Homebuyer Pre-Purchase Education Taught In Howard County

Homebuyer Education


Howard County Housing, in partnership with Guidewell Financial Solutions, has designed an initiative to promote successful homeownership in Howard County, Maryland. Educational workshops and one-on-one counseling will be offered on a monthly basis to households purchasing a home in Howard County, and/or participating in Howard County Housing’s (HCH) homeownership and rental programs, including, but not limited to, the Settlement Downpayment Loan Program (SDLP) and Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) program. Guidewell Financial Solutions is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and the workshop curriculum is derived from guidelines established by the National Industry Standards for Homeownership and Counseling. Individuals and families interested in purchasing a home in Howard County are invited to attend.

Interested participants can register by emailing homebuyerclass@howardcountymd.gov or calling 410-313-6328.

Please note that Howard County’s certificate for completing the counseling is not valid in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Harford County or Baltimore City. If you are planning on purchasing in one of those counties, please access the Maryland Mortgage Program website at www.mmp.maryland.gov to locate the appropriate counseling agency.

More information available on the Howard County Website.

Howard County Home Repair Program

Howard County Housing Repair Program

The Home Repair Program helps income eligible Howard County homeowners make repairs to their homes. The home repairs help the homeowner meet local housing codes for health and safety conditions. Repairs may include, but are not limited to: heating and air systems, electrical wiring, plumbing, roofs, windows and doors. The Home Repair Program has served the community for many years, and helped to preserve homes for residents of Howard County. Homeowners have been given the chance to make improvements to their home, thus reducing housing blight in many neighborhoods.

Special needs?

The County can also assist homeowners with repairs or improvements to assist with mobility, hearing, or vision issues. These repairs can help make it easier to get in or around the home. Ramps, chair lifts, or grab bars are just some of the modifications that can be made through the program for eligible households.

Who is eligible?

You must be the homeowner and live in the home. It must be a single family residence located within Howard County. Your household must meet the family size and income limits determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). All property taxes and outstanding home mortgages must be current, and home must be covered by hazard insurance.

Pre-Application for the Housing Repair Program – click here to download

Program Description and Income Limits – click here to download

Please call 410-313-6318 option 4, Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or email at dgillen@howardcountymd.gov. Upon receipt of the general information, someone will contact you to confirm pre-eligibility for the program and schedule a home visit to complete an application.

Other Resources for Home Repairs
Howard County Housing also administers the Maryland Whole Home program to county homeowners. Maryland WholeHome offers grants and loans from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to assist homeowners with a variety of upgrades and repairs, including: the installation of energy efficient appliances; repair or replacement of heating and cooling systems; removal of lead paint; and addressing structural and maintenance issues. The program offers low-interest loans and grants based on needed work, household income, and the homeowner’s ability to repay. For more information, contact Howard County Housing Home Repair Program at 410-313-3508. 


Howard County Settlement Down Payment Program

Howard Counties Settlement Down Payment Loan

PURPOSE: To assist homebuyers with financing for settlement/downpayment costs.

SCOPE: Loans are available through Howard County Housing for settlement and downpayment costs. All loans will be deferred, due upon sale of home, refinance, or default. Low interest rates at 2 points below the primary mortgage interest rate. Lenders will process all requests.

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must meet the following:

  • Income limits: See income chart located in the information packet below – page 4 (income limits subject to change every January and July).
  • House price limit: $429,620 (CDA purchase price limit for Howard County applies).
  • First-time homebuyer for HomeStarter, HomeSteader, and DreamMaker Loans. First-time homebuyer restriction not required for Revitalization and Workforce Initiative Loans.
  • Have a minimum of $1,000 to apply towards settlement/downpayment costs plus one month PITI (mortgage payment) in savings account.
  • Lack sufficient funds to pay for the total settlement/downpayment costs.
  • Must be approved for a fixed rate primary mortgage loan.


  • Complete an application with an approved lender.
  • Once the loan is approved with your lender, the lender will reserve funds directly with HCD.
  • The lender will send all the required documents, including the application, to HCD for processing funds.
  • Funding reservations are made only by the lender once all the necessary documents, including the primary mortgage loan approval letter, have been submitted to Howard County Housing.
  • If you’re a soon-to-be homebuyer or a lender who’d like to know more, see our SDLP Information Packet.

You may also contact Linda Phillips, SDLP Administrator with the Department of Housing & Community Development at 410-313-6318, option 4, or lphillips@howardcountymd.gov.

All homebuyers participating in the Settlement/Downpayment Loan Program are required to participate in pre-purchase counseling. Certificates are issued to the homebuyer in order to settle on the home purchase.Funds are currently available and are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Interested homebuyers should contact a participating first mortgage lender to begin the application process.

Availability of funds is limited.


Howard County Moderate Income Housing

Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Program

The MIHU Program is an inclusionary zoning program that requires developers of new housing in specific zoning districts to sell or rent a portion (generally 10-15%) of the dwelling units to households of moderate income. MIHUs are sold or rented at affordable prices and rents set by Howard County Housing.

Any person or family can apply to buy or rent an MIHU, provided their household income does not exceed the following maximums:

Household Size Maximum Permitted Income Effective 1/1/2017
Purchase Rent
1 $62,100 $46,575
2 $70,971 $53,228
3 $79,842 $59,882
4 $88,714 $66,535
5 $95,811 $71,858
6 $102,908 $77,181
7 $110,005 $82,504
8+ $117,102 $87,826

Base sale prices for MIHUs range from $228,000 for a condominium to $322,000 for a townhouse. Prices vary depending on the size and amenities of the unit. Rents range from about $1,068 to $1,620. MIHUs are interspersed throughout each development and enjoy all of the amenities of each community.

An individual wishing to purchase an MIHU must fill out an application form during one of four open enrollment periods held throughout the year — during the months of January, April, July and October.

For more information, call our MIHU Division at 410-313-6343.

To learn what happens after you submit your application read: ” Now What” ?

The application includes information about the applicant’s income, assets and household size. In addition, an applicant may qualify for one or more purchasing preferences, such as: a first-time homebuyer, living or working in Howard County, or employed by County government, the school system, or a nonprofit organization.

Once an application is received and determined complete, the applicant’s name is placed on a waiting list. As for-sale MIHUs become available, eligible applicants are notified and invited to attend a lottery drawing to select an eligible purchaser for each home. The selected purchaser must contract with the seller, obtain a mortgage commitment, and pay all downpayment and settlement costs.

Applicants interested in MIHU rentals may apply directly to a participating rental community at anytime during the year. MIHUs are rented on a first-come, first-serve basis. MIHUs are interspersed throughout each community and residents enjoy all the amenities of the community life. Rental management addresses and phone numbers can be found on the Apartments for Rent page below.

Homes for Sale updated January, 2017

MIHU Regulations

Read our most ” Frequently Asked Questions” about our MIHU program.

Questions? Call the Department of Housing and Community Development at (410) 313-6318 for additional information about housing unit types, unit sizes, purchase or rental prices and further details about how you can become eligible for affordable housing opportunities.

Howard County Housing and Community Development
6751 Columbia Gateway Dr #300
Columbia, MD, 21046

Website: Home Ownership Opportunities

HUD Good Neighbor Next Door Program

About Good Neighbor Next Door

Law enforcement officers, pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians can contribute to community revitalization while becoming homeowners through HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program. HUD offers a substantial incentive in the form of a discount of 50% from the list price of the home. In return you must commit to live in the property for 36 months as your sole residence.

How the Program Works

Eligible Single Family homes located in revitalization areas are listed exclusively for sale through the Good Neighbor Next Door Sales program. Properties are available for purchase through the program for seven days.

How to Participate in Good Neighbor Next Door

Check the  listings for your state. Follow the instructions to submit your interest in purchasing a specific home. If more than one person submits an offer on a single home a selection will be made by random lottery. You must meet the requirements for a law enforcement officer, teacher, firefighter or emergency medical technician and comply with HUD’s regulations for the program.

HUD requires that you sign a second mortgage and note for the discount amount. No interest or payments are required on this “silent second” provided that you fulfill the three-year occupancy requirement.The number of properties available is limited and the list of available properties changes weekly.

To learn more, please see our Good Neighbor Sales Frequently Asked Questions!

Comments and Questions

To learn more, please visit the HUD website.

Maryland Mortgage Program – You’ve Earned It Initiative

Maryland Mortgage Program – You’ve Earned It Initiative

The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) is offered through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). For a limited time, eligible homebuyers that that purchase a home in one of Maryland’s Sustainable Communities, and who have at least $25,000 in student debt may qualify for a 0.25% discount on the standard MMP mortgage rate. This program is primarily for first time homebuyers, but exemptions apply.

For more information visit the Department of Housing and Community Development Maryland Mortgage Program.

Maryland Mortgage Program – Maryland Homefront

Maryland Homefront – The Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program

The Department of Housing and Community Development is proud to launch our newest version of Maryland Homefront: The Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program (Maryland Homefront).  Homefront provides military veterans and active duty military with a special interest rate discount of 0.25% for a 30-year and a fixed rate mortgage, This initiative is in appreciation of the contributions made by members of the United States armed services and their families.

Check today’s interest rates

All qualified borrowers under this initiative are also eligible to receive $5,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance through the Maryland Mortgage Program’s Down Payment Assistance Program plus any applicable Partner Match funds. Note that this program is not applicable to refinances.

Talk to an approved Maryland Mortgage Program Lender about possible Down Payment Assistance options available to you.

Download the Homefront Flyer and Fact Sheets

Getting Started

If you’re ready to take advantage of this special program:

  1. Talk to a Lender – Your lender can help you confirm your eligibility for the Homefront Program and will make sure you meet all the requirements, such as attending the right Homebuyer Education Class.
  2. Check Your Eligibility to see whether you can apply for a Maryland Mortgage Program loan. Note that being eligible to apply does not guarantee approval, and lenders will take into account things like your income, credit history and employment situation when considering your application.
  3. Complete a Homebuyer Education Class – Completing a Homebuyer Education prepares you to make the right decisions when purchasing your home.  Homebuyer Education classes are available throughout Maryland, and are provided by a range of Community and Non-Profit organizations as well as local government housing agencies.
  4. Learn about Down Payment Assistance – The Maryland Mortgage Program provides help in the form of Down Payment Assistance alongside a range of Partner Match programs from employers, developers and community organizations that can cover down payment and closing costs.
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For more information visit the Department of Housing and Community Development Maryland Mortgage Program.

Maryland HomeCredit

Maryland HomeCredit Program

Lower Your Federal Taxes, Every Year, For the Life of Your Loan

A Maryland HomeCredit can save a homebuyer tens of thousands of dollars over the life of a home loan, and makes owning a home more affordable. Together with a home loan through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Maryland Mortgage Program, which offers Down Payment Assistance and the certainty of a 30-year fixed interest rate, the State of Maryland is making the dream of sustainable homeownership a reality for more Marylanders than ever.

You may already know about the mortgage interest deduction that most homeowners already claim each year on their federal taxes. The Maryland HomeCredit Program is different, and provides a federal tax credit to eligible homebuyers. A tax deduction reduces the homeowner’s “taxable income”. In contrast, a tax credit, such as the Maryland HomeCredit, provides the homeowner with a reduction in their actual federal tax liability.

The Department’s Maryland HomeCredit Program provides eligible homebuyers with a federal tax credit that may be claimed annually, the value of which is equal to 25% of the value of mortgage interest payments (up to $2,000) paid each year, for the life of the loan (i.e. until payoff, sale, refinance or transfer).

How to Get a Maryland HomeCredit

Homebuyers apply for a Maryland HomeCredit through an approved mortgage lender.  The Lender will confirm the borrowers’ eligibility for this program, and submit an application to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

Who Can Get a Maryland HomeCredit?

To get a HomeCredit, you must be purchasing a home in Maryland and meet borrowing criteria that include:

  • You must meet the same income limits and home purchase price limits as the Maryland Mortgage Program;
  • You cannot have owned a home during the past three (3) years, UNLESS you are purchasing in a Targeted Area;
  • The home  you purchase must be your primary residence.

NOTE – the Maryland HomeCredit Program is not available for refinances or existing homeowners

For More information: http://mmp.maryland.gov/Pages/MDHomeCredit.aspx

Also visit the Department of Housing and Community Development Maryland Mortgage Program.

Maryland Mortgage Program

Is the Maryland Mortgage Program Right for Me?

Buying a home is a big deal. For Marylanders just like you, it may be the single largest purchase you make, and will impact your family’s life for years to come.

For many people, becoming a homeowner can mean stability, greater control over how you live, and the potential for building wealth and equity for your family’s future.

Read more about the benefits of Homeownership.

You may have heard about the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) from a friend or a neighbor, from an ad you saw on a fast-moving bus or from a flyer you picked up at an event, and now you’re wondering if this program can help you move into a home of your own.

The Maryland Mortgage Program is a home loan program that’s right for many Marylanders, is a safe and secure loan from Maryland’s Housing Finance Agency, and has several important features:


Many people across Maryland are eligible to apply for a home loan through the Maryland Mortgage.  Read more: Click Here


For more information visit the Department of Housing and Community Development Maryland Mortgage Program.

USDA Home Repair Program

Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants

Fact Sheet

Program Status: Open

What does this program do? 
Also known as the Section 504 Home Repair program, this provides loans to very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their homes or grants to elderly very-low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards.

Who may apply for this program?
To qualify, you must:

  • Be the homeowner and occupy the house
  • Be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere
  • Have a family income below 50 percent of the area median income 
  • For grants, be age 62 or older and not be able to repay a repair loan

What is an eligible area?
Applicants may check the address of their home to determine eligibility.

How may funds be used?

  • Loans may be used to repair, improve or modernize homes or remove health and safety hazards
  • Grants must be used to remove health and safety hazards

How much money can I get?

  • Maximum loan is $20,000
  • Maximum grant is $7,500
  • Loans and grants can be combined for up to $27,500 in assistance

What are the terms of the loan or grant?

  • Loans can be repaid over 20 years
  • Loan interest rate is fixed at 1%
  • Full title service is required for loans of $7,500 or more
  • Grants have a lifetime limit of $7,500
  • Grants must be repaid if the property is sold in less than 3 years
  • If applicants can repay part, but not all of the costs, applicants may be offered a loan and grant combination

Is there a deadline to apply? 

  • Home loans are available year round as long as funding is available
  • Home loan applications are processed in the order they are received

How long does an application take? 
Approval times depend on funding availability in your area. Talk to a USDA home loan specialist in your area for help with the application

Who can answer questions and how do I get started?
Contact a USDA home loan specialist in your area

What governs this program?

  • The Housing Act of 1949 as amended, 7 CFR Part 3550
  • HB-1-3550 – Direct Single Family Housing Loans and Grants Field Office Handbook

Why does USDA Rural Development do this?
Helping people stay in their own home and keep it in good repair helps families and their communities. Homeownership helps families and individuals build savings over time. It strengthens communities and helps many kinds of businesses that support the local economy.

NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change, please always consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled “What Governs this Program?” Applicants may also contact your local office for assistance.

ited State Department of Agriculture offers housing repair loans, also known as the Section 504 Home Repair program, to provide loans to very-low-income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their homes or grants to elderly very-low-income homeowners to remove health and safety hazards in certain areas of Maryland.

To Qualify You Must

  • Be the homeowner and occupy the house.
  • Be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere.
  • Have a family income below 50 percent of the area median income.
  • For grants, be age 62 or older and not be able to repay a repair loan.
  • Live in an eligible area.

For more information visit United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

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