All Things Home FinancingReal Estate Tips for Buyers January 31, 2024

Unlocking the Door to Homeownership: Down Payment Assistance Programs in Washington State

Owning a home is a dream for many, but the initial hurdle of a down payment can feel insurmountable. Fortunately, numerous down payment assistance programs in Washington State can bridge that gap and make your dream a reality.

This blog post dives into these programs, empowering you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the path to homeownership.

Eligibility: Opening the Doorway to Opportunity

The first step is to understand if you qualify. Many programs have income limitations, typically based on the area’s median income. For example, the Home Advantage DPA program considers households earning up to $180,000 eligible. Additionally, a credit score of at least 620 is often required. Remember, these are general guidelines, and specific requirements may vary.

Types of Assistance: A Spectrum of Support

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) offers various programs tailored to different needs. Here’s a glimpse into some of the most popular options:

  • Home Advantage DPA: This program provides a second mortgage loan with a 0% to 4% interest rate, depending on the program option. Payment is often deferred until you sell, refinance, or transfer the property. The best part? Now one-unit OR two-unit (duplex / home + ADU) Single-Family Residences located in the state of Washington may be financed under this program. A buyer must intend to occupy one of the units, however.

  • Opportunity DPA: This program is specifically designed for first-time homebuyers with income limitations, offering up to $15,000 in assistance.

    • MAXIMUM INCOME LIMIT as of 5/17/2023

      COUNTY 1-2 persons 3+ Persons
      King/Snohomish $80,750 $100,900
      Clark/Kitsap/Pierce/Skamania/Thurston/Whatcom $72,200 $90,200
      All other counties $59,150 $73,900

      Borrowers must attend a Commission-sponsored homebuyer seminar before reserving funds. Cash back to borrowers is not allowed.


      Eligible households may qualify for a maximum loan amount of up to $15,000 based on need. There is no assessment of need for Veterans to be eligible. A participating loan officer can help you determine the sales price you can afford, how much cash you will need to close, and how much you can borrow.

  • Veterans DPA: Recognizing the sacrifices of our veterans, this program provides up to $10,000 in down payment assistance.

  • HomeChoice DPA: This program caters to individuals with disabilities or those with a disabled family member living in the home, offering up to $15,000 in assistance.

Beyond Eligibility: Additional Programs to Consider

Several other programs deserve mention:

  • FHA loans: These loans allow for a down payment as low as 3.5%, making them an attractive option for many buyers.

  • USDA loans: For eligible rural areas, USDA loans require no down payment at all.

  • Local and community-based programs: Many cities and counties offer their own down payment assistance programs.

    • The City of Tacoma offers a down payment assistance program specifically designed to address disparities in homeownership rates for Black households.

      Key features of the program:

      • No-interest loan: Up to $60,000 in down payment assistance is provided as a 25-year, no-interest loan.
      • Targeted to Black households: The program aims to serve at least 65% Black households.
      • Income eligibility: Households must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (see table below).
      • First-time homebuyers: Only first-time homebuyers are eligible.
      • Homebuyer education: Applicants must complete at least four homebuyer workshops.
      • Limited availability: The program is currently accepting pre-applications until December 20, 2023.

      Income Eligibility Table:

      Household Size Max Income (80%)
      1 $60,200
      2 $68,800
      3 $77,400
      4 $86,000
      5 $92,900
      6 $99,800

      For more information and to apply, visit the City of Tacoma’s website:

a new loan product to increase purchasing power and help bridge the affordability gap facing Black/African American homebuyers.

  • Sam Smith “Hi Neighbor” Homeownership Fund I, along with my office, Windermere Abode, donate to this fund with every real estate transaction I facilitate and close successfully.
    • HomeSight is working with Windermere Real Estate, U.S. Bank, and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, and together we are increasing Black/African American homeownership in Washington State.
    • HomeSight identifies borrowers who qualify for the Sam Smith fund and grants up to $12,000 to use towards their home purchase costs. The loans can be layered on top of the buyer’s existing mortgage loans or work in conjunction with other HomeSight purchase assistance programs. Sam Smith deferred loans are repayable in thirty years, when the homeowner refinances, or when they sell. Once the loans are paid off, HomeSight resolves the funds, ensuring availability to future borrowers.

Statistics: Painting a Clear Picture

The numbers tell a compelling story. In Washington, the average down payment for first-time homebuyers is around 6% to 7% of the purchase price. Down payment assistance programs are crucial in making homeownership accessible, with 39.5% of borrowers in 2023 utilizing this valuable resource.

Remember, you’re not alone.

Numerous organizations are dedicated to helping you on your homeownership journey. The WSHFC website is an excellent starting point, offering program details, eligibility requirements, and a wealth of educational resources. Additionally, non-profit organizations like NeighborWorks America and Habitat for Humanity can provide guidance and support.

Taking the First Step: Your Pathway to Homeownership

Now that you understand down payment assistance programs more clearly, it’s time to take action! Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Assess your eligibility. Research the programs mentioned above and determine which ones you might qualify for.
  2. Connect with a lender: A qualified mortgage professional can guide you through the loan process and help you choose the right down payment assistance program for your needs.
  3. Gather your documents: Start collecting income verification documents, tax returns, and other paperwork required for the loan application process.
  4. Seek counseling: Homeownership counseling can provide valuable education and support throughout your journey.

Empowering You to Unlock Your Dream

At Windermere Abode, we believe everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their dream of homeownership. Down payment assistance programs are powerful tools that can make that dream a reality. By understanding your options, taking the necessary steps, and connecting with the right resources, you can unlock the door to your own piece of the American Dream.

Remember, Spencer and his team are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today to discuss your homeownership goals and explore the possibilities ahead! Call or text 253-254-6044

Let’s turn that dream of homeownership into an address!

Additional resources to check out:

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice.