DC wants to ‘Open Doors’ to potential home owners

A new program from the DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) called ‘DC Open Doors’ seeks to make homeownership in the District even more affordable. This new program offers qualified homebuyers a variety of mortgage loans, including FHA and Fannie Mae conventional mortgages, as well as down payment assistance.

In order to qualify for the new program, the following conditions must be met:

  1. There is a borrower income limit of $123,395. Please note, this is not a household limit, so if two people live together and have a combined income of over $123,395, one member can still apply for the loan as long as his/her income is less than the limit.
  2. The borrower has a minimum credit score of 640.
  3. While borrowers are not prohibited from purchasing a higher priced home, there is a $417,000 loan limit.
  4. Once a borrower has applied, he/she is then required to take 8 hours of homebuyer education classes in person or online, and
  5. The program is not just available to first-time homebuyers.

The benefit of the down payment assistance program is that it is a 0%, non-amortizing, subordinate loan that has a 5-year term. The loan is only repayable if the borrower sells the property, refinances or converts it to a rental property within the first 5 years of owning the property.

The program provides for a 20% annual forgiveness for each year the property remains the borrower’s principal residence, therefore at the end of 5 years, the loan will be 100% forgiven.

The DCHFA website provides a list of participating lenders for any potential homebuyer who may have questions or be interested in the program and who meets the above-referenced criteria.

Comments (4)

  • I’m a DC Government employee, who fits the criteria, except that I sold a home in January for less than was owed on the property. Does that disqualify me from the program.

  • If your prior home sale was a short sale, it won’t necessarily disqualify you from this program. But you may have to undergo a set waiting period.

    Since some of the loans provided under the program are FHA loans, they typically require a set waiting period after a short sale before they will agree to underwrite a loan and allow a short sale seller to purchase another property.

    With that being said, though, you should really check out that list of participating lenders (hyperlinked in the article above) and consult with a loan officer to get more specifics about the types of loans available. Be sure to provide them with all the specifics of your prior sale and let them advise you.

    Hope this is helpful!

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