home Ownership Program is intended to “empower our residents to achieve their housing dreams.” For more information, call 340-772-1505.
Rhode Island Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Rhode Island Housing department offers a down payment assistance program for first-time buyers who use the program’s financing to buy a home.
- If you’re eligible, you could get 6% of your loan size — up to $15,000 — in down payment assistance. That’s a forgivable loan, meaning you should owe nothing after five years, provided you stay in your home that long and don’t sell the property or refinance the mortgage during that time
- You can’t borrow more than $492,201 for a one- to four-family home or eligible condominium. And your household income must be below $99,730 if you’re in a 1-2 person household. If your household comprises three or more people, the income cap is $114,689
South Carolina Down Payment Assistance Programs
Besides being a mouthful, the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Loan Program is intended to help low-to-moderate income families and individuals who are purchasing a home for the first time.
- Depending on your income, it may provide you with the funds you need to pay all or part of your required down payment in the form of a forgivable second mortgage loan
- The lowest-income borrowers can get loan forgiveness after living in the home for 10 years; others must stay 20 years for full loan forgiveness
South Dakota Down Payment Assistance Programs
The South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) offers down payment assistance to first-time and repeat buyers alike.
- If you’re eligible, you could receive a “gift” (grant) from the state of up to 5% of your opening mortgage balance. You’ll end up paying a slightly higher mortgage rate. But there are few obvious strings besides that
- Funds can be used for the down payment and closing costs
- There are caps on household incomes and home purchase prices, which your lender will explain to you
Tennessee Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s Great Choice Home Loan offers up to $6,000 or 6% in down payment assistance in the form of a second mortgage loan.
- Deferred option: Receive $6,000 as a forgivable second mortgage. This loan has zero interest and payments are deferred until the end of the 30-year loan term when the loan is forgiven. Repayment will be due in full if the home is sold or refinanced
- Payment option: Receive 6% of the home’s sale price as a second mortgage that must be repaid over 15 years at the same mortgage rate as your primary home loan
You can use the funds from both loans towards closing costs and down payment. All borrowers must first register for the state’s homebuyer education course.
Texas Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Texas Homebuyer Program can help with all steps of the home buying process, including coming up with the cash for a down payment via a silent second mortgage.
This down payment loan does not require monthly payments, but it’s also not forgivable. When you sell, refinance, or pay off your home, you’ll need to repay the money.
You could borrow up to 5% of your opening mortgage balance to help with your down payment or closing costs.
Utah Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Utah Housing Corporation (UHC) offers down payment assistance loans for repeat buyers as well as those purchasing for the first time. This PDF from UHC’s website lays out the details.
- You could get 4% or 6% of your primary loan amount depending on which down payment assistance loan you qualify for
- The loan is a 30-year second mortgage charging a fixed interest rate that’s 2 percentage points higher than your primary mortgage rate. To qualify, you’d first have to get approved for an FHA or VA loan through UHC
Vermont Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) ASSIST Second Mortgage is open only to first-time buyers. It can provide up to $15,000 toward your down payment and closing costs.
- ASSIST: This comes in the form of an interest-free, 30-year second mortgage. But you don’t have to make any monthly payments. The loan typically falls due only when your first mortgage ends; either when you pay it off, refinance, or sell your home
Virginia Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Virginia Housing Development Authority has a program just for first-time buyers. It offers a grant of up to 2.5% of the home’s purchase price.
- Down Payment Assistance Grant: To qualify, you’ll need a minimum credit score between 620 and 660, depending on the type of mortgage you choose. And your household income and the purchase price of your home must be below specified limits
- Closing Cost Assistance Grant: Receive up to 2% of the home’s purchase price, provided you are either a first-time home buyer or a repeat buyer in an area of economic development. Funds can be applied to closing costs, discount points, and other prepaid items
Washington Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) has nine different down payment assistance programs. Help ranges from $10,000 or 4% of your mortgage balance, right to up to $55,000 for eligible buyers in Seattle.
All these come in the form of a second mortgage. But you don’t have to repay that right away. It becomes due only “upon sale, transfer, non-occupancy or refinance” of the property.
West Virginia Down Payment Assistance Programs
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund offers help with down payments and closing costs.
- The amount you can get ranges from up to $5,000 to up to $10,000, depending on the mortgage you choose and the size of the down payment you’re going to make
- This assistance comes in the form of a 15-year second mortgage. At the time of writing, that loan has a very low interest rate of 2%
Wisconsin Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has a program called Capital Access that provides up to $3,050 toward your down payment and closing costs.
This comes in the form of an interest-free second mortgage that falls due only when you’ve finished paying your first mortgage, refinance, or move to a new home. So there are no monthly payments.
Learn more at the WHEDA website. You should also check out the Easy Close down payment assistance program which can provide up to 6% of your primary loan amount as a 10-year fixed-rate loan that requires repayment.
And you can check out HUD’s list of other programs in Wisconsin.
Wyoming Down Payment Assistance Programs
The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) has two down payment assistance (DPA) programs. Both provide a loan of up to $10,000.
You’ll need a FICO score of 620 or better, and must contribute at least $1,500 toward your purchase, though that may be a gift.
The programs are:
- Home$tretch DPA: 0% interest rate (0.080% APR) with no monthly payments, due only “upon sale of the home, refinance or 30-year maturity”
- Amortizing DPA: Paid down in full with low monthly payments over 10 years
Both programs work only in conjunction with specific primary mortgage loans from the WCDA.
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