Need Help with Your Down Payment? Consider a Matched Savings Program

September 16, 2016 | by Katie Claflin

Categories: First Time Buyer, Homeownership, Housing Counseling, Savings

Do you want to buy a home, but you're worried you don't have enough for the down payment?  You’re in good company.  Numerous studies, including this 2016 Trulia survey, found that most American households consider the down payment to be the largest obstacle preventing them from buying a home.

For this blog post, we want to focus on a valuable savings resource for home buying hopefuls—matched savings programs.

Matched savings programs, formally known as Individual Development Account (IDA) programs, are defined by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) as special savings accounts that match the savings deposited by the account holder.  The amount of matching funds varies by program, but programs generally provide a dollar for dollar match, or more, depending on the program’s guidelines and funding source.

How IDA Programs Work

IDA programs are typically offered by local nonprofit or government entities in partnership with financial institutions.  The nonprofit or government entity recruits and enrolls the participating households, while the financial institution handles the deposits and withdrawals.  To qualify, interested participants must undergo financial education and/or one-on-one financial counseling and must meet certain income, asset, and credit requirements, which can vary by program.

Savings and matching funds deposited into a matched savings account can typically be used for three activities:

  1. To purchase a home
  2. To start a small business
  3. Higher education or job training

Eligible expenses can differ depending on the program, so make sure you understand each program’s specific requirements before enrolling.  Account holders can also withdraw funding all at once (common if using the funds for a down payment) or over a period of time.

Click here to read CFED's fact sheet on IDA programs.

Using IDA Programs with Down Payment Assistance Programs

Some IDAs can be used with down payment assistance programs like TSAHC’s, which can make buying a home even more affordable.  However, there are some IDA programs that require participants to work with specific lenders, so make sure you read all program guidelines carefully if you are interested in combining your IDA account funds with a down payment assistance program.

Want to know more? Click here to find an IDA program in your area.


TSAHC can help. Our Homes for Texas Heroes and Home Sweet Texas Loan programs provide Texas families with up to 5% down payment assistance in the form or a grant or 2nd lien that can be put towards your down payment and closing costs. TSAHC also offers a Mortgage Credit Certificate Program for first time home buyers that provides a tax credit that can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan. 

Take our Eligibility Quiz to see if you qualify for one or both assistance options. You can also compare assistance options by using our Program Comparison Calculator

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.


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Hi Lisa, we’d recommend taking a look at our home buyer eligibility quiz, which should help you determine whether or not you’ll qualify for our programs! From there, it will guide you on the next steps to take when using our programs. You can find our Eligibility Quiz here:

lisa bailey

im interested in buying a home.

Laura Ross

Hi Elizabeth, A directory of available IDA programs can be found here:

Elizabeth Ramirez

Looking for Individual development account in Dallas, TX area.  The only one is Wings and they only offer classes on how to save.  Do you know of any banks the have IDA to save and match?

Laura Ross

Hi Olivia, A directory of available IDA programs can be found here:

Olivia Agbarranne

My name is Olivia Agbarranne and I would like to contact someone about finding IDA programs in my area. I live in Dallas and I ‘am trying to save for my childrens tuition for college and a home. I was informed there are none available in dfw texas. Please contact me as soon as possible.

Laura Ross

Hi Rosa, A directory of IDA programs can be found here:

Rosa Carpenter

For programs in my area, nothing showed up with the icon they Told me to look for in Dallas texas. Can I get a more specific list

Laura Ross

Hi Shalonda, A directory of IDA programs can be found here:


The link to find IDA programs in my area did not work, could someone contact me? Thanks

Cindy Garza


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