Homeownership is the secret weapon of wealth building. However, saving for a down payment can be a major hurdle for people that wish to become homeowners in the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency is here to bridge this gap to homeownership with its menu of resources.
DC Open Doors is our flagship program for home purchase assistance. With a DC Open Doors down payment assistance loan and the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP), it is possible to actually purchase a home in District with $500 at the closing table. This will not be the scenario for everyone but it’s a possibility for those seeking access to homeownership. I invite you to explore DC Open Doors’ range of mortgage products with a partnering lender to choose the program that meets your financial needs.
Since its launch in May 2013, DC Open Doors has financed, 845 home purchases in all of the District’s wards with $249.6 million in total mortgage loans. Loans from DC Open Doors are fully forgivable after five years of residency in the home purchased through the program. Program qualifications include a minimum credit score of 640, maximum borrower income of $132,360 and maximum debt-to-income ratio of 50 percent. First-time as well as repeat homebuyers may qualify for the program. DC Open Doors funds may be used toward down payment and/or closing costs. The average home price for a DC Open Doors buyer is $300,242, however there is no maximum sales price limit.
Join us for the next Home Buyers’ Informational Session on Oct. 4 at DCHFA (815 Florida Ave., NW) 6:30-8:00 p.m. The sessions are free and take place on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Visit the Agency’s website DCHFA.org for a list of DC Open Doors lending partners to begin your home purchase process. On the site you will also find information on HPAP, Mortgage Credit Certificate and HomeSaver programs. In March, DCHFA became the co-administrator of HPAP, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development’s first time home buyer program. HPAP provides interest free deferred loans for down payment and closing costs assistance up to $84,000 combined.
DCHFA’s Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) is an additional incentive for first-time homebuyers to purchase a home in D.C. An MCC provides qualified borrowers the ability to claim a Federal Tax Credit of 20 percent of the mortgage interest paid during each calendar year. MCC’s may be purchased with or without DC Open Doors mortgage products.
Retaining homeownership is critical once you have purchased a home. DCHFA offers the HomeSaver Program, a foreclosure prevention resource for unemployed, underemployed or District homeowners who may have suffered a qualified financial hardship and are at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure or delinquent real property taxes.
Fall is a great time to purchase a home and the DCHFA’s resources are available to help you get on the road to homeownership.
Todd A. Lee is executive director/CEO of the DC Housing Finance Agency and a D.C. resident.