DC Open Doors: Everything You Need To Know

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Living in historic Washington, DC is an unparalleled experience. The heart of our nation’s government delivers an exciting mix of culture, history, and nature. With so much to offer, homes in the city can also come with a hefty price tag.

The average listing in DC comes in at $600,000, over $280,000 more than the country’s median home cost. But before you cross DC off your list, learn about the different programs available for homebuyers.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the DC Open Doors program to see if it can help you land the home of your dreams!

What Is DC Open Doors?

DC Open Doors is a DC Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) program designed to increase the affordability of homeownership. Homebuyers can apply for housing loans, as well as down payment and closing costs aid.

You can apply whether you dream of moving to DC or you’re a life-long resident. DC Open Doors is ideal for first-time homebuyers because of its simplified process. But prior homeowners can take advantage of this program as well.

What Services Does the DC Open Doors Program Offer?

First-time homeownership can be a confusing and stressful experience. That’s why DC Open Doors is ideal for beginner buyers! Depending on the loan type, applicants enroll in a homebuyer education course that covers the entire process.

The DC Open Doors program offers help in three key areas of the home buying process. Housing loans are acquired through participating lenders. Down payment help and closing costs aid are also available.

Housing Loans

Very few people can buy residential real estate outright. That’s where housing loans come in! Participating DC Open Doors lenders can help buyers secure below-market interest rate mortgages.

FHA and conventional loans are the two loan options with the DC Open Doors program. Choosing the right one depends on your financial situation and lending needs. The maximum loan amount for both types is $548,250.

FHA loans are offered by approved FHA lenders and are government-insured. Conventional loans, on the other hand, are not insured by the government. Instead, they’re available through private lenders or Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac.

Regardless of your choice, you’ll need to pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP). The MIP comes into effect when the down payment is below 20% of the loan for both types of loans.

Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL)

A down payment is a standard step in the homebuying process. The down payment usually averages between 3% and 6% of the house mortgage amount. The cost of this payment can create a barrier to entry for first-time homebuyers.

That’s why the DPAL from DC Open Doors is a great option! It’s a secondary loan used in conjunction with the mortgage to cover the costs of a down payment. You can also use it towards closing costs.

If you’ve applied for a mortgage through the DC Open Doors program, you can take advantage of their DPAL. Buyers can borrow up to 3% of their conventional loan amount or 3.5% of their FHA loan amount.

It’s a deferred non-amortizing loan, meaning you won’t need to make monthly payments towards it. Instead, the cost of your loan is due when one of these situations occur:

  • Thirty years from the loan closing date
  • Upon the sale or transfer of your home to another individual
  • The home ceases to be your main residence
  • You refinance your mortgage

To apply for a DPAL, your income needs to fall below $151,200. This figure is based on the principal borrower’s income rather than the household income. Additionally, your house loan cannot exceed $548,250.

Is DC Open Doors Right for Me?

You’ll need to meet each of the following qualifications before applying through the DC Open Doors program:

  • A credit score of 640 or more
  • Income of $151,200 or less
  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 50% or less for conventional loans
  • DTI of 45% or less for FHA loans

As mentioned before, $548,250 is the highest loan amount, but there’s no limit on the sales price. So if you have a little nest egg saved up, you can potentially combine it with the loan to increase your budget.

The program is eligible for all homebuyers, including repeat buyers. Both residents and non-residents of DC can take advantage of these terms. There are no restrictions on locations, so all DC neighborhoods and wards are allowed.

Most types of residences are approved, including:

  • Detached single-family homes
  • Semi-detached single-family homes
  • Townhomes
  • Condominiums
  • Modular homes

Unfortunately, cooperative housing doesn’t fall into these boundaries. You should consider seeking out another loan if co-op housing is your goal.

The DC Open Doors Process

The DC Open Doors process doesn’t differ too much from a regular home buying experience. You’ll need to apply through a lender, find an agent, and search for your dream home! You can enroll in one of DC Open Door’s home buying seminars for more detailed guidance.

Find a Lender

Your DC Open Doors-approved lender will be your go-to throughout the process. They will take care of the entire mortgage procedure! DC Open Doors provides a helpful list of lenders to contact throughout the area.

Find an Agent

Once your home loan is approved, it’s time for the fun part! You’ll need an experienced, trustworthy real estate agent to guide you. They can fill you in on everything you need to know when moving to DC.

Nomadic Real Estate can help you triumph in the fast-paced bidding war economy of DC. With access to off-market properties and passionate service, you’ll be picking up your new keys faster than you ever imagined!

Get the Home of Your Dreams!

Down payments and skyrocketing home prices can make it impossible to enter the housing market. But programs like DC Open Doors aim to make homeownership accessible and affordable.

After you’ve secured your loan, contact Nomadic Real Estate to find your ideal home. As a family-operated agency, we care about our clients and their families. We have over 17 years of experience in residential real estate in Washington, DC!

Contact Nomadic Real Estate today to discuss your residential real estate sales needs!

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

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Unit Comparison Report:

  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.