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Mature man in home kitchen sorting the home finances on laptop, talking on cell phone
Mature man in home kitchen sorting the home finances on laptop, talking on cell phone
Mature man in home kitchen sorting the home finances on laptop, talking on cell phone
Mature man in home kitchen sorting the home finances on laptop, talking on cell phone
Mature man in home kitchen sorting the home finances on laptop, talking on cell phone
Mature man in home kitchen sorting the home finances on laptop, talking on cell phone
Mature man in home kitchen sorting the home finances on laptop, talking on cell phone
There's no place like home.
You might be surprised how easy it is to make your move with a Smart Start home loan from WaFd Bank.

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 and short-term, you'll be able to enjoy potential tax deductions and pay yourself instead of paying rent. Plus, WaFd Bank is a Portfolio Lender, which means that we're here with you for the life of your loan.

Ready for a smart start? Meet with a WaFd Mortgage Banker to find out how we help you get into your first home.

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Only 3%
down payment required
$5000 grant available for down payment*
No mortgage insurance (PMI) required*
We pay
the appraisal fee on your new home*
  • check-circleOnly 3% down payment required
  • check-circle$5000 grant available for down payment*
  • check-circleNo mortgage insurance (PMI) required*
  • check-circleWe pay the appraisal fee*

Use grant funds toward your down payment, closing costs, or to buy down your interest rate to lower your monthly payments.

Program/Eligibility Information:

  • Credit score 640 and above
  • Household income limits apply
  • Must be used for purchase of primary residence
  • Application required for grant.* Appraisal fee is waived only for approved grant recipients
  • Gift funds, seller contributions and down payment assistant program funds allowed

All loans subject to credit approval, additional terms and conditions may apply.
*Grant funds are not guaranteed. Restrictions apply.

Do you qualify for our Smart Start Mortgage?
Where is the property you wish to purchase located?
Real estate agent and clients looking at paperwork in new home

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.

Read Article


Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is a type of insurance typically required for a mortgage loan when Borrowers make a down payment of less than 20% of the home's purchase price.

For example, if you buy a home for $200,000, you'll likely need a down payment of $40,000 to avoid paying PMI. How Much Is PMI? PMI, like other types of insurance, is based on insurance rates that can change daily. PMI typically costs 0.5 - 1% of your loan amount per year and so not having to pay PMI with the Smart Start mortgage program could save you thousands of dollars.

Saving for a down payment can be a challenge, especially for a first-time homebuyer. If you're planning to buy a home, you may need some help from a family member. WaFd Bank will look at the exact amount of the gift, where it came from, and the relationship between you and whoever gave it to you. When you use gift funds, you have to provide a gift letter that proves the funds are not a loan to be repaid. You may also be asked to provide documentation to prove the transfer of the gift into your bank account.

When you purchase a home, you may ask the Seller to cover some of the closing costs or some other item when closing the transaction. Buying a home is a transaction where you're able to negotiate a bit to try to get the best deal. Asking the seller to contribute a portion of the proceeds to help close the deal is a part of that negotiation process. Asking for seller concessions could lighten the financial burden of these costs and make it possible for you to get into the home you want. For example, with Seller Concessions you could use the funds to buy down your interest rate vs asking them to lower the purchase price of the home, which could be more valuable to you as the Buyer.

WaFd Bank can work with other down payment assistance programs. We are here to try and get you into your dream home.

Household income is generally defined as the combined gross income before taxes, received within a 12-month period by the Borrowers on the note. It includes but is not limited to—wages, overtime, bonuses, salaries, and self-employment earnings; Social Security, pension, and other retirement income; investment income; public assistance payments; and income from other sources.

The appraisal is performed by a third party and it is used to determine the value of your home based on a comparison to similar real estate in the area and recent sales. Waiver of the appraisal fee is only provided to approved foundation grant applicants.

A home down payment is simply the part of a home's purchase price you pay upfront. Suppose you want to buy a house priced at $100,000. If you were to put $3,000 toward the purchase price, or 3 percent down, you'd take out a mortgage for the remaining $97,000.

A portfolio lender, like WaFd Bank, keeps all the loans they make on their own books. Portfolio lenders don’t sell your mortgage to another bank, credit union or other financial institution. Most homebuyers may not be aware, but the bank, credit union or lender they originally choose for their mortgage usually turns around and sells that loan to another company on the secondary market.

  • An Individual who hasn't owned a principal residence for the three-year period ending on the date of purchase of new home.
  • Individual who has never owned a principal residence even if their spouse was a homeowner.
  • Anyone who is a homemaker or single parent who had an ownership interest in a principal residence with their ex-spouse.
  • A non-occupying co-borrower does NOT meet definition of First Time Home Buyer