First-Time Home Buyer Programs


DC first-time homebuyer programs help make homeownership more accessible and affordable for first-time buyers in DC by alleviating some of the financial burdens associated with buying a home, contributing to the overall stability and growth of the local housing market.


DC Open Doors (DCOD) is your key to homeownership in the city. The program offers competitive interest rates and lower mortgage insurance costs on first trust mortgages. Financial assistance through DCOD is provided in the form of a deferred 0% non-amortizing (no monthly payments) loan that is due and payable upon any one of the following: thirty (30) years from the date of loan closing; sale or any transfer (by gift or otherwise) of the property to another person, business, or entity; property ceases to be your principal residence, or refinancing your first trust mortgage. You are not required to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify for DC Open Doors. You must, however, be purchasing a home in the District of Columbia to qualify.


The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) provides an additional incentive for first-time homebuyers to purchase a home in the District of Columbia. An MCC provides qualified borrowers the ability to claim a Federal Tax Credit of 20 percent of the mortgage interest paid during each calendar year.


DCHFA serves as a co-administrator of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) first-time homebuyer program HPAP. The program provides down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of interest-free loans to qualified applicants for the purchase of their primary residence, to include single-family houses, condominiums, or cooperative units.

Please see DHCD’s Household income standards and assistance amounts.



In Northern Virginia, first-time buyers with a maximum income of $97,520 for a household of one or two people, or $113,840 for a household with three or more people, can qualify for a down payment grant of 3 percent or 3.5 percent of the home price. The maximum home price to qualify for the grant is $500,000.

In Northern Virginia, many first-time home buyers opt for a Fannie Mae loan with a 3 percent down payment requirement and no mortgage insurance. Borrowers need to have a FICO score of 660 or above and, need to demonstrate that they can repay the loan.


Are you a first-time buyer who doesn’t qualify for the grant program? You may be eligible for an FHA Plus loan, which provides a down payment of 3 to 5 percent in the form of a second mortgage loan which is repaid over 30 years at a low interest rate.

The maximum income for FHA Plus in Northern Virginia is $125,700 for a household with one or two people or $146,700 for a household with three or more people. The maximum eligible home price is $500,000.


If you’re a first-time Virginia home buyer who used VHDA loan program to purchase your home and you meet the income and home price criteria of the FHA Plus program, you’re are eligible for a mortgage credit certificate.

This tax credit can be used for the entire time the borrowers keep the loan. It also gives them a credit — which is better than a deduction — on their federal income taxes for the first 20 percent of the mortgage interest they pay. They can still take a deduction on the other 80 percent of the mortgage interest paid. Because you can only use this credit if you have an actual tax liability, many higher-income borrowers in Northern Virginia are able to use this credit.



If you're looking to buy your first home in Maryland, take time to learn all about Maryland first-time home buyer grants and benefits including Smartbuy 2.0, the Maryland Mortgage Program, and the Maryland Homecredit. The Rutstein Group are experts in assisting Maryland first-time home buyers, so reach out with any questions.

Maryland SmartBuy helps homebuyers with qualifying student debt purchase a home. The program works by paying off student debt during the purchase of the home through special Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) financing. Maryland SmartBuy involves the purchase of move-in-ready homes currently owned by, and available from, the state of Maryland.Maryland SmartBuy 2.0 gives homebuyers an opportunity to purchase any home in Maryland that meets Maryland Mortgage Program guidelines while paying off student debt. This limited time program provides all of the student debt relief offered by the original Maryland SmartBuy while making more homes eligible for purchase.


The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) provides 30-year fixed-rate home loans to eligible homebuyers purchasing in Maryland. Loan terms are competitive with other home loan products on the market, but what makes MMP unique is the range of associated financial incentives and other assistance that, for many homebuyers, means the difference between being able to purchase and continuing to rent.


Eligible Maryland homebuyers can receive a mortgage credit certificate through the Maryland HomeCredit Program, offered by Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

A "Maryland HomeCredit” allows a homeowner to claim an annual federal tax credit equivalent to 25% of their mortgage interest payments in a given tax year. This can potentially save a homebuyer tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan, and makes owning a home more affordable. Together with a home loan through the Department’s Maryland Mortgage Program, which offers Down Payment Assistance and the certainty of a 30-year fixed interest rate, the State of Maryland is making the dream of sustainable homeownership a reality for more Marylanders.


Work With Us

The Rutstein Group is a team of experienced, licensed real estate agents. With a proven track record of getting results quickly and a direct line of communication at all times.

Follow Us on Instagram