DC-area homebuyer assistance programs you probably didn’t know about

Mortgage rates are rising, and so are home prices, pricing more potential buyers out of the market. But there are some little-known buyer assistance programs beyond the traditional bank mortgage that requires an out-of-pocket down payments.

And in addition to nationally available programs, there are several offered locally.

The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors has just launched a free, downloadable guide to home financing for buyers called “Home Financing 101: GCAAR’s Guide to Financing Opportunities in D.C. and Maryland.”

“Nothing is more local than real estate. And in the D.C. area we actually have three different states and a myriad of different counties, that all offer different programs, protections and incentives,” said GCAAR president Harrison Beacher.

Many offer home purchase loans, and assistance with down payments and closing costs.

“In Washington, D.C., in addition to the Home Purchase Assistance Program, there is also D.C. Open Doors which is another one that can support buyers that are cash sensitive but have a higher threshold for monthly payments,” Beacher said.

D.C. also has home buyer incentives under an Inclusionary Zoning Program. Montgomery County has several, including House Keys 4 Employees that assists county employees, the Maryland Mortgage Program SmartBuy, the Mortgage Program Flex, and a Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit sales program.

Some cities such as Gaithersburg and Takoma Park have their own home buyer assistance programs.

The GCAAR guide also lists Maryland state programs, and many nationally-available buyer assistance programs from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA, the Veterans Benefits Administration.

“The new guide should be a useful tool for new homebuyers, as it explores financing options and programs first-time homebuyers may not be aware of,” said GCAAR CEO Edward Krauze. “Using this guide, buyers can find a solid roadmap to begin the home buying process.”

Not all programs available are confined to just first-time homebuyers.

The guide is brand new, launched in late June as part of “Home Ownership Month,” and it is evolving with details on more programs.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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