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How to get down payment assistance

Free money can make homeownership a reality

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Written by Kathryn Parkman
Edited by Justin Martino
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Buying a home is expensive. The down payment plus closing costs can total thousands of dollars. While this may seem daunting at first, you can receive down payment assistance (DPA) through low-interest loans and grants.

Often, first-time homebuyers don’t know what programs they're eligible for. We explain how down payment assistance programs work and what you need to qualify.

Find your state below for information on available programs. Not all are restricted to first-time homebuyers. Some programs incentivize homeownership in targeted areas, even if you’ve bought a house before.

What is down payment assistance?

Down payment assistance is financial funding that helps cover the upfront costs of buying a house. You can put the money toward your down payment (and sometimes closing costs, but not always).

There are different types of DPA programs; homebuyer grants and silent second mortgages are the most common. With a silent second mortgage, repayment isn't due until after the first mortgage (so, most people end up repaying it when they sell or refinance their house).

A homebuyer grant isn’t a loan at all. There’s no interest rate associated with the funds since you never have to pay it back, and no lien is attached to your property. You can also find matched savings programs through banks, government agencies or community organizations that offer DPA.

Silent second mortgageHomebuyer grant
A type of a loanGovernment funding
Low or 0% interest ratesNo lien against the property
Can be deferred or forgivableNo repayment required

How down payment assistance works

DPA-approved mortgages include popular loan programs for first-time buyers, including FHA and conventional mortgages. There’s no reason not to take advantage of a down payment assistance (DPA) program, especially if it means you finally get your slice of the American dream. But before you do, you should understand how these programs work.

  • Who can apply: Most DPA programs are designed for first-time homebuyers. However, some state programs accept applicants who haven’t owned a home within a certain time, often three to five years. The house usually has to be your primary residence.

    To qualify, you may have to meet specific credit score requirements (typically around 620) and debt-to-income requirements (often less than 50%). Annual income limits can also apply (varies by location). Grant requirements almost always include completing a HUD-approved education program. You may also need your Social Security card.

  • What you can get: How much you can get through DPA varies greatly by ZIP code, but many offer up to 5% of the home’s sale price. In general, you can get more in areas with higher house prices (like Seattle or San Francisco). How long it takes to get funds also varies by location. Compare available programs by state and federal options below.
  • Paying it back: When DPA is awarded in the form of a grant, you don’t have to repay it at all. Other times, you can find DPA loans with 0% (or low) interest rates. These loans are typically deferred, “silent second” mortgages, meaning that you don’t have to pay the money back until after you pay off the first mortgage loan.

    Depending on the program, down payment assistance loans might be forgivable after you live in the house for a specified period (typically five to 10 years).

All states have some kind of housing or finance agency. If you get DPA through your state’s housing finance agency, you must work with a lender approved by that agency. Most lenders offer some kind of DPA, but not all lenders have all types of programs available.

In addition to regional programs, cities and counties can offer DPA. You can also find programs through nonprofits and financing organizations. Most require you to complete a homebuyer education course to be eligible.

Find down payment assistance programs by state

It’s important to know that DPA programs come and go with available funding. For the most up-to-date program requirements, it’s best to contact your local housing authority directly.

New England

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) offers down payment program (DAP) loans from $3,000 to $20,000. According to the Housing Development Fund, you can also access local programs, depending on where you live. These include:
Several first home loan programs are available through the Maine State Housing Authority, including options for low or no down payment, Advantage DPA and closing cost assistance, Multi-Unit Advantage and financing for mobile homes.

General eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be a first-time homebuyer or veteran
  • Minimum 640 credit score
  • Household income limit requirements
  • Must be for a new or existing single-family home, owner-occupied apartment building, condo or permanently attached mobile home
You can find down payment assistance through the state-run ONE Mortgage Program and MassHousing. Regional programs are also available through:
The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority offers funds for down payments and closing costs through Home Flex Plus and Home Preferred Plus mortgages. You can get up to 4% of the loan amount in cash.

Cash assistance comes via a second mortgage that is forgiven after four years unless you trigger a repayment event (such as selling or refinancing). To be eligible, you must demonstrate creditworthiness and finish a homebuyer education class.

Additionally, the City of Portsmouth’s HomeTown program offers financial assistance to people who want to buy their first home there. To qualify, borrowers must meet income and eligibility requirements (based on household size).

Rhode Island Housing offers several programs that provide down payment and closing cost assistance. You can also check out the Housing Network of Rhode Island (HNRI) for DPA, other housing opportunities initiatives and HUD-approved homebuyer education courses.

The City of Cranston also offers programs for first-time buyers and closing cost assistance programs, as do the City of Providence, City of Woonsocket and Barrington.

In partnership with the City of Central Falls, Pawtucket Central Falls Development assists eligible first-time homebuyers in Central Falls.

Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) offers low-interest loans through participating lenders for low- and moderate-income buyers. Also known as the ASSIST program, the VHFA's DPA program has helped more than a thousand first-time homebuyers since it began in 2015.

A Manufactured Housing Down Payment Loan Program helps if you’re buying a mobile home or replacing one with an Energy Star-rated upgrade.

In Burlington, down payment awards up to $10,000 are available with no interest and deferred payments.

Mid-Atlantic

The New York State Homeowners Assistance Fund has a down payment assistance loan (DAPL) program that is available in combination with any State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) loan. There’s no interest or monthly payments, and the loan can be forgiven after 10 years.

The HomeFirst Down Payment Assistance Program gives qualified buyers up to $100,000 toward their down payment or closing costs for a one- to four-family home within New York City.

Additional DPA options in New York State include:

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) provides $10,000 for qualified homebuyers to put toward their down payment and closing costs. Funds are provided through an interest-free second mortgage that’s forgivable after five years and requires no monthly payment.

To be eligible:

Down payment assistance is also available through the City of Trenton, the City of Jersey City and the Atlantic County Improvement Authority.

  • You must be a first-time homebuyer or have not owned a home in the last three years.
  • You must meet certain maximum household income and purchase price limits.
  • The house must be used as a primary residence.
  • The DPA must be combined with an NJHMFA first mortgage.
The Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency has assistance loans available for home purchase, including DPA programs.

You can also find the Home Buyer Assistance GAP Financing Program through the City of Williamsport and closing cost assistance through Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks. Additional programs include:

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) offers down payment and closing cost assistance, plus the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. The loans work through conventional, VA, FHA and USDA mortgages.

Through DSHA’s Preferred Plus program, applicants can qualify for a no-interest second mortgage loan between 2% and 5% of the overall loan amount. You only have to pay it back when you sell, refinance or transfer the home, or if it's no longer your primary residence.

DPA and settlement assistance programs are also available in New Castle County and for city employees in Wilmington.

The state-run Maryland Mortgage Program helps make homeownership more affordable. MMP programs include:
  • Flex loans: Thirty-year, fixed-rate loans combined with additional funds for down payment and closing costs. They are available in the form of a deferred loan or grant.
  • Partner match: Funds are provided through a no-interest, deferred loan. Partner match is only available with Maryland Mortgage Premier loan products.
  • Montgomery Homeownership Program VI: This program is available to eligible borrowers in Montgomery County.
  • HomeAbility: HomeAbility is designed to assist homebuyers who have disabilities.
  • Maryland SmartBuy: This program is available for eligible homebuyers with student debt.

In Baltimore, you can also take advantage of Live Baltimore loans and grants. Special programs are available for city employees, veterans and first-time buyers. There are also special programs available if you plan to purchase a previously vacant building.

South

Alabama Housing Finance Authority’s Step Up homeownership program is designed to help moderate-income buyers purchase a new or existing home. According to the AHFA, “down payment funds are secured by a 10-year second mortgage and combined with a 30-year fixed-rate first mortgage.”

For FHA and conventional loans, you can get up to $7,500. Loans are serviced through a division of AHFA, so you only have to make one payment each month.

To qualify for Step Up, you must:

  • Complete a homebuyer education course
  • Earn $130,600 or less (FHA Step Up program)
  • Earn 80% or less of the area median income (AMI) for property location or $130,600, whichever is less (Conventional Step Up or HFA Advantage)
  • Earn more than 80% of the AMI for property location but less than $130,600 (Freddie Mac Advantage loan product)
  • Meet minimum credit requirements (640 to 680)
  • Have a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) less than 45%
  • Work with an approved lender
Through the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA), you can find a down payment assistance (DPA) program and the Arkansas Dream Down Payment Initiative (ADDI)
  • DPA: The program offers between $1,000 and $10,000 for closing cost assistance. It’s available to qualifying applicants with an ADFA Move-Up first mortgage. The loan is a second mortgage that matches the first mortgage (10-year term).
  • ADDI: With ADDI, qualifying low-income Arkansans can get up to 10% of the home’s purchase price (up to $10,000). There’s no monthly payment, and it’s forgivable over five years. Assistance is provided through HOME funding by HUD.
The First Time Homebuyer (FTHB) Program through Florida Housing provides down payment assistance statewide. To be eligible, you must meet certain income and purchase price requirements, complete a homebuyer education course and have a qualifying FICO Score for a mortgage loan.

Florida’s State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) funds affordable housing programs offered by local governments, including DPA programs.

Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has three down payment loan options throughout the state. Eligible homebuyers may qualify for up to $7,500. DPA up to $10,000 is available for those who work in public protection, education and health care industries. You could also qualify if a member of your family is living with a disability.

For more programs, check out:

Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) has two down payment assistance programs: Regular DAP and Affordable DAP. Both offer up to $6,000 and are repayable over a 10-year term, but the Affordable DAP has a lower interest rate.

Additional local homeownership assistance programs include:

The Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) has several down payment assistance options for homebuyers in the state:
  • Market Rate GNMA Program: The program offers assistance between 2% and 4% for 30-year, fixed-rate FHA, VA and USDA loans.
  • Market Rate Conventional Program: The amount of assistance is between 3% to 4% for conventional mortgages.
  • MRB Home and Assisted Programs: The amount of assistance for the MRB Assisted program is 4%; assistance for the MRB Home program ranges from 5% to 9%, depending on the loan amount. Funds can be used for down payments and closing costs.
  • Resilience Soft Second Program: The program offers up to $55,000 for down payments and up to $5,000 for closing costs. It’s not available in all parishes.
  • LHC Soft Second Program: The program provides assistance up to $30,000 for down payment and up to $5,000 closing costs. It’s not available in all parishes.

DPA programs are also available through the City of Lake Charles, the City of Shreveport, the City of Monroe, Terrebonne Parish and Jefferson Parish.

The Mississippi Home Corporation develops private and public partnerships throughout the state to increase awareness of the need for affordable housing.

According to MHC’s website, a new down payment assistance program, Home4All, is “coming soon.” It will provide pre-purchase education and payment assistance. A significant portion of the funding will serve households with members who have disabilities.

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s Community Partners Loan Pool (CPLP) provides funding for down payment assistance. Qualified borrowers can take advantage of the NC Home Advantage or the NC 1st Home Advantage mortgage programs.

When combined with an NCHFA Home Advantage Mortgage, down payment assistance is available for up to 20% of your home’s sale price, although there’s a $30,000 cap.

CPLP assistance comes as a zero-interest deferred second mortgage. There’s no monthly payment until the end of your first mortgage term unless you sell or refinance the house.

Local DPA resources include:

The SC Housing Homebuyer Program offers down payment assistance with low, fixed rates. As of publishing, eligible applicants can get up to $8,000 in assistance. Income restrictions apply.

CommunityWorks offers DPA in Spartanburg and Greenville counties. Additional local resources are available for those in:

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) offers down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers, repeat homebuyers and military or veteran homebuyers. You can choose from a deferred option (no payments) or the amortizing option (payments). Both require applicants to complete a pre-purchase homebuyer education class from a THDA-approved instructor.

The Housing Fund, an organization based in Nashville, also offers DPA throughout Tennessee.

The City of Memphis offers financial assistance through its Division of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Develop 901 is also available throughout Shelby County.

In Clarksville, you can get assistance through the city’s First-Time Homebuyer Program.

Virginia Housing’s Down Payment Assistance Grant is available to eligible first-time buyers throughout the state. The maximum award is up to 2.5% of the purchase price. It’s only available for eligible Virginia housing loans. Additional program requirements include:
  • Minimum credit score: 620 to 660 (varies by loan type)
  • Minimum LTV: 90%
  • Maximum DTI: 45%
  • Household income limits: Varies by location

The HOMEownership Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance (DPA) program also offers flexible gap financing for first-time homebuyers.

Total Action for Progress (TAP) in Roanoke has a DPA program for up to 10% of the house’s sale price. You can also find assistance through the City of Danville and Piedmont Housing Alliance.

According to the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) , financial assistance for down payment and closing costs is available in combination with the Homeownership and Movin’ Up programs.

Homeownership loans are 30-year terms with fixed rates, with loan amounts up to 100% of the purchase price. Down payment and closing cost assistance is available up to $7,500 or $10,000 for eligible borrowers, depending on the loan-to-value ratio. The Movin’ Up program is a 15-year fixed-rate loan, with DPA available up to $5,000 or $8,000.

The Homebuyer Assistance Program (HAP) is available through the Eastern Panhandle HOME Consortium of West Virginia, including the City of Martinsburg.

According to the City of Huntington, DPA is also available through Habitat for Humanity of the Tri-State.

Midwest

The Illinois Housing Development Authority offers several programs for first-time and nonfirst-time buyers. IHDA offers up to $10,000 in assistance.

Additional assistance is available in Cook County through the Chicago Community Land Trust (CCLT). The trust publishes a list of lenders that are familiar with the program’s down payment and closing cost assistance process and protocols. (Please note, FHA and VA loan products can’t be used in conjunction with the program.)

In Moline, DPA can provide up to 50% of your required down payment. Choose Aurora is another local homebuyer assistance loan program. Additional resources include:

Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCD) has two programs for down payment assistance (DPA): First Place (FP) and Next Home (NH). Both are for 30-year fixed loans and require minimum FICO credit scores between 640 and 680. Residents can also take advantage of the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) tax credit.

In Indianapolis, the Hoosier Homes program accepts prospective buyers who earn up to $114,240 annually (per household).

Additional local programs include:

The Iowa Finance Authority offers grants and loans through down payment and closing cost programs. The FirstHome grant provides buyers with $2,500 to help with down payment and closing costs.

The 2nd Loan program offers up to 5% of the home’s purchase price (up to $5,000) and is repayable when you sell, refinance or pay off your first mortgage — no monthly payment is required.

General eligibility requirements include:

  • Household income limit: Maximum household income limits range from $79,500 to $99,700 (for a two-person household).
  • Home sale price limit: $311,000 to $381,000 (varies by county).
  • Real estate history: You must be a first-time homebuyer or member of the military, or you must purchase a home in a targeted area.
  • Credit score: The minimum credit score is 640 (nontraditional credit documentation is allowed).
  • Debt-to-income ratio: The maximum DTI is 45%.
  • Occupancy: You have to live in the house within 60 days of closing.

Local programs are also available through the City of Iowa City (Johnson County), the City of Oskaloosa, Sioux City and the Southwest Iowa Planning Council (SWIPCO), which is available in Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Montgomery, Mills, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties.

You can find the MI Home Loan program through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). It’s available to first-time homebuyers across the state and repeat homebuyers in a few targeted areas.

Down payment assistance is available through two MI DPA loan options:

  • MI DPA up to $7,500: Available statewide. A homebuyer education class is required.
  • MI DPA up to $10,000: Available in select areas. A homebuyer education class is required.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Michigan’s single-family DPA is a second mortgage with 0% interest and no payments until the home is refinanced, transferred or sold, or when the first mortgage is fully paid.

Minnesota Housing is a state-run housing finance agency. It provides help with housing and rent assistance. Check out the Minnesota Homeownership Center for statewide listings of HomeStretch workshops and HUD-approved counseling agencies.

Additionally, you can find DPA through these local or regional programs:

The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) has a few statewide programs to make it easier to buy a house, including First Place and Next Step.

First Place loans can provide cash assistance to first-time buyers for down payment and closing costs. The Next Step Program enables nonfirst-time homebuyers who don’t have enough equity or savings to purchase a new house.

HOME-funded assistance program offers no-interest down payment loans up to $10,000 to eligible first-time homebuyers in St. Charles Urban County, including St. Charles, St. Peters, Cottleville, Weldon Spring, New Melle, St. Paul and Wentzville. You can find more DPA programs through:

Through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, you can get a 30-year fixed-rate conventional or government-backed mortgage with down payment assistance of 2.5% or 5% of the home's purchase price. The DPA loan is forgivable after seven years unless you sell or refinance.

The City of Cincinnati, City of Canton and City of Massillon also have DPA programs.

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) provides financial assistance for down payments and closing costs through the Advantage Conventional and Advantage FHA programs.

Movin’ Out is a statewide program to help residents become homeowners. The Western Dairyland DPA is available in Eau Claire, Trempealeau, Jackson and Buffalo counties. The HOME Consortium DPA is available in Jefferson, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties.

A few more grant and loan options include:

Great Plains

The statewide KansasDPA program provides grants that cover up to 5% of the home’s cost. To qualify, you must have at least a 640 credit score and meet specific income limits for your county. The maximum purchase price is $548,250 in all counties.

Local programs include:

The statewide Homebuyer Assistance Program (also called HBA) is available through the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA). This program includes a first and second mortgage. The maximum amount for down payment assistance is 5% of the home’s sale price, up to $10,000.

To qualify, you must:

  • Must be a first-time buyer
  • Earn less than the maximum household income limits (for location and household size)
  • Follow purchase price limits (up to $311,000 or $381,000 for a one-unit home)
  • Meet minimum credit score (640 or 660)
  • Meet maximum debt-to-income (DTI) requirements (45% or 50%)
  • Complete pre-purchase homebuyer education

The Northern Ponca Housing Authority, appointed by the Tribal Council in 1993, also offers down payment assistance to eligible applicants in Omaha, Bellevue, Lincoln, Norfolk, Battle Creek, Columbus and Niobrara, as well as parts of South Dakota and Iowa.

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has a few down payment and closing cost programs:
  • DCA: Low-income homebuyers can get loans that include down payment and closing cost assistance. Income limits vary by county and family size. It can’t be used in combination with another DPA program.
  • Start: This program provides affordable mortgage loans for low- to moderate-income homebuyers, including down payment and closing cost assistance. Funds come in the form of a credit toward your out-of-pocket requirement.
  • Resilient Homebuyer Program: Up to $60,000 in purchase assistance is available to Minot residents whose houses are being bought out for flood protection. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development CDBG National Disaster Resilient Grant.

You can also find DPA through the City of Fargo.

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority (SDHDA) provides mortgage and down payment assistance, rental assistance and homelessness prevention throughout the state. The programs are funded through federal and state resources, housing bonds and tax credits.

Qualified buyers can get up to 5% in down payment and closing cost assistance. The loan includes a second mortgage with a 0% interest rate that’s due when the property is sold or you pay off the first home loan.

GROW South Dakota is a statewide foundation that also offers homebuyer assistance.

The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) provides down payment assistance and works with lending institutions across the state.

REI Oklahoma (REI) also has cost assistance that can be in the form of a gift or second mortgage that’s forgivable after five years.

You can find local DPA resources through the following websites:

Rocky Mountains

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) has down payment assistance grants and second mortgage loan options.

The Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation (CHAC) also provides low-interest (less than 7%) down payment assistance loans to low- and moderate-income first-time buyers throughout the state.

You can find local DAP programs in Longmont and Pueblo. Additional county-level down payment assistance programs can be found through:

Idaho Housing and Finance Association offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs to first-time buyers, essential workers and veterans.

If you qualify, the loan significantly reduces how much cash you need upfront. Idaho housing loans also come with tax credits worth up to $2,000 per year.

NeighborWorks Pocatello is a nonprofit organization that offers DPA in Bannock County.

Montana Housing has two programs for down payment and closing cost assistance:
  • Bond Advantage: This program is available for up to 5% of the sales price ($12,500 cap). It requires a Montana Housing 30-year first mortgage. The minimum credit score is 620. You must attend homebuyer education programs.
  • MBOH Plus: This 0% deferred down payment assistance program is available for up to 5% of the sales price ($10,000 cap). To be eligible, you need a minimum 620 credit score and maximum debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of 43%. You also must contribute at least $1,000 of your own money, though these funds can be a gift.

Additionally, the HOME DPA program through NeighborWorks Montana provides loans between $2,500 and $25,000. In some cases, assistance is available up to $40,000.

In Southwest Montana, the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) can provide down payment assistance to qualified first-time homebuyers in Gallatin, Park and Meagher counties.

The Utah Housing Corp. can provide down payment assistance to those already qualified for a Utah Housing Corp first mortgage home loan.

NeighborWorks Salt Lake and the West Valley City Housing Authority provide DPA along with other homebuying resources. Own in Ogden assists buyers with the down payment or closing costs citywide. You can also receive DPA through the Provo City Corporation.

Check out the Community Development Corporation of Utah for a referral list of more DPA programs throughout the state.

The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) offers down payment assistance loan products and other programs to help make getting a mortgage easier in the state. Through WCDA, you can get up to $10,000 for down payments and closing costs. It requires a minimum 620 credit score and at least a $1,500 borrower contribution (the funds can be a gift).

The statewide Welcome Home Wyoming Program also provides up to 6% in DPA. Both programs require you to complete homebuyer education courses. Check out the Wyoming Housing Network for more information on class options.

Southwest

The Arizona Department of Housing lists several homeownership assistance options. Statewide, the Home Plus program is available to buyers who make less than $105,291 per year.

The Pima Tucson Homebuyer Solution Program (PTHS) is available throughout Pima County.

The Home in Five Advantage program, available in Maricopa County, provides funds through a silent second mortgage. Buyers must make less than $105,000 to qualify. The City of Mesa also provides DPA.

The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) has three down payment assistance programs:
  • FirstDown: FirstDown is designed for first-time buyers. The DPA can be used in combination with MFA’s FirstHome mortgage.
  • NextHome: NextHome is a combination first mortgage and down payment assistance second mortgage loan. It’s available to qualifying first-time homebuyers and nonfirst-time buyers.
  • HomeNow: This loan helps with down payment and closing costs and is available to low-income first-time homebuyers. It has a 0% interest rate and can be forgiven after 10 years.

Additional DPA options are available through the City of Albuquerque and the City of Santa Fe.

The Nevada Housing Division has a Home Is Possible (HIP) program that offers up to 5% of the mortgage value. There’s a one-time fee of $755 (paid at closing). It is available statewide to first-time buyers and nonfirst-time buyers.

An additional HIP for Teachers program is specifically designed for educators. Qualifying buyers can get up to $7,500 toward down payment and closing costs. The loan is forgivable after five years. The program is available through March 31, 2022.

The Nevada Rural Housing Authority has a Home At Last down payment assistance program that offers up to $25,000 with no interest or payments required. It’s available in all counties, including parts of Clark and Washoe. Enterprise, Sparks, Whitney and Winchester are considered rural as well.

The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) offers 30-year fixed interest rate loans, down payment assistance grants and mortgage credit certificates (MCC).

Check out the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) for down payment assistance for first-time buyers, veterans and rural homebuyers through the Texas Homebuyer Program. Other qualified buyers can get assistance through the My Choice Texas Home (MCTH) program.

Residents of Travis County can take advantage of the Hill Country Home Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Program. There’s also a DPA program in Harris County.

The Southeast Texas Housing Finance Corporation (SETH) is available around Austin, Baytown, Brazoria, Chambers, Deer Park, Dickinson, LaMarque, La Porte, League City, Liberty, Galveston, Pasadena, Shoreacres, Santa Fe, Texas City, Tomball, Waller, Wharton and Matagorda.

Additional options are available through:

West Coast

Alaskans can find down payment assistance through the Affordable Housing Enhanced Loan program (AHELP). It’s designed for people who do not already own a residential property in Alaska. Eligible properties include single-family homes, condos, common-interest development units and some manufactured homes. Additional restrictions may apply.

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has DPA and closing cost assistance.

NeighborWorks Alaska has two programs for first-time buyers: the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) Tax-Exempt and the Taxable First-Time Homebuyer.

More nonprofits that provide down payment assistance in Alaska are:

The California Housing Financing Agencies MyHome Assistance Program is available to first-time homebuyers with FHA and conventional mortgages.

You must meet income limits and obtain a homebuyer education certificate to qualify. Eligible properties include single-family and one-unit residences, condos and manufactured housing.

  • CalHFA Government Loans (FHA) are deferred-payment junior loans for up to 3.5% of the home’s value ($15,000 cap).
  • CalHFA Conventional Loans are deferred-payment junior loans for up to 3% of the home’s value ($15,000 cap).

Note that the $15,000 cap does not apply to borrowers using a VA, USDA and some FHA loans (Section 184, for example). It also doesn’t apply to California school or fire department employees.

Down payment loans up to $40,000 are available through the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Community Services. For income-eligible borrowers, there’s no interest or loan fees.

First-time homebuyers can also find a down payment assistance program through the County of Maui.

The Hawaii HomeOwnership Center is a nonprofit mortgage broker that helps low- to moderate-income families buy their first homes. Its down payment assistance loan (DPAL) program requires a 5% down payment.

Through Oregon Housing and Community Services, eligible homebuyers may qualify for up to $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.

The Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) and Hacienda Community Development Corporation also offer DPA programs in Portland.

For more, check out Oregon Realtors, an advocacy group that publishes a list of updated DPA programs by county.

Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSFC) offers down payment assistance to those with household incomes less than $160,000. Your credit score must be at least 620 to qualify. There’s also a Home Advantage needs-based program — a second mortgage loan with a 1% interest rate and deferred payments — and a Veterans DPA program. Some restrictions apply.

Rural Resources Community Action has several DPA programs (available in Chewelah, Colville, Davenport, Ione, Newport and Republic).

As of publishing, additional options include:

Federal home down payment assistance

The federal government offers a few down payment assistance programs. The Chenoa Fund, available through CBC Mortgage Agency, helps homeowners cover up to 3.5% of their down payments. Depending on your credit score and income, you can receive a grant, a forgivable second mortgage or a regular second mortgage.

Government loans often come with lower down payments than private mortgages.”

Fannie Mae allows three main sources of down payment and closing cost assistance: grants, gifts and a program called Community Seconds. Freddie Mac's Affordable Seconds is another available DPA program.

While not technically down payment assistance, government loans often come with lower down payments than private mortgages. For example, VA-backed purchase loans and USDA-guaranteed mortgages don’t require you to make a down payment at all.

Bottom line

Don’t be discouraged if you’re having trouble saving for a down payment — there are resources that can help. Down payment assistance programs are a form of financial aid offered by nonprofits and federal, state and local governments that help homebuyers.

If you get a conventional loan, down payment assistance funds could save you a lot in mortgage insurance premiums over time. That’s a substantial amount of money that some homeowners struggle to save.

DPA can put homeownership within reach if you’re a first-time buyer, and some programs provide assistance even if you’ve previously purchased a home. Just remember that programs vary by state — you’ll need to investigate each program’s requirements to make sure you qualify for assistance.

Down payment assistance is just one type of program available to help you own your first home. Explore other first-time homebuyer programs to make sure you don’t overlook any of your options. For more, read about how much you should put down or the average down payment next.

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  1. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “State Information.” Accessed Dec. 22, 2021.
  2. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), “Resources for Individuals.” Accessed Dec. 21, 2021.
  3. USA.gov, “Help Buying a New Home.” Accessed Dec. 20, 2021.
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