Maryland First Time Home Buyer Programs

By Tony Cane

First time home buyers in the state of Maryland have plenty of opportunities available to apply for assistance. In fact, in comparison to some other states with larger populations and geographical areas, Maryland does exceptionally well in this area. There are a wide variety of government-sponsored first time home buyer programs, private programs, and other opportunities that offer everything from down payment assistance to low-cost mortgages.

Your search for first time home buyers assistance in Maryland begins with the Department of Housing and Community Development. Within its large scope of responsibilities the department exists to help ensure safe and affordable housing to all residents of Maryland. Their mission includes collecting and distributing financial resources in ways that benefit all Maryland homeowners, including first time home buyers. Some of these resources come through federal grants, while others come from state funds and private investment. The department currently sponsors three programs of its own which are described in the following paragraphs.

CDA Maryland Mortgage Program

The CDA Maryland Mortgage Program is a low-interest financing program aimed at helping qualified individuals afford a new home. The program provides extremely low interest rates which can be as much as .75% less than standard rates. This program also offers down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified first-time buyers. There are some restrictions including income level, location of the house being purchased, and residence requirements.

Downpayment and Settlement Expense Loan Program (DSELP)

The DSELP program provides an interest-free loan to cover closing costs and down payment for first time home buyers. The program is administered through both the CDA Maryland Mortgage Program and third-party mortgages with designated partners. Only first time home buyers approved under CDA Maryland Mortgage rules qualify for this assistance regardless of where the mortgage is originated. Assistance can be as much as $5,000 and becomes a secondary loan on the property. It does not need to be repaid until the first mortgage is settled or the home is sold.

House Keys 4 Employees Program

This somewhat unique program pairs the Maryland Mortgage Program with participating employers who wish to help their workers buy their first home. The program provides a $5,000 DSELP loan, plus a $5,000 contribution from the employer and an additional dollar for dollar matching loan based on buyer contributions up to $2,500. The assistance provided by this program could be worth as much as $13,500 if all conditions are met.

Other Programs Available in Maryland

There are other down payment and closing costs assistance programs available to Maryland first-time home buyers at the county and local level. Some of these programs run on an ongoing basis and can be accessed by contacting the state or your individual county. Some of them may be sponsored by individual cities as a means of finding new owners for abandoned homes. In either case, be aware that many of these county and local programs have certain restrictions that may influence your decision about participating in them. Be sure you know the details of any program before you sign on to it.

Below is a partial list of programs listed on the HUD website currently being active in Maryland. Keep in mind that this list may not necessarily be up to date at time of reading, so conduct further research if needed.

  • Annapolis Homeownership Gap Financing Program (GAP)
  • Annapolis Homes for America Homeownership Closing Cost Program (HCC)
  • Anne Arundel County Arundel Community Development Services Inc Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP)
  • Baltimore Buying Into Baltimore Home Sale Program (BIB)
  • Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program
  • Baltimore County Incentive Purchase Program (IPP)
  • Baltimore Empowerment Zone Housing Venture Fund Program
  • Baltimore Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore Inc Closing Cost Loan Program (CCLP)
  • Charles County First Time Home Buyers Settlement Expense Loan Program (SELP)
  • Cumberland Neighborhood Housing Services Closing Cost Grant (CCG)
  • Rockville REACH Program (DAP)