Ready to buy? Not sure you should? Well, it’s time to get off the fence! The opportunity for first-time home buyers to purchase in one of the strongest real estate areas in the nation is NOW.  Why? You may not be aware, but the District of Columbia and Maryland offer a number of loan programs and incentives to first- time home buyers and state employees. Now is the time to take advantage of this close-to free money, before it is all gone.


The District of Columbia’s Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) offers low interest, five year deferred loans to qualified buyers with up to now $80,000 in financial assistance that can be used towards down payment and $4,000 towards their closing costs.  The Employer-Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) provides for all District of Columbia government employees matching down payment funds up to $5,000 and a deferred second trust loan up to $20,000. For more information on loan amounts, eligibility factors and how to apply, visit www. gwul.org.

The District also grants tax abatements to purchasers beginning in the next full tax year after filing.  That means you may be exempt from paying real estate taxes on your new home for 5 years! Here is another great part to this deal; you are exempt from paying the 1.1% (of the purchase price) recordation tax; and the seller’s 1.1% (of the purchase price) transfer tax is credited to you at settlement. Qualifying factors including household income limits and your sales purchase price is capped at $456,000. For more information, visit www. dc.gov.

Still need more incentive to buy now? Read on!  Did you know many lenders are offering credits of up to 3% to be used towards your closing cost for only a slightly higher interest rate? Even better, a qualifying credit on a conventional loan can be used towards the payment for an upfront single insurance premium, which would eliminate those monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments. Now that’s worth investigating! Make sure you consult with your lender to see if these and other options are available along with other conditions required for these types of credits.

The State of Maryland offers fixed interest loans for first time home buyers through their Maryland Community Development Administration (CDA) mortgage program. In addition to providing low interest rates, the state affords down-payment and closing cost assistance and special incentives for state employees. For more information, visit http://mmp.maryland.gov.  

National programs are available to our area as well.  The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) continues to provide one of the best loan programs around.  In addition to super low interest rates, NACA offers no down payment, no closing costs and no fees! This presents an exceptional savings to the buyer, giving you more money in your pocket for new furniture, custom paint, landscaping and anything else your heart desires to transfer your new house, into a home.   

Carla Labat is a full-time real estate agent with Long and Foster, Realtors.  To see how she can help you purchase your first home or sell your existing one, contact her at 202.361.8538  carla.labat@lnf.com, www.capitolhomesdc.com.