For a long time, Portlanders have had a wealth of tremendous home buying resources available to them through the Portland Housing Center, Oregon Bond Loan, and many others.  But, the list of available assistance for those looking for homes in Vancouver has been quite paltry.  That is why I’m so excited that the Washington State Housing Finance Commission has finally come up with a really great loan program.  Just jump through a few simple hoops, and you may qualify for the Home Advantage Loan Program. 

That first paragraph was a bit too writerly and plain and boring.  How about this:  Do you want Washington State to give you interest-free down payment money???  

The state’s Home Advantage Down Payment Assistance Second Mortgage Loan is intended for people who make less than $97,000 (most of you, probably) and can attend a free 5-hour homebuyers workshop.  If you can pass that simple hurdle, you may be able to get up to 4% of the loan amount to use for down payment and closing costs as a 30-year interest-free loan.  You don’t even need to be a first-time homebuyer to take advantage of it.  Special rates are also available for your primary mortgage as well, but this “silent second” loan is the real star of the state’s program. 

Even better, this is a very legit and reputable loan product offered through the state with federal funds and only available from specially-trained mortgage brokers.  This is not a scam mortgage from a fly-by-night company circa 2005.  

This program is perfect for people with solid income and credit, but maybe not a lot of free cash for down payment.  And, if you can use the “silent second” to cover your own closing costs, well that can make a much stronger offer in a competitive scenario.  (And, as the economy improves and the housing sector bounces back, we are seeing more and more multiple offer situations on good homes.) 

If you have any questions about this or any other homebuyer assistance programs in Washington or Oregon, please let me know.  I’m always happy to help.

(Hat tip to Stephen Bowdon of HomeStreet Bank in Vancouver, who is specially licensed to do this state program)