Delaware First Time Home Buyer Programs

By Tony Cane

If you are a first time home buyer in the state of Delaware, you may have noticed a dearth of first time home buyer assistance programs. Unfortunately, unlike some other states that seem to have unlimited options, Delaware's choices are few and far between. In fact, the state offers only a single program on its own operating under the name of the Delaware First Time Home Buyers Program. However, don't be discouraged. One of the reasons for such a low number of programs is the size of the state. On the positive side, the first time home buyers program in Delaware does offer generous qualifications.

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA)

The DSHA is a public corporation established in 1968 as part of the Delaware State Department of Housing. The authority's mission is to provide financial assistance and support services needed in order to ensure responsible Delaware residents can purchase housing even if they are classified as low to moderate income. As part of their mission DSHA operates the First Time Home Buyers program as well as training programs and other services for first time home buyers.

First Time Home Buyers Program

As the name suggests, this low interest mortgage program is aimed squarely at those individuals or families who are purchasing their first home. That being said, Delaware is like several other states in that it is willing to make these loans available to repeat buyers, if said buyers agree to purchase their new home in an area targeted by the state for revitalization. Currently there are only eight such zones scattered throughout, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties. In order to be eligible for the first time home buyers program applicants must:

  • meet income requirements based on geographic location of the home and the number of persons living there.
  • meet purchase price requirements based on geographic location and number of livable units within the structure.
  • have a reasonably good credit score.
  • have demonstrably reliable employment.

All of the mortgages offered under this program are 30-year, fixed-rate loans provided by licensed banks and mortgage lenders. Some of the banks listed on the state website as being participants in the program include Bank of America, MetLife Home Loans, and Wells Fargo. If taking advantage of this program is something you think you may want to do, be sure to talk to your bank or mortgage lender about your circumstances.

City and County Programs

Some states offer first time home buyer programs at both the city and county level. Because of the size of the state of Delaware, it is assumed there are no county-wide programs available. If there are, they are not listed at this time on the DSHA website or any other directory used for the purposes of this review.

As for citywide grants, many medium and large-sized cities have been turning to low cost sales as a means of matching prospective new homeowners with old, abandoned homes. These programs typically match up the income of the first time home buyer with the eligible properties and then provide downpayment assistance, closing cost assistance, and a low interest mortgage. Unfortunately, many times such programs require a new homeowner to make the new house his primary residence for 10 years or more.

The best place to find out all the information you need is your real estate agent or your mortgage banker. These individuals are familiar with the programs and restrictions in Delaware; more so than any website you read or review you listen to. Be careful when a first time home buyers program seems too good to be true. Most of the time that really is the case. Instead, do some comparative shopping until you find the best loan for you, with the best rates and terms.