There are many steps in the homebuying process, but one of the greatest hurdles to clear is often meeting the down payment requirement. But there are numerous major down payment assistance programs (DPAs) in every state.
According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, 11% of all buyers, 25% of buyers between the ages of 22 and 30, and 18% of buyers between the ages of 31 and 40 cited saving for a down payment as the most difficult step in the homebuying process.
- Down payment assistance can take the form of a grant or a low- or no-interest loan that can be used to put down on a home purchase.
- Virtually every state has some type of down payment assistance program, but their qualifying rules can vary.
- Qualifying can depend on your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio.
- Some program terms can be more or less favorable depending on the zip code where you want to buy.
What Is Down Payment Assistance (DPA)?
Down payment assistance (DPA) helps homebuyers who can't afford the down payment that's required to purchase a home. This type of assistance is money provided in the form of a grant or a low- or no-interest loan. The amount is typically a small percentage of the cost of buying the home, usually somewhere in the area of 3% to 5%. It can be used toward a down payment.
Most down payment assistance programs are state-run. They receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), then they pass the money on to would-be homebuyers.
Grants are an outright gift so you don't have to deal with repaying them ever, even if and when you eventually sell the home. Loans are considered to be a second mortgage, but payments often don't begin until the first mortgage has been paid off, the home is refinanced, or the borrower no longer lives there. And some loans are "forgivable." An increasing percentage becomes no longer repayable after the borrower has lived in the home for a period of years.
Loans must be settled through the sale proceeds if you sell, even if you haven't yet been required to start making payments.
Who Qualifies for Down Payment Assistance?
Qualification varies by state, but borrowers generally need a credit score of at least 640, a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less, and they must attend homebuyer classes, which are often held online. Many states have income limits that are comparable with low- or moderate-income buyers.
Some programs can depend on where you want to buy. Others are only available to certain segments of the population, such as government employees or veterans. DPA programs are usually reserved for first-time homebuyers. Others won't qualify.
Down Payment Assistance Programs by State
Each state has its own dedicated DPA program. These programs set their own rules and income limits, if any, for qualifying and for applying for assistance.
The Alabama Housing Finance Authority provides 3.5% down payment assistance on FHA loans and 3% down payment assistance on conventional loans through its Step Up program. Borrowers must apply for either an FHA or HFA Advantage loan with a participating lender.
The income level for borrowers cannot exceed $130,600. Borrowers also need a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or lower, a credit score of 640 or higher, and they must complete a homeownership education course.
Alaska's Affordable Housing Enhanced Loan program (AHELP) provides qualified borrowers with down payment assistance or secondary financing. A grant, deferred payment, forgivable loan, or a combination of all three are subject to availability, and borrowers must meet the guidelines of the local, state, or federal governmental agency, nonprofit agency, or the regional housing authority that's facilitating the loan.
The program requires that borrowers own only one residential property in the general area, and they're limited to single-family homes in which they reside. Homes that are older than 10 years must undergo an inspection. Borrowers must also participate in a homebuyer education class.
Alaska’s Closing Costs Assistance Loan is another option. It's earmarked not only for closing costs but a down payment as well. Assistance of either 3% or 4% of the loan amount is available, depending on your credit qualifications.
The Arizona HOME+PLUS Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program is a nonprofit corporation and political subdivision for the state that's administered by the Arizona Industrial Development Authority. It provides down payment assistance of up to 5% to renters who struggle financially to meet down payment requirements and closing costs.
Your annual income can't exceed $112,785 to qualify, and borrowers must have a credit score of at least 640. Borrowers must also complete a homebuyer education course, and the assistance can only be used in conjunction with a HOME+PLUS mortgage.
The Arkansas Development Finance Authority’s Down Payment Assistance Program provides from $1,000 to $10,000 in the form of a second mortgage with a 10-year term. Borrowers must attend a homebuyer education class.
The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) offers the MyHome Assistance Program. It provides 3.5% in down payment help of up to $15,000 on FHA loans, and 3% of up to $15,000 on USDA and conventional loans. The junior loans are based on the lesser of the purchase price or appraised value. They're deferred until the house has been paid off, sold, or refinanced.
The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority has a Down Payment Assistance Grant for up to 3% on one of their first mortgage loans. You must meet income requirements, have a credit score of 620 or higher, and complete a homebuyer education class. Borrowers must also contribute at least $1,000 toward the home’s purchase.
The CHFA also offers a second mortgage loan of up to 4% of a first mortgage that can be used toward a down payment. Repayment of this loan can be deferred until the home is paid off, sold, or refinanced.
The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority provides a Downpayment Assistance Program (DAP) Loan at low interest rates ranging from 1% to 1.5%. Borrowers can apply for up to $20,000 in assistance. They must qualify for a CHFA mortgage, attend a homebuyer education class, and contribute at least $1,000 toward the cost of the home.
The Delaware Housing Authority provides Preferred Plus Assistance, a no-interest loan in the form of a second mortgage in the amount of 2% to 5%. The loan is repayable when the home is sold, refinanced, or transferred.
Borrowers need a minimum credit score of 620. Those with a credit score below 660 must participate in housing counseling. The maximum household income for 1 to 2 people is $113,420 in New Castle County, and $99,600 in Kent County and Sussex County.
District of Columbia
The District of Columbia’s Department of Housing and Community Development has a Home Purchase Assistance Program for first-time homeowners that provides up to $80,000 in gap financing assistance. The loan is deferred until the property is sold or refinanced for borrowers with income levels below 80% of area median income (AMI). Payments are deferred for five years for borrowers with incomes between 80% and 110% of the AMI.
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation has a down payment assistance program, the Florida Assist (FL Assist), that provides up to $10,000 in down payment assistance on FHA, VA, or USDA loans. It provides up to $7,500 on conventional loans.
The deferred second mortgage has a 0% interest rate, and the Florida Homeownership Loan Program Second Mortgage (FL HLP) provides $10,000 at a 3% rate payable over 15 years in monthly payments.
The minimum credit score for both programs is 640, and borrowers must complete a homebuyer education course.
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation offers an online Homebuyer Loan Programs Wizard that helps borrowers find a lender that can tell them their purchase price limits and income maximum amounts, depending on the county.
The Georgia Dream Homeownership Program provides qualified borrowers with a down payment loan of $5,000. Public protectors, health care providers, educators, active military members, and borrowers with a family member who has a disability may qualify for $7,500.
Homebuyer counseling is required, and borrowers must also contribute at least $1,000 toward the home’s purchase.
The state of Hawaii doesn’t offer down payment assistance, but the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers homeownership assistance resources.
The Idaho Housing and Finance Association offers a second mortgage for first-time homebuyers that can be used for down payment assistance of 2.5% or 3.5% of the loan amount when you use the First Loan. The second mortgage has a fixed rate of 5% payable over 10 years.
The minimum credit score is 640 with a First Loan. Otherwise, it's 680. Borrowers must successfully complete an approved homebuyer education course and contribute a minimum of 0.5% of the home’s sale price.
The Illinois Housing Development Authority provides several down payment assistance options for first-time homebuyers.
The Access Forgivable loan is 4% of the purchase price up to $6,000. Borrowers don’t have to pay it back if they live in the home for 10 years.
The Access Deferred loan is 5% of the purchase price up to $7,500. Repayment is required once the first mortgage matures, or when the home is refinanced or sold.
The Access Repayable Loan provides 10% of the purchase price up to $10,000. Borrowers will be required to pay the loan back over the course of 10 years, but there's 0% interest.
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority has a First Place (FP) program that provides down payment assistance of up to 6% for first-time homebuyers. The percentage is based on the lesser of the home’s purchase price or its appraised value. Borrowers must use an FHA 30-year fixed loan.
The minimum credit score requirement is 640 with a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of less than 45%, or a minimum credit score of 680 if their DTI is greater than 45% but less than 50%.
The state’s Next Home (NH) program also offers down payment assistance of 3.5% of the purchase price or the appraised value. The credit score and income requirements mirror the First Place Program, but borrowers don't have to be first-time homebuyers.
Iowans can take advantage of the FirstHome program, which offers two options. Borrowers can either apply for a $2,500 grant to assist with their down payment, or they can apply for a 2ndLoan program loan that will provide the lesser of $5,000 or 5% of the home’s sale price.
The maximum income limit ranges from $79,500 to $99,700 for either option, depending on the county. The minimum credit score is 640, and the maximum DTI is 45%.
The home purchase price limit for Iowa’s down payment assistance programs is $311,000, although it may increase to $381,000 in targeted areas. Interested homebuyers can use the state’s Eligibility Quick Check for additional information.
The Kansas Housing Assistance Program provides grants up to 5% that can be used toward a down payment. Borrowers of the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan must meet minimum credit score requirements as well as income limits, and these can vary by country. The maximum home purchase price is $548,250.
The First-Time Homebuyer Program, available from Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, offers income-eligible homebuyers a 0% interest loan in the amount of 15% or 20% of the purchase price. The loan is forgiven after 10 years. First-time homebuyers (or those who have not owned a home in three years) must contribute at least 2% of the sale price, and they must have income at or below 80% of the median income for their area.
Low- to moderate-income homebuyers in Kentucky can obtain a partially forgivable loan of no more than 20% of the purchase price through the Louisville-Metro Down Payment Assistance Program. Half of the loan amount will be forgiven at the end of five to 15 years, depending on the assistance. The other 50% isn’t due for repayment until the home is sold.
Borrowers must purchase a home in the Louisville-Metro area, and they must complete a HUD-approved homebuyer counseling course.
Homebuyers in Louisiana with an average at or below 80% of median income for their area can apply for the Mortgage Revenue Bond Assisted Program. This loan provides money for down payments between 5% to 9% of the loan amount.
Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 640. Income limits vary depending on the area. The home’s purchase price cannot exceed $271,164.
The Maine State Housing Authority’s Advantage program provides $3,500 toward down payment and closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers. Borrowers must contribute 1% toward the home’s cost, and they must also complete a homebuyer education class. The minimum credit score requirement is 640.
MaineHousing removes the first-time homebuyer requirement on its Advantage down payment assistance program for active duty and retired military.
The Maryland Mortgage Program includes the 1st Time Advantage 5000, which provides a loan of $5,000 in down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers. Exceptions are made if the borrower is purchasing a home in a targeted area and sold their home prior to the new closing, or if it has been more than three years since the borrower has owned a home. The second loan has 0% interest, and payments aren't due until the first mortgage ends by repayment, sale, or refinance.
There’s also a 1st Time Advantage 3% Loan, which provides a DPA loan of 3% of the first mortgage amount.
The Mass Housing Down Payment Assistance program can provide up to $25,000 in down payment help for borrowers in Boston or one of the Gateway cities: Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.
Borrowers in other cities can receive up to $15,000 in down payment assistance. The loan amount can't exceed 5% of the home’s purchase price regardless of its location.
Borrowers can take advantage of the MI DPA Loan in Michigan. It provides down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers up to $7,500. Borrowers in some zip codes are eligible for up to $10,000 in down payment assistance.
All borrowers must complete a homebuyer education class. The home cannot cost more than $224,500. Household income limits can vary.
Borrowers in Minnesota can apply for a down payment loan that provides up to $17,000 at the same rate as the mortgage and is repayable over 10 years. The deferred payment loan amount is up to $11,000. There's no interest on this loan and there are no monthly payments. A balloon payment is due at the end of the mortgage term.
The deferred payment loan Plus is available up to $15,000. It doesn’t have an interest rate or monthly payments, either, but there’s a balloon payment at the end. Income limits apply.
A Smart Solution Mortgage helps Mississippi homebuyers by providing a 4.5% down payment loan payable over 10 years at the same rate as the mortgage. Borrowers must have a credit score of at least 640 for an FHA, Freddie Mac, USDA, or VA loan, and their household income can't exceed $95,000.
Missouri's First Place Homebuyer Program provides a Cash Assistance Loan that's 4% of the loan amount to help with down payment and closing costs. The loan is forgiven if borrowers remain in the home for 10 years. The maximum purchase amount is $311,979 for a single-family home in non-target areas and $381,308 in target areas. Income limits vary.
Buyers in Montana can qualify for the Bond Advantage Down Payment Assistance Program, which provides down payment assistance of up to 5% of the home’s sale price up to $10,000. The loan’s rate is the same as that of the first mortgage.
Alternately, the MBOH (Montana Board of Housing) Plus 0% Deferred Down Payment Assistance Program provides up to $6,500 and has no interest and no monthly payments.
Both options require a minimum credit score of 620. Borrowers must provide at least $1,000 of their own money to help purchase the home, as well as complete a homebuyer education course.
The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority offers a Homebuyer Assistance Program of up to 5% of the home’s purchase price, up to $10,000, at an interest rate of 1% a term of 10 years. Borrowers must provide at least $1,000 of their own funds.
The First Home Grant Program provides a $5,000 grant for down payment or closing assistance. Income limits must not exceed 50% of the area's median income.
The Home is Possible Program provides borrowers in Nevada with up to 5% of the home’s mortgage to use for the down payment. The 30-year loan is offered at a competitive rate.
Borrowers must not have more than $105,000 in income for an FHA, VA, or USDA loan. Income limits for conventional loans differ. Consult with a loan officer for this information. Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 640, and the home should not cost more than $548,250. Borrowers will also have to pay a one-time fee at closing of $755.
As with most down payment assistance programs, completion of a homebuyer education course is required to qualify for Nebraska’s Home Is Possible program.
The Our Home Flex Plus program provides up to 4% of the home’s loan amount in assistance for down payments and closing costs to those with FHA, VA, or RD loans. The loan is forgiven in four years if the borrower doesn’t sell or refinance the home or file for bankruptcy.
The borrower must complete a homebuyer education course and must not have an income that exceeds $137,400. A Home Preferred Plus program is also available for borrowers with incomes up to 80% Area Median Income (AMI).
The NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance Program (DPA) provides qualified first-time borrowers with a $10,000 loan for a down payment. The loan must be paired with an NJHMFA 30-year, fixed-rate, FHA/VA/USDA first mortgage. It's interest free, has no monthly payment, and is forgivable after five years. You can obtain information on the purchase price maximums, and income limits by contacting a participating lender.
The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority offers a FIRSTDown program that provides up to $8,000 to assist with down payment and closing costs. This fixed-rate second mortgage is available for first-time homebuyers who are purchasing a home using the state’s FirstHome program. Income limits vary by county.
Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 620. They must contribute $500 toward the purchase of the home and complete homebuyers counseling
New Yorkers can take advantage of a Down Payment Assistance Loan. The loan amount is $3,000 or 3% of the purchase price with a ceiling of $15,000. The loan has no interest rate, and there are no monthly payments. The loan is forgiven after 10 years.
Information about home price maximums, income limits, or credit score requirements can be obtained from a participating lender.
Qualified borrowers in North Carolina can apply for the 1st Home Advantage Down Payment, a loan of up to $8,000 at 0% interest intended for first-time homebuyers and military veterans. At the end of the 11th year, 20% of the loan amount is forgiven. The loan is completely forgiven by the end of the 15th year.
Borrowers in North Dakota can obtain down payment assistance in the form of a loan for 3% of the home’s mortgage amount. The home cannot be within a 100-year flood plain. Applicants must meet income limits depending on which county they live in. They must complete a homebuyer education course prior to closing.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency offers a Your Choice! Down Payment Assistance program that provides a loan between 2.5% and 3% of the home’s purchase price. The loan is forgiven if the borrower remains in the home for seven years.
The minimum credit score is 650 for an FHA loan, or 640 for a conventional, USDA, or VA loan. Borrowers must also meet limits for income and home purchase amounts and complete a homebuyer education course.
Qualified homebuyers in Oklahoma can apply for the OHFA Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance program. The assistance can be applied to 30-year, fixed-rate, FHA, USDA-RD, VA, or conventional loans. Purchase price and income limits vary. Contact a participating lender for more information.
Oregonians may be eligible to receive a loan up to $15,000 from a participating organization chosen to facilitate the state’s down payment assistance programs. Borrowers must complete homebuyer education and the recommended coaching from the organization. A list of participating agencies is included on the state's website.
Borrowers in Pennsylvania can get up to $10,000 in down payment assistance with a second loan at 0% interest, and 20% of the HOMEstead Down Payment Assistance Loan is forgiven each year, up to five years. Income cannot exceed certain limits.
The state also offers a Keystone Advantage Assistance Loan Program that provides funding up to 4% of the home’s purchase price up to $6,000. The program requires a minimum credit score of 660. A borrower’s liquid assets can't exceed $50,000 after deducting the funds needed to close on the loan.
Rhode Island Housing’s Extra Assistance program provides the lesser of $15,000 or 6% of the home’s purchase price to first-time homeowners who receive a RIHousing first mortgage. Borrowers must have a credit score of at least 620 and complete a homebuyer education course.
The SC Housing Homebuyer Program can help first-time homebuyers with a fixed-rate loan that can be used toward down payment assistance of up to $8,000. There's no interest on this loan, and there are no monthly payments.
The loan is forgivable in either 10 or 20 years, depending on the borrower’s income. The home’s maximum purchase price is $300,000.
South Dakota borrowers can get a Fixed Rate Plus loan in the amount of 3% or 5% to help with their down payment. There are no fees or interest, and no monthly payments. Payment is due when the home is sold or the first mortgage is paid off. Borrowers can contact approved lenders for more information.
Tennessee's Great Choice Plus second loan can help with the down payment for borrowers with a Great Choice Home Loan Assistance of up to $6,000 for homes priced under $150,000. This increases to $7,500 for homes priced over $150,000.
The loan is payable over 15 years, and borrowers must also complete a homebuyer education course. The minimum credit score requirement is 640, and household income and purchase price limits vary by county.
Texans can take advantage of the Home Sweet Texas Home Loan Program, which provides down payment assistance up to 5% of the total loan amount. The down payment assistance takes the form of a grant or a deferred second lien, which is forgiven after three years. A minimum credit score of 620 is required.
Utah buyers can get down payment assistance of up to 6% of the first loan amount with a FirstHome Loan (for first-time homebuyers) or a HomeAgain Loan (for previous homebuyers and first-time buyers). A Score Loan offers up to 4% of the first loan that can be used toward down payment or closing costs.
The interest rate on each of these is 2% higher than the first loan’s interest rate. The minimum credit score range is 660 for a FirstHome Loan or HomeAgain Loan. It's 620 for a Score Loan.
Homebuyer education isn't required, but it's recommended for the FirstHome and Home Again loans. Score Loan recipients must successfully complete a course regardless of past homeownership. Income and purchase price limits apply.
The Vermont Housing Finance Agency offers VHFA ASSIST. The program can provide up to $7,500 that can be used toward down payment or closing costs. There's no interest on this loan and there are no monthly payments. The money is payable when the mortgage is paid in full, sold, or refinanced.
Liquid and non-retirement combined assets of the borrower and non-borrowing spouse or partner cannot exceed $30,000. Income and purchase price limits vary by county.
Virginia Housing has the Loan Combo program. It provides a down payment grant that doesn't have to be repaid, a mortgage credit certification to save money on federal income tax, and a homebuyer’s course.
The Washington State Housing Finance Commission provides down payment assistance to homebuyers who get a Home Advantage or Opportunity Loan. The typical homeowner gets $10,000 in assistance. The interest rate can range from 0% to 4% depending on the program.
The loan is deferred, so it’s not payable until the home is paid off, sold, or refinanced. The minimum credit score required is 620, and the household income limit is $160,000.
The West Virginia Development Fund has a down payment assistance program in conjunction with its Homeownership and Movin’ Up programs. It provides a loan of $7,500 to $10,000, depending on the loan-to-value ratio. The interest rate on this 15-year, fixed-rate loan is 2%.
Borrowers must complete homebuyer education/counseling. Income limits and house price limits vary.
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority provides two down payment assistance programs. WHEDA Easy Close DPA provides up to 6% of the purchase price for those with a WHEDA conventional first mortgage loan. This 10-year, fixed mortgage carries the same interest rate as the first mortgage.
WHEDA Capital Access DPA loans provide up to 3% or $3,050 of the WHEGA conventional loan amount, whichever is greater. This 30-year mortgage with a 0% interest rate has no monthly payments. The balloon payment is due when the borrower pays off the first mortgage, refinances, or sells the home.
The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) has the Home$tretch Down Payment Assistance program, which offers a 0% interest rate and 0.080% APR based on a $5,500 average loan amount in conjunction with a WCDA first mortgage.
There’s no monthly payment, and the balloon payment is due at the end of the mortgage or when the home is sold or refinanced. It requires a 620 minimum credit score, a debt-to-income ratio of 41%, and the borrower must also contribute $1,500 toward the home’s purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much down payment assistance can I get?
The actual amount depends on your state, but down payment assistance is typically 2% to 3% of the home’s purchase price.
How much money do I have to put down if I apply for down payment assistance?
This amount varies by state, but $1,000 is the minimum amount required in many states.
Where can I find down payment assistance?
Most states have a housing authority or a housing and finance authority that provides information on down payment assistance.
What does "targeted area" mean?
A targeted area is an area that doesn't experience a lot of growth. This designation is determined on a federal level. Standard homebuyer requirements may be eased in these areas because they have slow economic growth.
What's the difference between a bond program and down payment assistance?
A bond program and down payment assistance programs are similar. Each utilizes grants or favorable loan terms on a second mortgage to assist qualified homebuyers with their home purchase.