Skip to main content


map-marker-altLocations | ATMs

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

Learn how our Smart Start Boost Down Payment Assistance Program works for low-to-moderate income individuals and families and how you can receive assistance funds towards your down payment. You may also qualify depending on where you live and where you want to buy a home. How ever you qualify, a Smart Start home loan can help you achieve your home ownership dreams.

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…not necessarily. We are here to answer these questions and more to help potential homeowners like you overcome obstacles to buy a 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 much more in the future, 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 as little as 1% of the purchase price (required minimum contribution)*. We also offer a down payment assistance loan for up to 2% of the purchase price, which could be forgiven after a certain amount of time. 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.

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

  • As low as 1% minimum contribution required*
  • Down payment assistance of up to 2% of the purchase price available**
  • No PMI (private mortgage insurance)
  • Ability to buy down your interest rate for a lower monthly payment
Learn More

How to Apply for a Smart Start Boost Down Payment Assistance Loan

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

All loans subject to credit approval, additional terms and conditions may apply.
*Borrowers are required to contribute a minimum of 1% of the purchase price from the borrower's own funds.
**Minimum down payment for the Smart Start Mortgage is 3% of the purchase price. Smart Start Boost is only available with the Smart Start Mortgage. Smart Start Boost funds may be used to reduce the 3% down payment to 1% of the purchase price, reduce your closing costs, or to buy down your interest rate. Restrictions apply. Ask your loan officer for additional details and qualifications.


Find a WaFd Bank Loan Officer


Find a WaFd Bank Loan Officer

It's easy to make an appointment with a loan officer
near you.