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>Yes, Virginia…There Are Affordable Home-Buying Programs

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Many first-time buyers may be daunted by the cost of some Virginia communities, but you may be surprised that many of these localities provide assistance programs just for first-timers and those with moderate incomes.

Buying a home in Virginia can be a good deal if you know where to look for money-saving programs (and you don’t have to wait for Santa Claus!).

This is my continuing SUPER Summer Series on Local Home ownership Programs. Today, we look at Virginia. I’ve made it easier for you with this handy list (and internet links) of statewide programs and ones for specific communities.

Virginia Home Buying Programs:

Statewide Programs

HOME ownership Down Payment Assistance Program
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development assist home buyers with down payment and closing costs. Individuals and families whose income is at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income can qualify. For example, a homebuyer meeting the income eligibility may receive up to10 percent of the purchase price of a home to go toward the down payment, plus up to $2,500 to pay for the cost of closing. The HOMEownership Down Payment Assistance program operates through local partnerships with governmental entities, nonprofit housing service providers, and mortgage lenders.


Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Loans
Discounted first mortgage monies are available through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) for first-time homebuyers who are credit-eligible and can qualify for VHDA financing. These discounted first-time mortgages are originated through a VHDA-approved lender. Some loans don’t require a down payment. VHDA loans also provide high loan-to-value options, flexible underwriting, and down payment and closing cost assistance, plus interest rates are fixed for 30 years. All loans have maximum income and sales price limits and/or loan limits, which vary according to where the home is located. These fixed-rate loans include Conventional, FHA, VA, Rural Housing and FHA.


Virginia Individual Development Accounts (VIDA) Program
This program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), encourages savings and personal financial planning for low-income individuals. Individual development accounts (IDAs) provide matching funds for individuals saving into a designated account for a specific purpose, such as homeownership, education, or business start-up. Matching funds are provided to encourage saving and to help individuals build assets more quickly.

Arlington County Housing
The first two steps in applying for any of the following programs are essentially the same. Anyone wishing to use these programs must complete an assessment form and attend a class covering the basics of home ownership.

Notification List for Affordable Properties
Affordable Dwelling Units (ADUS) are sold at below market prices throughout the County. Eligible buyers are chosen from the notification list at random and given the opportunity to buy these properties. This is basically a lottery system.


Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP)
MIPAP can provide first-time buyers with up to 25% of the purchase price to assist with the down payment and closing costs. These funds are allocated by lottery. To qualify, total household income cannot exceed the HUD Metropolitan area moderate income limits according to family size. MIPAP applicants must contribute a minimum of 1% of the purchase price of the home from their own funds towards the purchase of an eligible property. No payments and no interest through the 30 year loan period.

Alexandria Office of Housing

Home ownership Assistance Program
This program for lower-income home buyers offers second-trust loans of up to $50,000 for principal and interest write-downs, down payment assistance and settlement costs for the purchase of an attached or detached single-family home, condominium or share in a cooperative. Purchasers must contribute $2,000 or more of their own funds toward the down payment and/or settlement costs. This program provides no-interest loans with repayment deferred for 99 years or until the property is sold, whichever comes first. To qualify, households must meet the federal Section 8 Low Income limits, and have lived and/or worked in the City of Alexandria for at least six months.


Moderate Income Home ownership (MIHP) Program
This program offers second-trust loans of up to $30,000 for down payment assistance and settlement costs for the purchase of a single-family home, condominium or share in a cooperative. To qualify, household must meet certain income requirements and have lived and/or worked in the City of Alexandria for at least six months.

Purchasers must contribute $3,000 or more of their own funds toward the down payment and/or settlement costs. This program is funded with monies from the City’s Housing Trust Fund, which consists of contributions from private real estate developers who have completed development or redevelopment projects in the City.

Fairfax County Housing and Community Development


First-Time Home buyers Program (FTHB)
This program offers affordably priced town homes and condominiums – both new and resale – to first-time home buyers with moderate to low incomes. The FTHB Program is a component of the Affordable Dwelling Unit Program (ADU). Homes are offered at sale prices well below the sale price of other homes in the same development.

City of Falls Church Housing and Human Services Division

Affordable Dwelling Units (ADUs)
The ADU program provides affordable home purchase and rental opportunities in the City. Under the program, the City can offer homes at prices well below market value to households with low and moderate incomes. The value and resale price of the ownership properties are restricted for 15 to 30 years.

Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance (City CDBG Funds)
The Housing and Human Services Division uses federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to provide home ownership assistance. The assistance will be in the form of a deferred second mortgage loan up to $20,000 with no interest. The loan repayment occurs when the home is resold.

As you can see, Virginia has some excellent assistance programs for first-time buyers.

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