- The DC Department of Housing and Community Development has programs for first-time home buyers.
- In Washington, DC, you may also be eligible for financial aid if you are a government employee.
- Depending on the program you are applying for, you may be offered a loan and grant.
- Read Insider’s complete guide to buying your first home.
the Ministry of Housing and Community Development and DC Housing Finance Agency will be your two main resources for financial assistance and advice if you are a first-time home buyer in Washington, DC.
Read below for a brief overview of the two government agencies and their programs.
Ministry of Housing and Community Development
the Ministry of Housing and Community Development primarily operates programs for low to moderate income first time home buyers and government employees.
If you need help paying off an FHA mortgage or conventional home loan, see if you qualify for any of the agency’s following programs.
Employer-subsidized housing program
the Employer-subsidized housing program is intended for government employees who wish to purchase a home or condominium in Washington, DC.
The program offers several loan and grant options depending on your job.
For all government employees, the program offers a 0% interest rate loan of up to $ 20,000 and a matching grant of up to $ 5,000. With a matching fund grant, the program provides a certain amount and you have to match that amount. Government employees can use the funds to help pay the down payment and closing costs.
If you are a first responder, you can also receive a clawback grant of up to $ 10,000 and a matching fund grant of up to $ 15,000 that can be used towards your down payment. These grants require a five-year service obligation, which means you will need to keep your home for at least five years and meet the conditions listed in the agreement. Otherwise, your grant-subsidy will turn into a 0% interest rate loan.
To receive any of the grants or loans from the program, the following conditions must be met:
- You haven’t owned a home in the past three years
- You worked as a district government employee for at least one year and were in good standing
- Planning to buy a home that costs $ 970,800 or less
If you are a first responder or a teacher in a public school, you can waive the second requirement.
Home buying assistance program
the Home buying assistance program is in coordination with the DC Housing Finance Agency and provides financial assistance to low to moderate income first-time buyers. You can receive up to $ 80,000 of your mortgage as a loan. To help cover closing costs, you could also get an additional $ 4,000 in the form of a 0% interest rate loan.
How to determine if you are eligible for the Home Buyer’s Assistance Program
Below, you will see the maximum household income requirements for the Home Buyer’s Assistance Program as of July 1, 2021, according to the Ministry of Housing and Community Development. The maximum financial assistance available varies depending on household size and total family income.
Negotiated employee assistance program for the purchase of a home
If you are a government employee who is part of a union, you may also be accepted into the Negotiated employee assistance program for the purchase of a home. The following organizations are currently included in the program:
- District of Columbia Compensation Units 1 and 2
- U.S. Federal State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 2095
- American Federation of Government Employees, Local 383
- International Union of Service Employees 1199
- District of Columbia Nurses Association
With the negotiated Employee Home Buyers Assistance Program, you could get anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 26,5,000 in a repayable grant. The amount received will be determined by the number of years you have worked as a government employee. This grant also has a 10-year service obligation, so your loan is canceled in 10 years if you meet the obligations included in your loan.
How to apply for a Ministry of Housing and Community Development program
If you would like to apply for one or more programs, contact a non-profit community organization on the list. Note that you will need to attend an orientation, attend a training course for home buyers, and make an appointment to complete the application.
DC Housing Finance Agency
the DC Housing Finance Agency serves home buyers and homeowners in Washington, DC. Unlike the Department of Housing and Community Development, you don’t need to be a first-time buyer to be a part of most programs.
You might like one of the DC Housing Finance Agency’s programs if you’re a regular home buyer or need financial help to pay off your first mortgage.
DC Open House
Through the DC Open Doors Program, the DC housing finance agency is offering a 0% down payment assistance loan to potential buyers.
You don’t have to be a first-time buyer to be part of the DC Open Doors program. However, you will need to meet the following conditions:
- You have a minimum credit score of 640
- You have an income of less than $ 151,200 (this is your individual income, not household income)
- You have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less (if you are considering getting an FHA loan, you will need a DTI of less than 45%)
- Your loan amount is $ 510,400 or less
DC 4ME helps government workers buy their first homes with a government guaranteed loan. You can also receive 3% of your mortgage as a loan.
Only employees who work in government agencies on this list are accepted into the program. You will also need to meet the following criteria:
- You have a maximum family income that is less than 120% of the average median income, or $ 151,200
- You need a loan of less than $ 548,250
- You plan to buy a house with a selling price of less than $ 530,000
- You have a credit score of at least 640
- You have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 50%
- You are considering taking a training course for home buyers
How to Apply to a DC Housing Finance Agency Program
If you are interested in learning more about the DC Housing Finance Agency, there are several information sessions held online as a webinar.
To apply for the program and be considered for a loan, find a lender on the list here. Participating lenders will go through the home buying process and determine if you may be considered for an agency’s programs.