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City Living and the Housing Finance Agency

September 28, 2015 | By

Last summer, I randomly got wind of the DC Open Doors program offered through the DC Housing Finance Agency. I cannot remember where or how, but this was the beginning of it all. The DC Open Doors program provides financing and down payment assistance for applicants. The qualifications are fairly simple: Have a decent credit score, purchase a home in DC, and a few others. In the current environment, it is increasingly difficult to save up for a down payment and qualify for a mortgage, even with a good credit score and a decent income. Programs like this have allowed many to become homeowners, including me. I attended a seminar held by the housing finance agency, asked a ton of questions, and that was it. I realized I found the program that would allow this fantasy to become a reality.

After living in my current apartment for several years, I started thinking about upgrading to a newer building in another part of town. I love city living. I don’t need a lot of space. Plus, in this city, few can afford it anyways. I believe the norm for most is, you simply moved further out to get more space for your dollar. That is not my goal. I love living in the city. I like walking to restaurants and shops in my neighborhood and meeting up with friends nearby. And a significant work commute is the last thing on my list. But once I started looking at rent prices for a larger place in another part of town, my mind was blown. Rent quickly became not worth it.

I found a mortgage calculator online to estimate what a mortgage would look like at a similar payment. I was shocked at what you could buy for the same price as rent! Years ago, I told myself I could never afford to buy in DC, one of the most expensive cities in the country, but turns out rent is so high that a mortgage isn’t such a leap. After seeing the cost to buy a small condo in the city, along with the housing finance agency program, I could settle down—at least for a few more years.

My top priority was location, not space for my first home purchase. What was at the top of your list when thinking about buying your first place?

Click here to read the first installment of the #ReadySetHome series.


Keosha Burns is a Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, for Fannie Mae. She is also a first-time homeowner living in Washington, DC. Her new series, #ReadySetHome, offers readers an in-depth look into her homebuying journey, from start to closing and beyond.




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