Previously called DC Bonds, DCFHA released a new home buyer assistance program in June of 2013, and named it DC Open Doors. The goal of this program was to increase the accessibility of affordable homes through down payment assistance and mortgage financing to DC residents.
It can be quite expensive to live downtown and often a home's down payment is a big deterrent to those who live in the city. Available to first time home buyers and repeat home buyers, the Open Doors program changes that dynamic considerably.
Firstly, the Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) does not have to be paid back and that loan's balance is reduced 20% each year for 5 years, with continued residency, resulting in zero balance due. This program is open to anyone earning less than $125,580 per year who uses a real estate agent and DCHFA mortgage professional to buy a home. It is not eligible for co-ops, but can be used on any DC home or condo. It's important to note that applicants do not currently need to live in Washington, D.C. to apply. This program is open to all DC neighborhood areas and wards.
Let's say you're buying a house in DC for $400,000 (to make the math easy). DC Open Doors will give you $400,000 to buy the house. You would only be responsible for your closing costs, which would be about 3% (or about $12,000). We've been able to negotiate a 3% seller credit for most of our buyers, which covers the bulk of your closing costs, enabling you to buy the property for virtually $0 down. You will need some money upfront, though. You will need an earnest money deposit ($1,000 should be enough), money for a home inspection if you decide to do one ($300-$400), and money for loan origination ($500-$800). Sometimes lenders require the loan origination money upfront, and sometimes they will accept it at settlement. The earnest money deposit is applied to your closing costs, and if funds are leftover, you will get that money back at settlement. Many of our buyers have received checks at settlement.