Generally, downpayment assistance programs that use Office of Housing funds will require the following eligibility and property selection criteria:
You should confirm specific eligibility and property selection criteria with the downpayment assistance program you will be using. This information also can be found in our printable downpayment assistance brochure.
Household Income Limits
Your household must earn LESS than 80% of area median income by household size (as shown in the Income Limits spreadsheet) to be eligible.
If you have questions about how to determine your household income, or if your income is very close to the income limit showing for your family size, check with one of our program partners first before ruling yourself out!
A first-time homebuyer for the City's downpayment assistance program is defined as:
- Any individual who has not owned a home during the past three-years
a) any individual who is a displaced homemaker may not be excluded because that individual, while a homemaker, previously owned a home with his or her former spouse or partner
b) any individual who is a single parent or guardian of a minor child may not be excluded because that individual previously owned a home with his or her spouse or partner.
Home Price Limit
The maximum purchase price is the current limit under the HOME Program, which allows either the Section 203(b) mortgage limits established as of February, 2008 or the actual 95 percent of median sales price limits for their areas, whichever is higher. The 2012 limit for Seattle area is $379,050. Please check the HUD website for the most current published limit.
Within Seattle City Limits
The home you purchase must be inside the city limits of Seattle. Office of Housing funds cannot be used in other cities, so check carefully and make sure the home of your choice is actually inside Seattle city limits! The southern boundaries of the city of Seattle are especially complicated. Your real estate agent and/or the downpayment assistance program you choose can assist you to make sure that your home is inside the city limits.
Homebuyer Education Requirement
You must complete a pre-purchase homebuyer education program approved by the City of Seattle. Typically, homebuyers have chosen to attend either a Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) sponsored first-time homebuyer education class, or the HomeSight education series. All first-time homebuyers are encouraged to attend a first-time homebuyer education class before beginning their home search.
WSHFC-sponsored homebuyer education seminars are offered in many Washington communities. These seminars help homebuyers learn how to purchase and maintain a home. This program is meant to be the first step in purchasing a home.
HomeSight’s education series offers current information in the rapidly changing housing industry throughout the year. Their program includes a free seminar: The American Dream: Is Homeownership for You?
Properties must be used as principal residences only. Investment properties are not permitted. All types of units are eligible for purchase, including single-family houses, condominiums, limited equity cooperatives, co-housing, land trusts and homes on leased land.
Questions for the Office of Housing?
If you have questions about any of the City of Seattle homeownership
programs, contact our reception desk at (206) 684-0721.