Down Payment Assistance Programs - Helping You Buy Your First Home!

January 29, 2018



If you are thinking of buying your first home in Richmond Virginia this year, but don't think you can because you don't have enough money to help with the down payment, there is great news for you!  Grant programs, or down payment assistance programs, are starting to roll out as a way to help you with your first home!


In Richmond we are very fortunate to have a lot of options available!  But it is important that you talk to your Realtor about these programs.  Not all Realtors are familiar with the various grant programs available to you, and not all lenders offer the same ones.  Each grant program have different qualifications and different guidelines.  Some are programs that are offered in house, some are offered by non profits!  And there are more opportunities coming up each month!


Below are some of the grant programs available, or soon to be available, as well as some great websites to check out!


Virginia Housing Development Authority (or VHDA)

VHDA is a wonderful resource that we have here in Virginia and in Richmond!  Their loans are only for first time homebuyers (or someone who has not owned a house in the last 3 years).  In addition to the great loan programs that they offer, they also offer down payment assistance options for the first time homebuyer!  And finally, if the lender you use is one of the authorized lenders, a buyer using VHDA loan in conjunction with a VHDA grant may also be eligible for the Mortgage Credit Certificate, which is a great way to reduce your taxes in the future for as long as you have your VHDA loan!  For more information on the VHDA loans and grant programs available, please visit their website!


Housing Opportunities Made Equal (or HOME)

HOME is another wonderful resource that we have here in Virignia.  HOME offers a number of different grant programs as well as homebuyer education classes.  And if your credit score needs a little bit of help, they will help you make the needed changes to get your credit score back up so that you are able to purchase a home!  HOME has also partnered with the Bon Secours Health System to offer down payment assistance programs for home purchases in certain zip codes here in Richmond.  For more information on their grants & what they can do for you, please visit their website!


Southside Community Housing Development Center (or SCHDC)

Another non profit in the Richmond area that is helping with grant programs for first time home buyers comes from the Southside Community Development Center!  Another wonderful resource for us here in Richmond!  In addition, Southside Community also has partnered with other non profits such as the Better Housing Coalition and project:HOMES to provide new homes and rehabbed existing homes  in parts of the City of Richmond as well as Henrico County and Chesterfield County!  For more information on these programs and homes, visit the Southside Community website, the Better Housing Coalition website and the project:HOMES website.  


City of Richmond Down Payment Assistance Programs

If you are buying in the City of Richmond, there may be some down payment assistance programs that could assist you.  Each of these programs will have their own qualifications, and some of these may be limited to particular zip codes or neighborhoods.  But some examples of programs that may be available may include the Neighborhoods in Bloom program as well the NOW program and even the Neighbor Works Program.  In addition, the City of Richmond offers a Tax Abatement program which can be an abatement of taxes on the increased equity of a rehabbed program for either 7 or 10 years, depending upon the location of the property.  Visit the city website to find out more about the tax abatement program from the city of Richmond!


Maggie Walker Land Trust Program

This is a very interesting program that I only recently learned about and may be a great way for someone looking in some parts of the city, such as Church Hill, Jackson Ward or Carver, to be able to purchase their first home!  There are income qualifications and not all lenders are able to do this.  In fact, to the best of my knowledge, as of today, there are only 2 lenders locally offering financing for this program.  But if you are looking to buy in one of these areas, this may present a great opportunity to get into your first home and have a mortgage payment that is less than rent!  The way this one works is that you, the buyer, purchase the house only, but lease the land that the house is sitting on.  The lease is with the Maggie Walker Land Trust.  Because of this type of financing is not the normal financing, only 2 lenders have loan programs that will work with this.  But it is definitely an exciting new opportunity that we are seeing here in the Richmond area and may be a great way for you to get into that first home.  And you can even use some grant programs that are being offered through HOME!  See the website for information on the Maggie Walker Land Trust program!


First Home Loan Bank grants

There are several banks locally that offer the First Home Loan Bank grants.  There are 2 different First Home Loan Bank grants:  the ones from the First Home Loan Bank of Atlanta and ones from the First Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh!  These grant funds are provided to the local banks who are members of their network.  This usually means that the smaller banks will be the ones offering these funds - banks like Village Bank, Towne Bank, C&F Mortgage, Fulton Mortgage.  You will not find those grant funds from a company like Wells Fargo or Bank of America or Suntrust!  In addition, some of these banks may also have some in house grant funds that can be used in conjunction with the other grant programs and special loans for first time homebuyers!  When talking to a lender, ask them if they offer any grant programs and just what they are!


Virginia First Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program

Several years ago, the Virginia Realtors Association supported a law in the state of Virginia that allows first time homebuyers to save up to $50,000, which can grow tax free to $150,000, to be applied to their first home purchase!  This is a great way for first time homebuyers who are not yet quite ready to buy their first home, but want to move forward in saving towards the down payment, to do so without any taxes on the growth in equity that the money.  The Richmond Association of Realtors has a great brochure explaining the savings account program!


As you can see, there are lots of programs out there to help you purchase your first home!  Home ownership is definitely not out of reach in the Richmond area!  But keep in mind, not all lenders are familiar with these programs, and not all Realtors are familiar with these programs.  As a Realtor who works with a lot of first time homebuyers throughout the Richmond area, I have made it my business to keep up with all the ways there are to help my home buyers purchase their first home!


Thinking of buying a home?  Have questions about buying your first home?  Want a referral to lenders who specialize in helping first time home buyers?  Feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help!








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Barbara A. Reagan


Long & Foster Realtors

2931 Polo Pkwy

Midlothian, VA  23113

Phone:  804-869-1191


Barbara A. Reagan - Long & Foster Realtors - 2931 Polo Pkwy - Midlothian, VA  23113