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7 Places to Find Down Payment Assistance (With Examples)

Places to find down payment assistance

One of the most confusing parts of down payment assistance (DPA) is where to find programs.

Unlike nationwide mortgages like FHA, conventional, and USDA home loans, you can’t contact any lender and expect the same DPA rules anywhere in the country.

States offer DPA programs, but some only work in certain counties, cities, or neighborhoods.

With all the complexity, first-time buyers wonder where they should start. Well, you can start right here.

While it would be impossible to cover all the rules and eligible locations of more than 1,600 active DPA programs nationwide, we can get you started on where to start looking.

1. Your State Housing Finance Agency

Every state in the U.S. has a housing finance agency (HFA). Most if not all offer down payment assistance programs for homebuyers purchasing within the state.

The best way to find your state’s HFA is at the National Conference of State Housing Boards' HFA locator map. Or more simply, just do a Google search for “down payment assistance [your state].”

Either method will turn up official websites where you can learn about programs in your area. Read through DPA requirements and take eligibility quizzes. In a few minutes, you’ll have an idea about whether you might qualify for any programs.


2. City and County Governments

Cities and counties have a vested interest in promoting strong communities and revitalizing neighbhorhoods.

Making homeownership easier is often the best way to accomplish these goals.

Even though city and county residents are eligible for state programs, smaller governments could offer bigger benefits to sweeten the pot for homebuyers in their communities. Extra money toward homeownership can combat high home prices in a given area or encourage owner-occupants in declining neighborhoods.


  • Seattle offers DPA of up to $55,000 for the purchase of homes within city limits.

  • Wayne County, Michigan issues assistance up to $14,999 to purchases within 37 communities.

  • Eligible Phoenix homebuyers can get a deferred loan up to 10% of the home price.

3. Non-Profits

National mortgage programs like Fannie Mae conventional loans and FHA allow you to receive assistance from non-profit organizations.

Some of these non-profits are nationwide while some operate locally. It could take some digging to find your local organization.


  • NeighborWorks has hundreds of local chapters that provide down payment assistance and other housing help in local communities.

  • A church, club, or another non-profit organization to which you belong may offer programs.

4. Employers

Employers are more successful when employees live close to where they work.

But for companies large and small, many employees don’t make enough to live within a reasonable distance. These “EAH” or Employer-Assistance Housing programs can help.

Employers can also use down payment assistance as a retention tool, offering loans that are forgiven after the employee stays with the company a certain amount of time.


  • Amazon has provided $2 billion in affordable loans and grants to help employees live near company locations.

  • Washington, D.C. employees may be eligible for a deferred down payment loan up to $20,000.

  • The University of Southern California grants monthly stipends totaling up to $50,000 over seven years to help faculty and staff afford a primary residence within defined communities.

5. Nationwide Lenders

A few nationwide lenders offer proprietary DPA programs that work in nearly every state. You must select them as your lender and meet qualifications.

Most often, these lenders charge higher rates and fees for the program, then credit additional profit back to you through a third-party organization.

Some programs are sponsored by nationwide agencies like Freddie Mac. Approved lenders administer the down payment assistance program.


  • DPA Advantage is offered by various mortgage brokers across the U.S. through a wholesale lender, AFR.

  • Freddie Mac’s BorrowSmart℠ is offered by approved lenders across the U.S. It gives $2,500 in down payment assistance for buyers making 50% or less of their area’s median income.

6. Local Banks and Credit Unions

The small bank or credit union based in your town might be able to get you into a home.

Many create proprietary programs for members requiring smaller down payments, grants, and down payment loans.


7. Native American Tribal Agencies

There are 574 recognized Native American Tribes in the U.S., and many of them offer housing assistance to Tribal members.

Often, these programs are even more generous than those offered by state, city, or county agencies.


  • Cowlitz Tribal members in Washington State may be eligible for up to $35,000 toward a down payment.

  • The Cherokee Nation Housing Authority offers $20,000 to eligible buyers of homes over 540 square feet on less than five acres.

Where Will You Find DPA?

If you’re a first-time buyer with moderate income, it’s very likely you qualify for a DPA program from one of the many sources listed above.

Contact a lender to learn more and see what home you can afford.

About The Author:

Tim Lucas spent 11 years in the mortgage industry and now leverages that real-world knowledge to give consumers reliable, actionable advice. Tim has been featured in national publications such as Time, U.S. News, MSN, The Mortgage Reports, and more.

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