1. Learn about this resource. 

Prospective homebuyers can receive a loan to help with their down payment and closing costs. The repayment of the loan is deferred, meaning that you don’t have to repay the amount until 30 years later, when you move, when you sell the home, or when you refinance—whichever happens first. When homebuyers receive this loan, their mortgage is financed through the DC Housing Finance Agency.


The down payment loan covers the gap between the home’s purchase price and the amount you’re approved to borrow for your mortgage. For example, if your home’s purchase price is $400,000 and you’re approved for a $350,000 mortgage, The District can provide a loan for up to $50,000. In addition, up to $2,500 in closing costs, including taxes, insurance, and other fees you pay when you close on a home (learn about the homebuying process), can be added to the down payment loan.


This program is called DC Open Doors and is offered by the DC Housing Finance Agency.

2. Check if you are eligible.

You are eligible if all of these statements are true:

  • You have a minimum credit score of 640.

  • Your yearly gross income—your income before paying taxes—is at or below $151,200. This includes money from working, government assistance, child support, and any other sources for everyone who will be listed as a borrower on the mortgage.

  • Your debt-to-income ratio is less than 50%. This means that your monthly debt payments (such as car payments, minimum due on credit card balances, and student loan payments) are less than half of your monthly income.

  • You are purchasing a single-family home, condominium, or other property with up to four units (such as a duplex) in DC to live in as your main residence.

  • You do not own a home when you apply for the program.

You do not need to be a current DC resident or a first-time homebuyer to apply.

get a loan up to $52,500 to buy a home?


3. Apply.

  1. Contact an approved lender that partners with DC Open Doors.
  2. Your lender will verify that you qualify for the program.
In most instances, you’ll find a lender before you start househunting, and they could qualify you for the program then. A lender that partners with the program must verify your eligibility for the program and apply on your behalf at least five days before you close on a home (learn about the homebuying process).

4. Gather more information.

What happens after I apply?

  1. You make an offer on a property, and it’s accepted. That means you’re under contract on a home!
  2. Your lender gives you loan disclosures to sign.
  3. The lender reserves your mortgage loan rate in the program portal.
  4. The lender applies for the down payment loan in the program portal, at least five days before closing.
  5. DC Housing Finance Agency confirms your eligibility, within one to two days.
  6. The lender receives documents for you to sign.
  7. DC Housing Finance Agency wires your down payment to the title company.
  8. Two to three days before closing, you wire any part of the down payment or closing costs not covered by the program to the title company.
  9. You go to the settlement and sign the deed to close on the home.
  10. You own your home!

Are there any additional requirements I should know about?

  • You have to own the home for at least five years.
  • You have to repay the loan if any of these occur:
    • It has been 30 years since you received the loan.
    • You sell or transfer the property (by gift or otherwise) to another person, business, or entity.
    • The property is no longer your main residence.
    • You have refinanced your mortgage.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

First, take a look at the frequently asked questions at the bottom of the page. If you still have questions, please reach out to the DC Open Doors team by email at singlefamilyprograms@dchfa.org.

I still need help preparing to buy a home. What should I do?

You can find information about other resources that might help on our homebuying resources page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What costs of buying a home aren’t covered by the program? You may need to pay part of the down payment to the title company when your offer is accepted to show you’re serious. The amount of this payment, called an earnest money deposit, varies. Your real estate agent can advise on what to put in your offer. Within a few weeks of your offer being accepted, you’ll have the option to pay for a home inspection to make sure the property is safe and functional. When you close on your home (learn about the homebuying process), you may also have to pay closing costs, including taxes, insurance, and other fees, that aren’t covered by the program. Whose income counts towards the eligibility criteria? Only the borrower or borrowers’ income is considered for the eligibility criteria. This is not based on total household income. There is no limit to the number of people that can live in the home. Spouse information is not required to apply unless they’re also a borrower on the mortgage. Can I use other assistance programs with DC Open Doors? Yes. You can use other programs to help with a home purchase at the same time as DC Open Doors. I’ve used DC Open Doors in the past. Can I purchase a new home with the program? Yes. You can use the program again as long as you do not own a home when you close on your new home (learn about the homebuying process) with DC Open Doors.

Do all eligible applicants receive the loan?

Yes, all eligible applicants can receive a loan.

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Keywords: homebuying assistance, deferred loan, down payment, closing costs, title fees, homeowner's insurance, credit score, income limits, mortgage, buying a home, homebuyer, first-time homeowner


This page was last updated February 2021.