As the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. attracts homebuyers from across the country. First-time homebuyers in the District can utilize the DC Open Doors program, which features down payment assistance and federal tax credits. Learn more about how you can qualify here.
The District of Columbia is a special place. It’s the United States’ capital – the center of all the action for the federal government. It’s also an international city, home to embassies of nations from around the globe. Even its jurisdiction is unique, not being a state but rather a special, federal district.
While you’re probably familiar with all of these common characteristics of the District, you may not know that it can also be the perfect place to start a family or grow your budding career. For as varied as people’s reasons are for moving to DC, there’s a single program that appeals to all first-time homebuyers planning a move to the area: DC Open Doors.
We will introduce you to this unique program, explain how to qualify for it, share key benefits, and help you get started when you’re ready.
What is the DC Open Doors Program?
The DC Open Doors Program is a unique program for first-time and move-up homebuyers offered by the DC Housing Finance Agency. The DCHFA invests in affordable housing and neighborhood development with the goal of helping residents transform their lives by attaining homeownership.
The agency was established in 1979, and as of 2019 has funded more than 50,000 affordable housing units through the District’s eight wards.
What are the Benefits of DC Open Doors Financing?
Like many first-time buyer programs, DC Open Doors aims to solve the pain points that many first-time or move-up homebuyers face. These include:
Down Payment Assistance. There are opportunities for a Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) to cover the full amount of your minimum down payment, reducing your costs to close.
Federal Tax Credits. There is an option for a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC), which can lower your federal taxes through a tax credit on 20% of your mortgage interest paid each year.
Flexible Qualifying Criteria. The program offers flexible qualifying criteria to support the mission of the DCHFA.
How Do I Qualify for the DC Open Doors Program?
You can qualify as either a first-time or move-up buyer. First-time buyers are generally defined as someone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years.
The program is open to all neighborhoods and wards of the District, and to both current and new residents. In addition to these basic eligibility requirements, the DCHFA has outlined the current qualifications:
- Minimum credit score of 640.
- Maximum income of $154,800, based on the borrower’s income only, not including household income.
- Maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 50%.
How Can I Learn More or Get Started?
The DCHFA hosts several in-person seminars and online webinars to help interested homebuyers learn more about the program. Check out their informational sessions section to sign up for an event in your area or an online event that works with your schedule.