by Brandon Scott

The Great state of Maryland offers the convenience of suburban living with proximity to the nations Capitol. Maryland, herself, has her own fair share of cities and communities to meet the needs of some of the pickiest buyers. The state also offers a broad range of programs to help homebuyers in Maryland achieve their dream of homeownership. The programs offered by Maryland are available for conventional and government insured loans. Additionally, there are specialty loan and programs for specific types of borrowers:

·      Student debt

·      Target area purchase

·      Special assistance grant

·      Mortgage credit certificates


The 1st Time Advantage Loan lines.  

There are three (3) loan lines that are available through this program. The 1st Time Advantage Direct does not come with down payment assistance but is usually offers a more competitive interest rate.  The 1st Time Advantage 5000 program does offer a $5,000 loan for down payment and closing costs. The 1st Time Advantage 3% Loan comes with a down payment assistants of 3% for the first mortgage in the form of a 0 % deferred second lien. Typically, down payment is 3.5% if you’re using FHA and closing costs are right about 2% of the loan amount. So we can already see, that 5.5% is probably going to be way more than $5,000. So don’t look to this program to help you fill the gap between down payment and closing cost. But there are down payment assistance programs that can be used with the loan type.

Standard Applicant Eligibility

Before we go into more program details, let’s cover what the basic eligibility requirements are. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid social security number, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a U.S. Citizen.

First-time homebuyer eligibility comes with income limits. The homebuyer must be at or below certain limits, and those limits are impacted by location and household size.

Household size with 1 or 2 people have one set of income limits and households with 3 or more people have higher income limits. Now, let’s talk income limits, depending on property location and household size, the range is from $92,500 up to $154,420.  Maryland is a vast territory so obviously universal income limits aren’t realistic, considering the diversity the state offers, so income limits based on counties and city can be found here.

If you have liquid assets, also referred to as cash on hand, of at least 20% of the purchase price then you may not qualify to use the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP). And, gifts are considered to be a form of liquid assets.

Keep in mind that eligibility for the Maryland Mortgage Program does not qualify you for a mortgage. The mortgage application and loan approval is done by a participating lender.

Flex Loans

The Flex loans series offers a 30-year, fixed rate home loan that provides additional funds for down payment and closing costs. There funds provided are in the form of no-interest, deferred loan or a grant – that does not get repair. There are five (5) loans under the Flex loan series.

·      Flex Direct

·      Flex 5000

·      Flex 3% loan

·      Flex 3% grant

·      Flex 4% grant

An approved MMP lender can determine which loan is best for you. The Flex Direct does not offer down payment assistance but offers a more competitive interest rate in addition to the mortgage credit certificate. Flex 5000 provides a $5,000 loan that goes toward down payment and closing costs. Essentially this is a second loan that has a zero percent interest rate, and no payments are due on it for the life of the first mortgage. Consider that once the first mortgage ends, the second lien is due and payable. The Flex 3% loan offers down payment assistance that is equal to 3% of the first mortgage in the form of a zero percent deferred second lien. The Flex 3% grant is similar to loan, but the grant does not have to be repaid. The Flex 4% grant, also, does not have to be repaid.

Partner Match

The diversity of options and programs extends to an array of organizations that have programs to aid homebuyers. These programs include grants, loans and other types of assistance. Many organizations are certified as Partners, and those Partners match (up to $2,500) in additional down payment assistance. The funds given are in provided as a no-interest, deferred loan from the state, payable when the first mortgage is paid off. EmployersHomebuildersCommunity Organizations and Local governments participate as an MMP Partner.

Maryland Smartbuy

Many homebuyers believe that their student loan payments/debt is a barrier to buying a home. In fact, many potential buyers will not even broach the subject of buying a home because of it. For homebuyers with eligible student debt, there is special financing and closing cost assistance, which includes student loan payoff valued up to 15% of the property’s purchase price. Program eligibility requires that the minimum student loan debt is a balance of $1,000. The program provides student debt relief of 15% of the home purchase price with a maximum payoff of $40,000. One potential down side of the program is that the housing options may be limited. Per Maryland’s housing website, only a select realty company offers eligible homes, and at the moment they don’t have any inventory listed. Separately, an interested buyer could choose from Maryland’s list of real estate owned properties. Additional program details, like key program features and resources may be found here.


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