by Brandon Scott


The Great state of Maryland is vast both in income and culture. But one thing is consistent about the state, the local city managers have made clear paths for individual first-time home buyers to access home ownership. Specifically, individuals looking to purchase a home in Howard County you’re in luck. But before we dive in, a few of you may not even live in the DMV region (DC, Maryland and Virginia).

Howard County is located in the heart of central Maryland between Baltimore and Washington, DC. There’s an estimated population north of 330,000 people and the median household income is over $106,00. The community is northwest of Montgomery County and due north of Prince George’s County, while maintaining fairly close proximity to Chesapeake Bay.

Howard County offers a loan through the Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development. The loan covers closing costs and down payment. As with many down payment assistance programs (DPA), the loan is deferred, or payment of the loan is not due until the home is sold, refinanced, or goes into default. The program helps to remove a barrier to homeownership. Once you own the property and lived there, made improvement, and memories, you’ll see an appreciation and a return on every last mortgage payment that was made.

This program offers four types of loans, the HomeStarter, HomeSteader, and DreamMaker Loans, and the Revitalization and Workforce Initiatives loans. Each loan has their own separate set of requirements and terms depending on the region and loan type. A chart in the Settlement/Downpayment Loan Program Information Packet provides more details into the terms, conditions, and income limits.

The home price/value is limited to under $467,471 and program participants must have a minimum of $1,000 to apply towards closing or down payment costs. Additionally, Howard County accepts your approval for a loan as the first step for approval for the program. This means, if you qualify for a loan with a lender, one of the approved lenders, then you can participate in the DPA program.

This is a good seg-way into applying for the loan. The lender completes the application and works with the Department of Housing and Community Development to reserve the necessary funds. The lender is responsible for sending in all of the necessary documents for the loan, including the application for the loan program.

As the applicant, you have to complete homebuyer education prior to closing on the loan. I highly recommend completing this prior to even seeing a property, that way you get this minimum requirement over with. The homebuying process is stressful enough without allowing procrastination or poor planning to jeopardize your chances. The program, also, has income limits. Due to Covid-19 in person classes have been suspended but interested participants can register by e-mail at homebuyer class. Based on the drafting of this article, the next class is August 8, 2020 and then September 12, 2020.

Approved lenders can also be found in the information packet and any loan officer at an approved lending institution is able to process the DPA loan for Howard County.

Obtaining a home is a process and a big part of that process is knowing where to begin and how to fit the pieces together. With anything in life, having a seasoned professional with a network of resources is always a good start. This program, like many in Maryland, creates an avenue for those interested to achieve their dream of owning a home. Contact me today to start on your plan towards homeownership.


Brandon Scott is a licensed real estate agent in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. His license hangs with Coldwell Banker Dupont-Logan, DC. He’s been involved in the mortgage finance industry for the last 16 years in various fields. You can reach him by email at [email protected]. Subscribe to his YouTube Channel at RealTea DMV