Texas Down Payment Assistance and First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Texas has one of the more affordable housing markets in the United States right now. But even so, buying a home in the Lone Star State still comes with its fair share of upfront costs. A down payment and closing costs on an affordable home in Texas can set you back tens of thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, there is a good amount of down payment assistance in Texas, especially for first-time homebuyers. 

Some programs offer up to $60,000 in down payment assistance. If you know where to look, you can leverage these first-time homebuyer grants and loans to purchase a home in Texas sooner than you might think.

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    Looking for assistance in a specific part of Texas?

    This page lists all of the assistance available to Texas homebuyers, including statewide and local resources. If you’re looking for information about down payment assistance in your area only, you can also find local information here:

    • Houston
    • San Antonio
    • Austin
    • Dallas
    • Ft. Worth
    • Harris County
    • Travis County
    • Brazoria County

    Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or financial advice. Please consult an attorney, mortgage lender, or CPA for guidance on your specific situation.

    Types of down payment assistance for Texas homebuyers

    This will be short and sweet, because Texas keeps its down payment assistance programs simple. Almost all of the down payment assistance programs in Texas are loans of one sort or another. 

    Some of Texas’ down payment assistance programs are labeled as “liens” and some are labeled as “loans”, but most programs operate in essentially the same way: a loaned amount of money that can be fully forgiven, meaning you don’t have to pay the money back if you meet certain requirements. 

    We’ll get into the specifics of each program in a minute, but first, here’s an overview of what to expect when you look for a down payment assistance loan in Texas.  

    Texas first-time homebuyer loans

    As we mentioned earlier, down payment assistance programs in Texas are almost universally down payment assistance loans, and the majority of those loans are forgivable. A forgivable loan is a loan that is attached to the house that does not need to be repaid as long as you meet certain criteria.

    Meeting the criteria for your loan to be forgiven usually means consistently making your mortgage payments on time and living in the house for a certain number of years before you sell, refinance, or rent it out. 

    In many cases, a loan can be forgiven after relatively few years, but a few down payment assistance programs in Texas have loans which are forgiven only after you’ve paid off the mortgage completely.

    There are also a couple of standard down payment assistance loan programs which do not offer the option of loan forgiveness. However, these programs are structured so that it’s financially manageable to use the loan to make a down payment and cover closing costs without breaking the bank on repayments.

    Down payment assistance programs in Texas

    Texas is a big state with a lot of down payment programs. Stairs Financial streamlines your access to this assistance, making it easy for you to connect with a trusted lender and compare the loan and assistance programs you may qualify for, all in one place.

    Learn more about your down payment assistance options.

    TSAHC Home Sweet Texas HFA Loan

    The Home Sweet Texas HFA Loan is a down payment assistance loan available everywhere in Texas that can be fully forgiven if you don’t sell or refinance the home for a period of three years after purchase. 

    This program can also be combined with the Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) tax credit which we describe in greater detail below.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation

    Assistance amount: Up to 5% down payment, no fixed maximum

    Purchase price limit: None

    Minimum borrower contribution: None

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • Purchasing in Texas
    • Credit (FICO) score of 620 or higher
    • Income limit*: $71,280 to $97,840 depending on location of home

    *For all DPA programs, income limits are regularly reviewed and updated. Be sure to check the most current limits before assuming you don’t qualify. 

    TSAHC Homes for Texas Heroes HFA Loan

    The Homes for Texas Heroes HFA Loan is a forgivable down payment assistance loan program available to Texas residents working in certain helping professions. The loan can be combined with the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) tax credit, and it can be forgiven if you do not sell or refinance the home within three years.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation

    Assistance amount: Up to 5% down payment, no fixed maximum

    Purchase price limit: none 

    Minimum borrower contribution: None 

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • Purchasing in Texas
    • Working as a teacher, emergency medical professional, nurse, law enforcement officer, veteran, or active duty service member 
    • Credit (FICO) score of 620 or higher
    • Income limit: $126,140 to $163,520 depending on location of home

    SETH 5 Star Texas Advantage Forgivable Lien

    The 5 Star Texas Advantage Forgivable Lien provides down payment assistance in the form of a community second lien which is forgiven after three years, provided you do not sell or refinance the home in that time. 

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: Southeast Texas Housing Finance Corporation

    Assistance amount: Up to 5% down payment, no fixed maximum 

    Purchase price limit for FHA loans*:  $472,030 to $571,550 (depending on location)

    Purchase price limit for all other loan types: $492,500 

    Minimum borrower contribution: None 

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • Purchasing anywhere in Texas except Travis County, El Paso, McKinney, and Grand Prairie
    • Credit (FICO) score of 640 or higher 
    • Income limit for USDA-backed loans: $56,880 to $170,800 depending on location 
    • Income limit for all other loan types: $78,820 to $171,220 depending on location

    *For all DPA programs, purchase price and income limits are regularly reviewed and updated. Be sure to check the most current limits before assuming you don’t qualify. 

    TDHCA My First Texas Home Down Payment Assistance Lien

    The My First Texas Home Forgivable Down Payment Assistance Lien is a down payment assistance program that offers funding to first-time homebuyers in the form of a second lien that can be structured either as a three-year forgivable lien, or as a 30-year deferred repayment lien.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

    Assistance amount: Up to 5% down payment, no fixed maximum

    Purchase price limit: $481,176 to $712,097 depending on location of home 

    Minimum borrower contribution: None 

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • First-time homebuyer purchasing in Texas
    • Credit (FICO) score of 620 or higher 
    • Income limit: $90,100 to $163,520 based on location of home 

    TDHCA My Choice Texas Home Down Payment Assistance Lien

    The My Choice Texas Home Down Payment Assistance Lien is a program with no first-time homebuyer requirement. Funds are delivered as second liens which can be structured either as a three-year forgivable lien, or as a 30-year deferred repayment lien.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

    Assistance amount: Up to 5% down payment, no fixed maximum

    Purchase price limit: $481,176 to $712,097 depending on location of home 

    Minimum borrower contribution: None 

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • Purchasing in Texas
    • Credit (FICO) score of 620 or higher
    • Income limit: $90,100 to $163,520 depending on location of home 

    Veterans Housing Assistance Program

    The Veterans Housing Assistance Program offers discounted mortgage loans for veterans and active duty service members to purchase a home in Texas. The funding can be structured as a 15, 20, 25, or 30 year loan. It requires minimal or no down payment and offers interest rates which are typically lower than the market rate. 

    Assistance type: Discounted mortgage loan

    Sponsor: Veterans Land Board

    Assistance amount: up to $726,200 loan 

    Minimum borrower contribution: none 

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • Purchasing in Texas 
    • Veteran or active duty service member
    • Income limit: none

    City of Abilene First Time Buyer Program

    The City of Abilene First Time Buyer Program provides a grant of up to $5,000 for homebuyers who live or work in Abilene and can complete 10 hours of community service. The program delivers down payment assistance funds as a grant which is paid directly to the lender when the sale closes.

    Assistance type: Grant

    Sponsor: City of Abilene

    Assistance amount: $5,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: None

    Minimum borrower contribution: None

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • Single family homes only
    • Homebuyer must have lived in Abilene for the past six months
    • OR worked in Abilene for the past two years
    • Income limit: $41,000 to $77,300 depending on household size

    City of Arlington Homebuyer Assistance Program

    The City of Arlington Homebuyers Assistance Program is a forgivable loan with an impressively high $20,000 maximum available to first-time homebuyers who live in Arlington, Texas. After a period of five to ten years, depending on the structure of the loan, you can request to have the loan forgiven provided you have not sold, rented, or refinanced the home.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Arlington

    Assistance amount: $20,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: 95% of area median purchase price 

    Minimum borrower contribution: $1,000

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Living in the City of Arlington
    • Liquid assets less than $15,000 at time of closing
    • Income limit: 80% of area median income 

    Austin’s Down Payment Assistance Program

    Austin’s Down Payment Assistance Program gives DPA loans to first-time homebuyers purchasing within Austin city limits. The program has a high maximum payout, with loans up to $14,999 eligible for forgiveness after five years and loans up to $40,000 eligible for forgiveness after 10 years.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Austin

    Assistance amount: $40,000 maximum, up to a 30% down payment 

    Purchase price limit*: $614,054

    Minimum borrower contribution: $1,000

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Current Austin resident
    • Purchasing within city limits 
    • Income limit*: 80% of area median income

    Dallas Homebuyer Assistance Program

    The Dallas Homebuyer Assistance Program offers $50,000 to $60,000 in forgivable down payment assistance loans to residents of the city. Buyers who have lived in Dallas for at least 10 years or who work in education, healthcare, or emergency services get higher income limits when applying for this program.

    Assistance type: Deferred forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Dallas

    Assistance amount: $60,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: None

    Minimum borrower contribution: $1,000

    Eligibility requirements:

    • Current resident of Dallas
    • Purchasing within city limits
    • $10,000 or less in liquid assets
    • Income limit for buyers who work in education, healthcare, or emergency services: 120% of area median income
    • Income limit for all other buyers: 80% of area median income

    City of Frisco Targeted Down Payment Assistance Program

    The City of Frisco Targeted Down Payment Assistance Program provides forgivable down payment assistance loans to buyers who have worked for the city of Frisco or the Frisco Independent School District for at least six months. The loan may be forgiven after five years, as long as you have not sold, refinanced, or moved out of the home.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Frisco

    Assistance amount: $10,000

    Purchase price limit: $450,800

    Minimum borrower contribution: 1% of total purchase price

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Worked for city of Frisco or Frisco Independent School district for at least six months
    • Income limit: $131,989

    The City of Ft. Worth Homebuyer Assistance Program

    The City of Ft. Worth Homebuyer Assistance Program offers up to $20,000 in forgivable down payment assistance loans to first-time homebuyers in Fort Worth. Loans up to $14,999 can be forgiven after five years, and loans up to $20,000 can be forgiven after 10 years as long as you have not sold, refinanced, or moved out of the house during that time.

    Assistance type: Deferred forgivable loan

    Sponsor:  City of Fort Worth

    Assistance amount: $20,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: $243,000 for newly constructed homes and $218,000 for existing homes

    Minimum borrower contribution: $1,000 or 2% of the purchase price, whichever is less

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Purchasing within Fort Worth city limits
    • Income limit: 80% of area median income.

    Houston Homebuyer Assistance Program

    The Houston Homebuyer Assistance Program offers down payment assistance loans with a $30,000 maximum. These loans can be forgiven after five years, provided you don’t sell, refinance, or move out of the home within that time.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Houston

    Assistance amount: $30,000 maximum 

    Purchase price limit: None 

    Minimum borrower contribution: $350

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • First-time homebuyer 
    • Purchasing within Houston city limits
    • Income limit: 80% of area median income

    City of Irving Down Payment Assistance Program

    The City of Irving Down Payment Assistance Program offers forgivable down payment assistance loans up to $50,000 for first-time homebuyers in Irving. The loan can be forgiven after a period of between five and twenty years, depending on the loan amount, provided you have not sold, refinanced, or moved out of the home.

    Assistance type: Deferred forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Irving

    Assistance amount: $50,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: None

    Minimum borrower contribution: $1,000 or $1,500 depending on the type of home purchased

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Purchasing within city limits
    • Income limit: $54,550 to $102,850 depending on household size

    City of McKinney Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance

    The City of McKinney Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program offers up to $10,000 as a forgivable loan to first-time homebuyers in McKinney. The loan can be forgiven after five years as long as you do not sell, refinance, pay off the mortgage, or move out of the home within the five-year period.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of McKinney

    Assistance amount: $10,000

    Purchase price limit: None

    Minimum borrower contribution: None

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Purchasing within city limits
    • Income limit: 80% of area median income 

    City of Odessa Homebuyer Assistance Program

    The City of Odessa Homebuyer Assistance Program offers down payment assistance loans up to $10,000 for existing homes and $24,000 for newly built homes. The loan is forgivable, and up to $4,000 of the loan can be used to cover closing costs.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Odessa

    Assistance amount: 10% down payment up to $10,000 for existing homes and $24,000 for new construction

    Purchase price limit: 95% of median area purchase price for newly constructed homes and $270,632 for existing homes

    Minimum borrower contribution: 1% of total purchase price

    Eligibility requirements:

    • Purchasing within city limits
    • Credit (FICO) score of 580 or higher
    • Income limit: $43,900 to $82,800 depending on household size

    The City of Plano’s First Time Homebuyers Program

    The City of Plano’s First Time Homebuyers Program offers down payment assistance loans up to $60,000. Higher loan amounts are available to buyers with lower incomes. Loans up to $10,000 can be forgiven after five years and loans up to $60,000 can be forgiven after 15 years, as long as the house is not sold or refinanced and remains your primary residence.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of Plano

    Assistance amount: $10,000 to $60,000, based on income

    Purchase price limit: None

    Minimum borrower contribution: $1,000

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Purchasing within city limits
    • Credit (FICO) score of 620 or higher
    • $36,000 or less in liquid assets
    • Income limit: 80% of area median income

    San Antonio Housing Assistance Program

    The San Antonio Housing Assistance Program is a forgivable loan program for up to $30,000. It is available to first-time homebuyers in San Antonio who purchase within the city limits. 

    Loan amounts up to $15,000 can be forgiven after five years and loan amounts up to $30,000 can be forgiven after 10 years, as long as you live in the house and do not sell or refinance during the forgiveness period.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of San Antonio

    Assistance amount: $30,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: $251,000 for newly constructed homes; $215,000 for existing homes

    Minimum borrower contribution: $500

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Current San Antonio resident
    • Buying within city limits
    • Income limit*: $49,150 to $87,050 depending on household size

    San Antonio Homeownership Incentive Program: HIP 80

    The San Antonio Homeownership Incentive Program is another option for first-time homebuyers. This program comes in two forms: HIP 80 and HIP 120. Here is the information for HIP 80:

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of San Antonio

    Assistance amount: $30,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: $251,000 for new construction; $215,000 for existing homes

    Minimum borrower contribution: $500

    Eligibility requirements:

    • Purchasing within city limits
    • Complete an 8-hour homeowner education class
    • Income limit: 80% of area median income

    San Antonio Homeownership Incentive Program: HIP 120

    The San Antonio Homeownership Incentive Program HIP 120 is an assistance program with a higher income limit and higher purchase price maximum. Unlike HIP 80, this loan is partially forgivable, up to 75% over ten years. 

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: City of San Antonio

    Assistance amount: $15,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: $301,200 for new construction; $283,300 for existing homes

    Minimum borrower contribution: $500

    Eligibility requirements:

    • Purchasing within city limits
    • Complete an 8-hour homeowner education class
    • Income limit: 120% of area median income

    City of Waco Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program

    The City of Waco Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Program offers a low-cost loan of up to $25,000 to cover down payment and closing costs. The loan must be repaid over the life of the primary mortgage loan. 

    Assistance type: Loan

    Sponsor: City of Waco

    Assistance amount: $25,000 maximum

    Purchase price limit: None

    Minimum borrower contribution: $750

    Eligibility requirements:

    • First-time homebuyer
    • Purchasing within city limits
    • Income limit: 80% of area median income

    National down payment assistance programs and grants you can use in Texas

    If you are a homebuyer in Texas, you could be eligible for down payment assistance sponsored by the National Homebuyer Fund. We’ve included details about the program below. 

    NHF Down Payment Assistance Program

    The NHF Down Payment Assistance Program provides a down payment assistance loan which can be forgiven if the home is your primary residence for a certain number of years. The number of years required to forgive the loan is determined at closing.

    Assistance type: Forgivable loan

    Sponsor: National Homebuyer Fund

    Assistance amount: up to 5% down payment, no fixed maximum

    Purchase price limit: Flexible, based on buyer’s income

    Minimum borrower contribution: None 

    Eligibility requirements: 

    • Credit (FICO) score of 600 or higher
    • Income limit: 115% of median income in area where home is purchased

    In addition to the National Homebuyer Fund, you could potentially qualify for a lender-sponsored assistance program through one of the nation’s largest banks. These programs vary from lender to lender. Stairs Financial does not endorse any single lender-sponsored DPA program over the next. 

    Texas down payment assistance program FAQ

    Here’s a quick round robin of answers to the most common questions from first-time homebuyers seeking down payment assistance in Texas. 

    Does Texas have a first-time buyer program?

    Yes, Texas has many first-time homebuyer programs. Some are sponsored by private corporations, but multiple cities in Texas have their own first-time home buyers programs. These programs offer substantial down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, usually in the form of forgivable loans.

    How to buy a house for the first time in Texas?

    If you want to buy a house for the first time in Texas, the first step is to calculate your annual income and get a copy of your credit score. The majority of Texas down payment assistance programs have income limits and some have credit score requirements. 

    Next, find out if the city where you plan to buy offers a first-time home buyer education class, as these are required for many down payment assistance programs.

    This will give you all the information you need to start. From there, you can use Stairs Financial to find out which down payment assistance programs you qualify for and get in touch with a trusted lender who can help you apply.

    What is the minimum down payment in Texas?

    The minimum down payment in Texas is the same as the usual down payment in other states: 3% of the purchase price for a conventional loan and as high as 3.5% of the purchase price for an FHA loan. However, there are some loan programs that allow you to purchase a home with zero down payment.

    Can you get Biden first-time home buyer assistance in Texas?

    Both of Biden’s proposed first-time homebuyer programs are still going through the legislative process to become law. But yes, the Biden $25,000 Downpayment Toward Equity Act of 2021 and Biden’s First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit are national programs which will be available in Texas if these bills go into effect.

    What types of Texas first-time homebuyer assistance are there?

    Most Texas first-time homebuyer assistance programs come in the form of down payment assistance loans. A majority of these loans are forgivable, meaning you don’t have to pay them back if you meet the forgiveness criteria, which in most cases involves owning and living in the home for a minimum number of years.

    What are the Texas first-time homebuyer income limits?

    The Texas first-time homebuyer income limit for down payment assistance is usually 80% of area median income. The amount varies depending on location and the number of people in the household. Some programs offer higher income limits or use criteria other than median income, but 80% of median income is most common.

    What are the first-time homebuyer requirements in Texas?

    First-time homebuyer requirements in Texas commonly include:

    • A minimum contribution from the buyer, often $1,000 or less
    • A minimum credit score between 620 and 640
    • Purchasing your first home or have not owned a home within a certain period of time, most often three years

    Some programs have additional requirements, such as living in a certain city. 

    How do I qualify for Texas first-time homebuyer programs?

    The biggest qualifying factor for Texas first-time homebuyer programs is your income. Most programs have income limits, so it’s wise to calculate your income. This includes cash reserves and income from sources other than your primary employment, as many programs consider all forms of income.

    With this information you’ll be able to quickly spot programs that are likely to be a good fit for you.

    Learn all about the down payment assistance programs you qualify for

    Stairs Financial streamlines your access to down payment assistance, making it easy for you to connect with a trusted lender and compare the loan and assistance programs you may qualify for, all in one place.

    Learn more about your down payment assistance options.

    Find up to $15,000 towards a home 🏠

    Compare local down payment assistance and find a mortgage, fast.

      Search by ZIP code, address, city, county, or neighborhood
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