Down Payment Assistance: How It Works, Where to Find It

Home buyers can apply for down payment assistance through state and local programs. Grants and forgivable loans are available.
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Written by Barbara Marquand
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Down Payment Assistance Hw to Get Help Buying a House 2

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Nerdy takeaways
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance can be a grant or loan, commonly from state housing finance agencies.

  • Other sources include nonprofits, local governments, credit unions, banks, mortgage lenders or employers.

  • Many, but not all, programs are exclusive to first-time home buyers. Many programs set income limits.

  • Want to find a program near you? Check out our nationwide list of first-time homebuyer programs.

Nerdy takeaways
  • Down payment and closing cost assistance can be a grant or loan, commonly from state housing finance agencies.

  • Other sources include nonprofits, local governments, credit unions, banks, mortgage lenders or employers.

  • Many, but not all, programs are exclusive to first-time home buyers. Many programs set income limits.

  • Want to find a program near you? Check out our nationwide list of first-time homebuyer programs.

If you want to become a homeowner but don’t have enough cash for a down payment, a down payment assistance program might be able to help. Assistance is available to help with closing costs, too.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to common sources of down payment and closing cost assistance and how to see if you qualify.

Mortgage loans from our partners

NBKC - PURCHASE logo
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NBKC

5.0

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NBKC - PURCHASE logo

5.0

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Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
0%

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on NBKC

Rocket Mortgage - PURCHASE logo
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on Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

5.0

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Rocket Mortgage - PURCHASE logo

5.0

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Min. credit score 
580

Min. down payment 
3.5%

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on Rocket Mortgage

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on Better

Better

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Better - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

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on Better

Tomo - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Tomo

Tomo

4.0

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Tomo - PURCHASE logo

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
580

Min. down payment 

3%

Check Rate

on Tomo

Guaranteed Rate - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate - PURCHASE logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on Guaranteed Rate

Mortgage loans from our partners

NBKC - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on NBKC

NBKC

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC - PURCHASE logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
0%

Check Rate

on NBKC

Rocket Mortgage - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Rocket Mortgage - PURCHASE logo

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
580

Min. down payment 
3.5%

Check Rate

on Rocket Mortgage

Better - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Better

Better

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Better - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on Better