First-Time Homebuyer Programs and Grants in Northern Virginia

Discover essential programs for first-time homebuyers in Northern Virginia, offering grants and assistance to ease the path to homeownership.

Entering the Northern Virginia real estate market as a first-time homebuyer presents unique opportunities and challenges.

This bustling and dynamic region, known for its proximity to the nation’s capital and a thriving job market, can be a complex landscape to navigate for new buyers. Recognizing this, Northern Virginia offers a range of specialized programs aimed at assisting first-time homebuyers. 

In this article, we focus specifically on these initiatives, exploring how they cater to the needs of those looking to purchase their first home. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the available loans and assistance programs in Northern Virginia, helping first-time buyers smoothly transition into homeownership in one of the most sought-after regions in the Commonwealth.

VHDA Down Payment Assistance Grant

The Down Payment Assistance Grant offered by Virginia Housing is a significant resource for first-time homebuyers, providing essential funds to make the transition into homeownership more achievable. This grant addresses one of the most common barriers faced by new buyers: accumulating enough money for a down payment.

Key Features and Benefits of the Grant:

Grant Amount

The maximum grant provided is between 2% to 2.5% of the purchase price of the home. The exact amount depends on the type of Virginia Housing mortgage loan the homebuyer receives.


One of the most attractive features of this grant is that it does not have to be repaid. This distinguishes it from a loan, making it a true financial gift to the homebuyer.

Eligibility for First-Time Homebuyers

The grant is specifically targeted at individuals who are purchasing a home for the first time.

Use with Virginia Housing Loans

To qualify for the grant, the funds must be used in conjunction with an eligible Virginia Housing mortgage loan.

Income Limits

The income of all household members must not exceed the set limits for Virginia Housing loans. The maximum income is $97,520 for a household of one or two people, or $113,840 for a household with three or more people.

Mortgage Lock Requirement

The homebuyer must have their Virginia Housing mortgage locked in before they can reserve grant funds. This ensures that the grant is used in tandem with a Virginia Housing mortgage product.

VHDA Closing Cost Assistance Grant

The Closing Cost Assistance Grant, offered by Virginia Housing, is designed to alleviate the burden of closing costs for borrowers who are applying for Rural Housing Service (RHS) or Veterans Affairs (VA) loans. This grant enhances the affordability of these 100% financing programs, making them even more accessible for first-time homebuyers.

Key Features and Benefits of the Grant

Grant Amount

The grant offers a maximum of 2% of the home’s purchase price. This contribution can significantly reduce the amount of cash buyers need to close on their home.


Similar to the Down Payment Assistance Grant, this grant is a gift that does not require repayment, easing the financial pressure on new homeowners.

Use of Funds

The grant can be applied to various closing costs, including the RHS guarantee fee or the VA funding fee. This flexibility allows buyers to address some of the more substantial costs associated with finalizing a home purchase.

Enhanced Negotiating Power

Possessing this grant may provide buyers with added leverage when negotiating contracts for RHS and VA loans.

Eligibility Criteria

  • First-Time Homebuyer. The grant is targeted at individuals who have not owned a home in the past three years.
  • Specific Loan Types. It is essential that this grant be used in conjunction with an RHS or VA loan obtained through Virginia Housing.
  • Income Limits. The total household income must not exceed the set limits for Virginia Housing loans. These limits vary depending on location and household size.

  • Mortgage Lock Requirement. Similar to the Down Payment Assistance Grant, the mortgage must be locked in before reserving grant funds.

Government Loan Programs for First-Time Homebuyers in Northern Virginia

Virginia Housing offers a suite of government loan programs that are particularly beneficial for first-time homebuyers in Northern Virginia. These programs, designed to reduce the financial burden of purchasing a home, can be paired with various Virginia Housing grants.

Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Loans

FHA-insured loans are an excellent option for first-time buyers, especially due to their flexible credit requirements, potentially allowing credit scores as low as 620. The minimum down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5%, but with Virginia Housing’s Down Payment Assistance Grant, this can be reduced to as low as 1%. 

Additionally, the Plus Second Mortgage program can eliminate the down payment requirement altogether. The maximum income for FHA Plus in Northern Virginia is $125,700 for a household with one or two people or $146,700 for a household with three or more people. These loans are particularly attractive due to their accessibility and lower down payment options.

Rural Housing Service (USDA) Loans

For those looking at homes in suburban or rural areas of Northern Virginia, USDA-guaranteed loans offer 100% financing for eligible properties. These loans are eligible for Virginia Housing’s Closing Cost Assistance Grant, reducing the amount of cash needed at closing. USDA loans are favored for their affordable monthly payments and low mortgage insurance, making them a cost-effective option for eligible rural and suburban homebuyers.

Veterans Administration (VA) Loans

VA-guaranteed loans provide 100% financing for eligible veterans, making them an ideal choice for those who have served in the military. These loans are also eligible for the Closing Cost Assistance Grant offered by Virginia Housing. The VA loans stand out for their liberal credit qualifying criteria, with potential acceptance of credit scores as low as 620.

Virginia Housing Plus Second Mortgage

This innovative program addresses the down payment challenge by pairing an eligible Virginia Housing first mortgage with a second mortgage. The second mortgage can range from 3% to 5% of the purchase price, depending on the borrower’s credit score and the type of first mortgage. For buyers with credit scores of 680 or higher, this program also allows financing of a portion of the closing costs.

Virginia Housing Loan Combo

This unique combination offers an affordable home loan paired with a down payment grant and a free homebuyer class. It’s a comprehensive package specifically designed for first-time buyers, providing a holistic approach to home financing and education about homeownership. This combination is an exclusive offering in Virginia, tailored to meet the diverse needs of first-time homebuyers.

ONE Street Can Help

In the dynamic real estate market of Northern Virginia, ONE Street agents offer invaluable assistance to first-time homebuyers by leveraging their extensive knowledge of local loan and assistance programs. With their deep understanding of options like the VHDA Mortgage Credit Certificate, down payment assistance grants, and various government loan programs, these agents provide personalized recommendations tailored to each buyer’s unique financial and housing needs.



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