Buying your first home can be an exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking experience.  Many first time homebuyers (FTHB's) are unsure what options are available for financing and what the down-payment requirements are.  For example many FTHB's think that you need 20% available for a down-payment which is not the case!  There are certain programs that may allow you to put as little as 3% down or even 0% down when using available down-payment assistance programs.  If you want to learn more about FTHB programs see below.   For more general information please visit our buyer resources page. 

Searching for the programs available in the area you want to buy can be time consuming and confusing....but don't fret!  Good news is we've compiled the most popular for you here.  The information below is just the basics.  We've provided links to the various program websites and if there is a program you'd like to learn more about, please contact us and we'll be happy to have a more detailed discussion regarding guidelines and what program(s) are best for you.


DC    MD    VA


DC Programs

**Beginning with deeds recorded on or after October 1, 2017, the recordation tax for "first-time District homebuyers" purchasing "eligible property" will be reduced!  Please click here to read more about the eligibility requirements and see if you qualify.

There are a few programs available in DC that you may qualify for.  They all have income restrictions and, depending on the program, may have loan amount and sales price restrictions.  

DC Open Doors is a program offered by the DC Housing Finance Agency(DCHFA that provides multiple financing options and down-payment assistance. 

  Highlights of the program include:

  • Conventional and FHA options
  • Down-payment as low as 3% of the purchase price
  • Down-payment assistance loans(DPAL) of up to 3.5% of purchase price with FHA financing and 3% conventional financing
  • No monthly payment required on the DPAL and the amount is forgiveable over 5 years(20% annually) unless you sell, refinance, or rent out the property within the first 5 years
  • Lower mortgage insurance premiums with the conventional option vs. traditional conventional financing
  • Current maximum borrower income of $132,360 annually

 Click here to visit the DC Open Doors website to learn more.

 First Home Mortgage is the #1 lending partner with DC Open Doors.  Contact me today to see if DC Open Doors is the right program for you!

Mortgage Credit Certification (MCC) provides qualified borrowers the ability to claim a Federal Tax Credit of 20% of the mortgage interest paid during each calendar year.  This program can be paired with DC Open Doors or traditional conventional, FHA and VA financing.  MCC requires you to be a first time homebuyer which they define as not having owned a home in the past 3 years.  There is an exception for residences purchased in targeted areas or Veteran's utilizing a one time exception.  To learn more please click here to visit the MCC page provided by the DCHFA.

Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) is a first time home buyer program that allows lower and moderate income individuals and families to purchase affordable housing in Washington DC.  HPAP considers a first time homebuyer to be someone who has not had any oBewnership interest in a property within the 3 years prior to application.  The financial assistance can be sizeable, currently up to $80,000!  It is a down-payment assistance program and can be used in conjunction with certain conventional, FHA and DC Open Doors financing. Below is a copy of the current income tables that are used to determine the maximum assistance you may be eligible for.  You can click here to visit the HPAP website to learn more.  

HPAP Income Table

DC Tax Abatement Program is a program designed by the City that can reduce your closing costs at settlement and exempt you from paying your property tax bill for the first 5 years you live in the home(beginning the next full tax year).  If you qualify, you will be exempt from paying the DC Recordation Tax at settlement and are allowed to receive a credit from the seller that's equal to the DC transfer tax as well. This could amount to a credit of up to 2.9% of the sales price!  As of January 1st 2016 the program requirements are as follows:

  • The purchase price for the property must be $456,000 or less
  • The property must be a principal residence
  • The purchaser must be a current DC resident.  You will be required to provide a DC driver's license, be registered to vote in DC and File DC Personal Income Taxes
  • Meet the income thresholds 

Maryland Programs

There are a number of programs in Maryland and we've listed the most prominent below.  There are many that are county specific and if you'd like more information on those please contact us!

Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) is a program offered by the Maryland Housing Finance Agency that provides rates that are often lower than market and down-payment assistance.  MMP considers a first time buyer to be someone that hasn't owned a home in the past 3 years(there are a couple of exceptions).  You are required to take a homebuyer education course but that can be done online and it's free.   Below is a quick link to the program eligibility page or you can click here to visit the MMP website to learn more.

MMP Eligibility

Home Opportunities Commission (HOC) is a program offered in Montgomery County that is similar to the MMP.  It has the same ownership requirement as the MMP( 3 years) and you must take a homebuyer education course that can be done online at no cost.  Below is a quick link to the program income and sales price limits and you can click here to visit the HOC website to learn more.

HOC Income and sales price limit

 Virginia Programs

VHDA is a program offered by the Virginia Housing Development Authority and offers a wide array of mortgage products.  The income and sales price limits are based on the geographic area the home is located in.  This program is limited to borrowers who have never owned a home or who have not owned in the past three years with the exception of Federal Targeted Areas.  Higher sales prices/loan and income limits are available for properties located in these designated areas.  Below is a link with the current income and sales price/loan limits.  You can click here to visit the VHDA website to learn more.

Income and sales price/loan limits