Frequently Asked Questions

What is DPA?

DPA stands for Down Payment Assistance.  A DPA loan is used to pay the required downpayment, closing costs and other expenses that are part of your total home loan (mortgage) package.  DPA loans normally have a lower interest rate and may be deferred or forgivable.  Many first-time homebuyers get a small “side loan” or financial gift from parents or relatives if they are unable to save enough for the downpayment on their home.  If you don’t have family that can help AND your household income is considered low or very low, you may qualify for a downpayment assistance loan from a local non-profit organization or governement agency.  Some banks offer smaller amounts of DPA and there are special government DPA loans for veterans, teachers, people living with disability and other special category borrowers. 

What credit score do I need to get a home loan?  

Most lenders will accept a credit score of 640, but a few specialized loan programs for veterans and first-time homebuyers accept lower scores. 

Is this free money?

No. Columbia Valley Affordable Housing provides low-interest loans to qualified low-income families.  Payment is deferred for at least 5 years to help families become financially stable.  Most loans are repaid when the home is sold again or the primary home loan is refinanced.

How do I make an appointment with Columbia Valley Affordable Homeownership?

CVAH is a very small agency with one part-time staff. Email is the quickest way to get a response and leaving a voicemail message is the slowest.  There are several important steps you can take to educate yourself about the homebuying process before you make an appointment:

  • Educate yourself with free online homebuying courses
  • If you know your credit score is low, call Apprisen, formerly the Consumer Credit Counseling Agency, to repair and increase your credit score.  Call them at 800-355-2227.