Buying your first home in Maryland can feel daunting, with a competitive real estate market and home prices on an upward trend. In 2023, the average sale price in Maryland was over $468,000 (vs. $454,000 in 2022), according to the Maryland Realtors Association, and homes sold quickly, too: a median nine days on market.

First-time homebuyers in the state can take advantage of programs offered through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Let’s break these programs down and cover other assistance you may be eligible for.

Maryland first-time homebuyer programs

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) offers several options for aspiring homeowners.

Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) 1st Time Advantage

Maryland’s 1st Time Advantage loan, a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, offers competitive, low-interest rate loans for first-time homebuyers. Income limits apply, from $124,500 to $210,980, varying by location and household size. Mortgage limits also apply, ranging from $472,030 to $726,200. These loans can be paired with down payment assistance (see below), but can’t be used in conjunction with a mortgage credit certificate.

MMP Flex loans

Maryland’s Flex loans are similar to the 1st Time Advantage loans, with the main difference being that they’re offered for repeat homebuyers as well as first-timers. These mortgages also come with down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a deferred loan.

Maryland SmartBuy 3.0

The state of Maryland offers a unique, specific program for those with student loan debt. If you owe at least $1,000 in student loans, the SmartBuy 3.0 program can help you get a mortgage and pay off that debt in one transaction. The amount you can apply to student loan debt payoff is up to 15 percent of the home’s purchase price, with a cap of $20,000. This is a zero-interest loan, forgivable after five years. To qualify, you must meet all the requirements for the Maryland Mortgage Program, and the transaction must fully pay off the borrower’s student debt.


If you or a member of your household is living with a disability, the HomeAbility program offers two separate loans. The primary mortgage is for 95 percent of the purchase price. The program also offers a secondary lien in the form of a zero-interest loan for up to 25 percent of the price (with a maximum of $45,000) to cover down payment and closing costs. Payments are deferred on this secondary lien for the life of the primary mortgage, but is due in full if the home is sold, refinanced, paid off or ownership is transferred.

To qualify for HomeAbility, you must submit documentation to prove the disability, as well as be below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI).

Maryland down payment assistance

Whether you choose a Maryland 1st Time Advantage or a Flex mortgage, there are several down payment assistance (DPA) options you can pair with these types of loans.

1st Time Advantage 6000 and Flex 5000

The 1st Time Advantage 6000 provides $6,000 to use toward your down payment and closing costs, and the Flex 5000 program provides $5,000 to use towards those costs. The funds come in the form of a zero-interest second mortgage. You won’t have to make any payments on the second mortgage until your first mortgage term ends, either when you pay the loan off in full, refinance it or sell the home. At that point, you must repay the funds.

Through these programs, you can also receive a “partner match” if you’ve obtained other down payment assistance, such as funds or a grant from an employer, community organization, home builder or local government. These programs will match that assistance, up to $2,500, through an additional zero-interest second loan. Browse this list of potential partners to see which organizations might be willing to help with your home purchase.

1st Time Advantage 3% and Flex 3%

The 1st Time Advantage 3% and Flex 3% loans provide a zero-interest second mortgage, equal to 3 percent of your first mortgage, as down payment assistance. Like 1st Time Advantage 6000 and Flex 5000, they are deferred liens, and eligible for down payment partner matches.

1st Time Advantage also offers 4% and 5% DPA loans for those who qualify.


For those at or below 50 percent AMI, Maryland offers a zero-interest, deferred DPA loan of 6 percent of the home’s purchase price. Like other Maryland DPA loans, this one is due in full once the primary mortgage is paid off or refinanced, the home is sold or there’s a change in ownership.

Other Maryland homebuyer assistance programs

Depending on where you’re looking to call home in Maryland, you might be eligible for additional assistance with your purchase. Here are some examples.

Montgomery Homeownership Program

If you’re looking to live in Montgomery County — the neighboring county to the nation’s capital — the Montgomery Homeownership Program offers up to $25,000 of down payment and closing cost assistance. The money is a zero-interest deferred loan that is due on sale, refinance, ownership transfer or full payment of the mortgage.

Baltimore homeownership resources

If you’re buying in Baltimore, there are several assistance resources, including a Live Near Your Work program, which offers grant funds from more than 100 employers and a matching incentive from the city.

The Buying Into Baltimore $5,000 loan lottery that occurs 12 business days after one of Live Baltimore’s Trolley Tours, held three times a year. This loan is forgivable after five years, with the money eligible to be used for a down payment and closing costs.

The city also offers many other financial incentives to become a homeowner in Baltimore.

Other Maryland first-time homebuyer loans

On a national level, there are loans geared toward first-time homebuyers that Marylanders can take advantage of. Some of the loans you can explore include:

  • FHA loans: Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have more lenient financial requirements than other loans. You can get an FHA loan with 3.5 percent down and a credit score as low as 580.
  • VA loans: For active-duty military, veterans and surviving spouses, a loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a great option. These loans typically come with lower interest rates and don’t require a down payment.
  • USDA loans: Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also require no down payment, but you’ll need to buy in a designated rural area and meet area-specific requirements.
  • HomeReady and Home Possible loans: HomeReady and Home Possible are loan programs created by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They’re specifically for first-time homebuyers, requiring only 3 percent down and having more flexible income requirements.

If you have a job in public service — for instance, as a firefighter, law enforcement officer or teacher — you might be eligible for the Good Neighbor Next Door program, as well, which also has a very low down payment minimum.

Get started

Ready to officially call yourself a Maryland first-time homebuyer? After you’ve researched the assistance you qualify for, look into what it’s like to buy a home in Maryland. Knowing what to expect in the Maryland housing market will help you be a more educated homebuyer.