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Understanding WaFd Bank’s Smart Start Home Loan (Down Payment Assistance Program)

Learn how our Smart Start Down Payment Assistance Program works for low-to-moderate income individuals and/or families and how you can receive a $5,000 grant towards your down payment.

Real estate agent and clients looking at paperwork in new home

If you're a first-time home buyer, finding and buying a house can seem daunting in this market. Do you really need to have 10% or 20% saved as a down payment? What about your credit, is an 800 FICO score necessary to apply for a mortgage? Wouldn't renting be cheaper? The answer to all these questions is…no. We are here to solve these issues for first-time homeowners to get you into your home.

Renting can be cheaper in the short term, but keep in mind that when you own a home, the value goes up over time. A home bought for $350,000 today might be worth $600,000 in just a few short years, and the mortgage payment would not change much for a fixed rate (other than property taxes and homeowners insurance). Compare that to a monthly rent payment which can go up hundreds of dollars in just one year.

Although your credit score is important when it comes to buying a house, it isn't everything. WaFd Bank looks at multiple factors, including the use of alternative credit. We are here to help you every step of the way with dedicated bankers at each location.

What Is Down Payment Assistance?

Down Payment Assistance helps to fund your down payment as a first-time home buyer. If this is where you're feeling stuck, know that you have options. We offer mortgage options and assistance to help you move into your new home with just a 3% down payment, and even offer financial help up to $5,000 with a grant. If you haven't already, be sure to look into gift funds, seller contributions, and down payment assistance programs in your state, which you can utilize along with your mortgage here at WaFd. In many cases, you won't need to pay back the assistance you receive from your state but be sure to read the fine print for all the details.

Owning a home is more than just hype; an affordable home is the gateway to long-term and short-term financial success. Long-term, you'll build equity you can use in the future for just about anything (including but not limited to home improvement projects), and in the short-term you might be able to enjoy tax deductions (consult your tax advisor) and build wealth for yourself instead of your landlord. Plus, WaFd Bank is a portfolio lender, which means we'll never sell your mortgage and work with you through the years.

With a Smart Start Home Loan, we can help make your dream of homeownership happen:

  • Up to $5,000 grant assistance available
  • Only 3% down payment required
  • No PMI (private mortgage insurance)
  • We pay the appraisal fee on your new home
  • Ability to buy down your interest rate for a lower monthly payment
Learn More
How to Apply for a Smart Start Home Buyer Grant

Applying is easy, simply visit a loan officer at your local branch to get started.

Grant funds are not guaranteed. All loans subject to credit approval, additional terms and conditions may apply. Program restrictions apply. Household income limits apply. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Have Questions?

Your neighborhood loan officer is here to help.

Find a Loan Officer