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What Does It Take to Qualify for Down Payment Assistance?

June 10, 2016 | by Katie Claflin

Categories: First Time Buyer, Homeownership

It may be easier than you think! There are several misconceptions about down payment assistance programs, including the belief that programs are only available for first-time home buyers and that programs aren’t available in your community.

But the truth is there are many programs available, so you may be eligible for assistance without even realizing it.

Down Payment Resource recently created a blog post to combat these misconceptions by outlining the six basic criteria required by most down payment assistance programs. Below we have addressed each of these qualifications in depth to help you determine if you qualify for a down payment grant from TSAHC.

Home Buyer Criteria
  1. Income and Financial Requirements. You must meet certain income, credit and debt requirements to qualify for TSAHC’s down payment assistance. We have created a short, four-question eligibility quiz to help you determine if you meet our income requirements, which can vary depending on your profession, household size and county. The last page of the quiz will also direct you to our credit score and debt requirements.
  2. Profession. TSAHC’s Homes for Texas Heroes program provides down payment assistance specifically to teachers, police officers, fire fighters, EMS personnel, corrections officers, and veterans.  However, you don’t have to fall into one of these categories to qualify for down payment assistance. We offer another program, the Home Sweet Texas Loan Program, that is not profession-specific, so you can still qualify if you meet certain income requirements. 
  3. First-Time Home Buyer Status. You do not have to be a first- time home buyer—defined as anyone who has not owned a home in the past three years—to receive down payment assistance through TSAHC. If you are a first-time home buyer, however, you can also qualify for a special income tax credit program known as a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). Our MCC program can be combined with our down payment assistance and can save you up to $2,000 on your income taxes each year. Click here to learn more.
Home Criteria
  1. Primary Residence. TSAHC requires that you live in the home you are buying as your primary residence. That means you can’t use our program to purchase a second home or a rental property.
  2. Sales Price of the Home. The home that you buy cannot exceed certain purchase price limits. The limits are set based on a percentage of the median home price in each county, which means that the purchase prices are higher in counties where homes are more expensive.
  3. Location of the Home. TSAHC’s down payment programs are statewide, so you can use our programs to purchase a home anywhere in Texas.  

Want to know more? TSAHC is hosting webinars every Wednesday in June specifically on the home buying process. You’ll learn the 10 steps to buying a home and receive a tutorial on our down payment assistance and MCC programs.  Click here to register.

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 Torrance! Fortunately, we were able to lift that overlay earlier this year. You can always find the most up-to-date procedures here:

Torrance Verge


has the DTI restriction due to covid been removed for borrowers below 700 credit score?

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Hi Maggie, the required amount of down payment changes depending on the type of mortgage loan you desire. They can be as low as 3% for certain conventional loans or 3.5%  for FHA loans.


What is the percentage of down payment required for the loan?

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Hi Kenneth, we do allow for outside home buyer assistance programs to be used in conjunction with our own! We’d recommend letting your lender know that you’d like to use both, so they can ensure that both programs can be used together without conflict.

Kenneth Edward Magwood

Will you allow grant money to be used as part of my down payment and or closing costs in conjunction with your dpa program?

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Hi JD, if you have not owned your primary residence within the past 3 years, you would be considered a first-time home buyer.

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Hi JD, we’re happy to hear that you’re working on building up your savings! Many of our home buyers do the same in advance of purchasing a home. To get started on the path to homeownership, we’d recommend taking our Eligibility Quiz to see if you qualify for our programs:


If I own an investment property but I’ve never owned a primary residence, would I still qualify as a first time homebuyer?


Hi there! First time home buyer here. I filled out the eligibility forms and it looks like I’m eligible for 2 programs. For the DPA program, am I still eligible for assistance even with 20% down payment? I’m worried about closing costs and trying to avoid paying PMI. Thanks in advance!


Does a home buyer’s savings balance factor in to qualifying for DPA? I plan to buy my first home at the end of the year. By then I’ll have a savings (cash and investments) of ~$10k. Will that reduce the amount of DPA I receive?

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Hi Chase, our Homes for Texas Heroes program does require you to purchase a home in Texas with the intent to immediately occupy the home as your primary residence.  However, TSAHC has no requirement that you already be a Texas resident or U.S. citizen.

If you haven’t already completed it, our home buyer eligibility quiz helps you determine whether you qualify for our programs:

Chase Mekaelian

Do you need to be a US Citizen to qualify?

Anna Orendain

Hi Edward, if you aren’t applying jointly for a mortgage, then the lender should only consider your own financial history. We hope this helps!


If I get married amd my wife has a mortgsge and we plan on living separate but married can I still qualify for the program on my income alone excluding her.

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Hi Samatha, yes, if you’re planning on applying for a mortgage together, you will both need to meet the minimum score requirement. If you’d like to learn more about credit and home buying, we’d recommend checking out our On The House podcast:


My fiance and I are hoping to purchase a home around the 1st of the year. We are looking into an FHA loan but would like a little down payment assistance. When it comes to the FICO score requirement, do we both need to have a 620 or better?

Anna Orendain

Hi Karen, income eligibility for our down payment assistance programs varies by county.  We’d recommend taking our eligibility quiz to help you determine if you meet our program requirements. The eligibility quiz can be found here:

Karen Mondragon

If my husband earns $60,000 a year truck dispatch and I’m a Teacher earning $50,000. Do we make too much for Down payment assistance?

Laura Ross

Hi Marlon, to qualify for TSAHC’s down payment assistance program, you must be purchasing a home in Texas and intend to immediately occupy the home as your primary residence.  However, there is no requirement that you already be a Texas resident.

We recommend taking our eligibility quiz to help you determine if you meet our program requirements.  If you do, you will be directed to contact one of our participating lenders who can help you apply for a mortgage loan and qualify for the program. The eligibility quiz can be found here:

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