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Homeownership Assistance Programs in DC Pt. 1: Resources to Help You Buy A Home

February 5, 2018

If you are interested in buying your own home in the District, there are multiple programs and resources available that can help make the purchase easier and more affordable. In the first part of our series on Washington, D.C. homeownership assistance programs, we outline the Home Purchase Assistance Program, a city-sponsored program that offers interest-free loans to help cover down payments as well as help with closing costs.

The Home Purchase Assistance Program

The Home Purchase Assistance Program offers interest-free loans to help qualified low- to moderate-income applicants come up with a down payment to buy a home in the district. The  Department of Housing and Community Development program can also assist applicants with closing costs for the purchase of a condo, house, or coop.

The maximum loan available through the program is $40,000, plus a maximum of $4,000 in additional funds for closing costs. The payments on the interest-free loans are deferred for a five-year period, and the loan is amortized over 40 years.

HPAP Eligibility

HPAP assistance primarily aims help bridge the gap between the funding available through the borrower’s mortgage loan from a private bank and the total purchase price of the home. Eligibility criteria for this program include:

  1. The applicant must be a first-time homebuyer and must be the head of the household.
  2. The applicant must qualify as a low-income or moderate-income resident, according to DHCD guidelines.
  3. The applicant cannot have held any interests in the ownership of residential real estate for three years prior to applying to the program.
  4. The purchased property must be in D.C. and must be the applicant’s primary residence.
  5. The applicant must have a good credit rating.

Applications to the program are prioritized based on multiple factors, including income level, applicant disability, and D.C. residency. First priority for the program goes to low-income applicants, the elderly, applicants with disabilities, and displaced residents of the District. Next in line for available funding are: other residents of D.C., non-residents who have held a job in the District for a year prior to applying, and non-residents who resided in the District for three years as an adult.

Applicants’ primary mortgage for the property cannot exceed $417,000. If selected, applicants must contribute $500 or 50 percent of liquid assets over $3,000, whichever is greater.

Additional information about the Home Purchase Assistance Program and how to apply is available from DHCD. For information on other programs to help would-be homeowners, please read Part 2 and Part 3 of the series.

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