Washington State Down Payment Assistance Programs and Grants

2013-03-07_0746Washington State home buyers have several various down payment assistance programs available and they’re not just limited to first time home buyers.  These funds can go towards closing cost and the down payment of primary residence.

Here’s an updated list of what I have available.

National Home Buyer Fund Grants. The NHF Grant program offers down payment assistance that is not paid back by the borrower. It’s kind of like a gift from your favorite Uncle or Auntie!  Grant funds range from 3 – 5% of the first mortgage loan amount and are in conjunction with a NHB first mortgage product. You do not need to be a first time home buyer and income limits do apply. Home buyer education classes are not required.

Washington State Housing Finance Commission Down Payment Assistance Programs (DPA).  These programs are available in conjunction with a WSHFC first mortgage program like Home Advantage or House Key Opportunity (the state bond program). In order to be eligible for one of the following down payment assistance programs, borrowers must attend a WSHFC sponsored home buyers education class. Unlike a grant, DPAs are required to be paid back. Most often, the repayment takes place when the home is no longer occupied by the borrower (property is sold or becomes a rental) or if the first mortgage is refinanced.

  • Home Advantage DPA: offers assistance based on 4% of the first mortgage at 0% apr with payments deferred for 30 years. This is probably the most popular dpa (down payment assistance) program that WSHFC offers.
  • The HomeChoice Program: eligible borrowers must have a qualifying disability or have a family member with a qualified disability living with them. Maximum DPA is $15,000.
  • House Key Schools: borrower must be an employee of an accredited or state recognized K-12, public or private school including community and technical schools. Max DPA is up to $10,000.
  • House Key Veterans: eligible borrowers are veterans who received an honorable discharge and include members and honorably discharged former members of the Washington national guard and reserve or never remarried spouses and dependent/children of deceased veterans. Max DPA is $10,000.
  • New Home for You: available to first time home buyers (or targeted area) meeting criteria and buying a never occupied new construction home. This program requires credit scores of 680 or higher. Max DPA is $10,000.
  • House Key Plus ARCH: eligible home buyers must be purchasing a home in designated areas of east King County. Max DPA is up to $30,0000.
  • House Key Seattle: provides up to $45,000 in down payment assistance. Eligible borrowers must meet income limits and the maximum purchase price is $288,000 for an existing home within the Seattle city limits and income limits apply. This dpa has limited funds available.
  • Tacoma DPA:  up to $20,000 in down payment assistance. First time home buyers (not owning a home in the last 3 years) must meet income limits and the maximum purchase price is $177,000 for existing homes or $233,000 for new construction.

Which down payment assistance program you should use will obviously depend on which one you qualify for and which one will be more beneficial to your financial goals. Some of my clients have opted for the grant over Home Advantage DPA because they don’t want to pay back the DPA when they sell the home and some opt for Home Advantage over the grant if they’re doing conventional financing as it will provide them with more assistance (the grant offers 3% and Home Advantage offers 4% based on the amount of the first mortgage).  Bottom line, you need to compare and evaluate all of your options.

If you’re considering buying a home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me. I am happy to help you with your mortgage!


  1. Harry kemo says

    I am newly married within the last 1 1/2 my wife has never owned a home we would like to find a program to help us with the down payment is there any chance for us out there??

  2. Douglas Souza says

    Thinking if buying my first home and need some information on getting assistance on down-payment and a loan of 217,000.00 thanks

  3. Hi,

    Do you need to be a first time home buyer to qualify for the down payment assistance? I had a shoet sale 2 years ago and I wonder if I can qualify for a home yet.


    • You typically need 36 months to pass after the short sale before you can buy a new home. Then you can use FHA for the first mortgage and WSHFC’s Home Advantage down payment assistance.

      Your loan approval will depend on how your credit has been since the short sale.

  4. Good Afternoon Rhonda,
    My husband and I have found the house that we wish to purchase at an extremely GREAT PRICE. We are first time home buyers, he works directly across the street from the home, and I am disabled. We have already viewed the interior and exterior and are ready to make an offer. And, we are in need of some guidance from here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  5. I am self employed and have good to excellent credit.
    My wife makes more money than I do but does not have good credit.
    Would we be eligible for these programs or to buy a house??

    • Hi Randy,
      Possibly. You’ll need two years filed tax returns that will be used to document your business income. Lenders will use the lower of the two credit scores for underwriting and pricing rates. Depending on where her credit scores are, she may or may not be able to be on the loan. Have you had your credit ran by a mortgage professional?

  6. My husband and I interested in buy a home and need help. We are first time buyers and we live in spokane wa. Can anyone give us information on the steps to take. Please and thank u

  7. How long will it take for the commissioner to sign off on my down payment assistance

    • Leo, if you’re doing a loan with down payment assistance like Home Advantage through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, then the loan will be underwritten by both the originating lender and the WSHFC. It typically takes a couple days for the commission to review the conditions.

  8. Are all of the loan programs listed, still available for today’s 2017 buyers?

  9. Chanel Turner says

    I’m doing a loan with a mortgage lender and using the HomeChoice DPA. The problem is, most properties need some repairs and some sellers aren’t willing to do them. Is there anyway I could get an FHA 203(k) loan with the DPA or maybe get a loan after this loan closes for updates to the property even if it passes inspection?

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