by Brandon Scott
Recently, someone left a comment on my YouTube Channel about the Gaithersburg homebuyer assistance program and her use of it to purchase her home. From the comment, I could tell she was excited, and this little gem got me thinking. First, I don’t know anything about that particular program and second, I probably should learn a thing or two about it. So, I spent a few hours researching and whipped up this article to describe it for everyone.
Hey guys I’m Brandon, Your Trusted Realtor, and I’m going to walk you through the Gaithersburg Homebuyer Assistance Loan Program highlighting things you should know to help with your success.
The Gaithersburg Homebuyer Assistance Loan Program (GHALP) provides closing cost and down payment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers who purchase within the City of Gaithersburg corporate limits.
This begins with living in the corporate limits for at least one year, or work within the corporate limits. This is important to know that in order to access these funds; you have to already be a resident within the corporate limits of Gaithersburg. Notice I keep saying “corporate limits”, that becomes clearer as we move forward. Exception to the locality requirement includes certain priority populations like teachers, police and veterans.
This program is available to first time homebuyers that have not owned a home within the last five (5) years. So, technically, you could use this program if the last time you owned a home was greater than five (5) years. Now, if any of you are familiar with my other articles or videos you know that the federal definition for a first-time home buyer is three (3) years from previous ownership; making this program more restrictive than federal requirements. It’s important to note that the city of Gaithersburg is different from the corporate limits and this particular home assistance loan program applies to those individuals that want to buy a home within the corporate limits. Here’s a link to identify if the property you want is within the corporate limits.
Additional requirements include submitting a pre-application, which can be found on their website. Plus, you must have a minimum credit score of 620. The minimum credit score, here, is the qualification for Gaithersburg’s program and does not reflect what a lender will require you to have.
In order to access the funds, you must use an approved lender with the city of Gaithersburg. Also, you must complete a qualified home buyer program and submit documentation of that to the lender and as part of your package to Gaithersburg city officials. Per their website, they’ve automated the package submission process and applicants can upload their information into the city’s web portal for processing. To complete your education requirement, here are a couple of their approved providers,
A potential participants income will be a factor in approval or denial for this program/. Like many down payment assistance programs, the goal is to assist those that need it some assistance getting into a home. In the chart below, income maximum and household size are factored into approval or disapproval for the program.
Income Maximums by Household Size
1 Person. 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person
$85,000 $97,050 $109,200 $121,300 $131,010
Of course, the pressing question for every reader, how much can I get? Well, with the income requirements met you can qualify for up to $25,000; however, the down payment and closing are limited to 10% of the sale price. Let’s discuss some additional nuances related to getting the funds. The amount granted is driven by another factor, location. If the property is in a standard zone, then you can receive up to $12,000. But, if you’re in an opportunity zone you’ll be eligible for up to $25,000. The link above with the corporate limits also includes those two zones.
Based on my research, this program doesn’t preclude you from using other down payment programs, so keep that in mind as you go along the process. Keep in mind, your lender will need to be registered with any program you’re receiving down payment funds from.
This is another option available to individuals that are looking to relocated to a specific community. And, this is a great example of additional resources to access capital to fill the gap between closing cost and down payment assistance. In fact, let’s look at a real scenario. If you’re in the Gaithersburg area or work there, you could access between $12,000 and $25,000. Plus, tack on the Maryland Mortgage Program, and you’re, potentially, looking at enough down payment assistance to get you into a conventional loan. What does this mean? Well, you wouldn’t have to pay the monthly mortgage insurance premium, saving yourself several hundreds of dollars per month. Just one way of thinking creatively to solve your needs.
Brandon Scott is a licensed real estate agent in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. His license hangs with Coldwell Banker Dupont-Logan, DC. He’s been involved in the mortgage finance industry for the last 16 years in various fields. You can reach him by email at Brandon@bmscott.com. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel at RealTea DMV