Affordable Dwelling Unit (ADU) - First-Time Homebuyers Program (FTHB) FAQS

What are the income limits for this program?

Maximum income limits are based on 70% of the current median income for the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area. All sources of income for all adult household members should be reported.

First-Time Homebuyers Program

Affordable Dwelling Unit (ADU) Homeownership Program

Buyers arrange their own mortgage financing.

Effective December 2011

Household Size Maximum Income at Initial Eligibility
(70% MSA)*
8 $99,350
* The 70% MSA income limit is set by Zoning Ordinance (ADU provisions). Maximum Income limits are adjusted for household size using the HUD methodology, and are rounded to the nearest $50.

Is income of full-time students counted?

Income from wages of full-time students who are age 18 and above and dependents will not be counted if verification of full-time student status is provided. You must also provide verification of the income to be excluded.

What is meant by "first-time homebuyer"?

I have never owned a home, but my wife has. A first-time homebuyer is someone who has either never previously owned a home or who has not owned residential property in the past three years. If anyone in your household previously owned a home within the last three years, you are not eligible to participate in the sales program.

Who qualifies for a "Displaced Homemaker" waiver of the first-time homebuyer requirement?

This waiver may apply to someone who has owned residential property within the most recent three year period if they owned the property with a spouse and the property had to be sold as a result of a divorce. Documentation would have to be presented to verify qualification for a waiver.

I cannot find all my tax information that is required. Do you really need a complete tax return?

Yes. You will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-829-1040 and request a summary for the items you are missing.

What must be included with the application? If I am self-employed, what is accepted in lieu of a paystub?

Your application must include a copy of your most recent federal income tax return with all attached schedules for each family member filing a return and W-2 forms. Copies of the three most recent paystubs for every wage earner in the family, verification of child support/alimony, and other sources of income, if applicable, are also required.

If you are self-employed, you must submit income and expense information for the most recent three-month period along with two years of federal tax returns with required schedules.

My last tax return shows more income than I now make. Will this affect my eligibility for the program?

Probably not; tax returns are not used to determine your current income. Your tax return is used to verify other information on your application.

My former husband is on my last tax return. What should I submit to show he is not part of my household?

An executed copy of your divorce decree will serve as verification in case of divorce; in case of death, a death certificate.

Do I have to be a citizen to apply?


I just arrived in the U.S. and have never filed taxes. What do I need instead of tax returns?

You must provide documentation to verify the date of your entry into the U.S. (a copy of immigration approval) and a letter from the IRS that you did not file a tax return after you have obtained a Social Security number or a tax identification number.

My children are not dependents on my tax return, however, they live with me. Can I put them on my application?

Yes, however, you must provide documentation to verify that they live with you, i.e., school records and/or your custody agreement.

I do not receive paycheck stubs. My employer pays me by check every Friday. What can I submit instead?

You can have your employer verify your gross annual income and year to date (YTD) earnings on company letterhead, or request your employer to complete an Income Verification form (available from our office).

Where are these properties located?

All of the properties offered through the FTHB program are located throughout Fairfax County. These properties are located in many new home communities as well as established communities.

Should I apply for each drawing?

You should only apply for those drawings for homes that you would be willing to purchase.

What happens if I apply for a drawing and change my mind? Will my refusal to buy the property hurt my chances in subsequent drawings?

No, not unless you have signed a sales contract. In that case, it is the developer’s option whether to release you from your obligation to purchase under the contract. If you have not signed a contract of sale and something happens, you need to inform the builder or owner that you are no longer interested in the property. Your name will be removed from the drawing. This action will not adversely affect your opportunity in the next drawing.

If I apply for a drawing, how do I find out about the results of the drawing?

Only drawing winners will be notified by mail within one week of the drawing. Please do not call the Department of Housing. Due to volume of applicants, we cannot respond to individual inquiries. Additionally, the drawing list is sent to the builder or owner the same date the drawing is conducted. In some cases you may receive a telephone call from the builder or owner before you receive your letter.

Will the Department of Housing help me secure a loan in order to purchase the property?

No. You will need to secure your own financing. For new developments, the builder is required to contribute up to 3% of the sales price toward closing costs. Regardless, you will need cash funds to go to closing. We strongly recommend that you contact a lender to get pre-approved for a loan before you submit a drawing application.

Are there any classes that I can take to help me understand the home buying process?

Yes. There are a number of organizations that provide homebuyer education programs. The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) offers homebuyers’ classes at a number of sites. You may contact the VHDA at 1-888-643-2696 for more information on the dates and sites for these classes. Homeownership education is critical to making sound decisions about buying a home.

What happens if I get a new job after receiving my Certificate of Eligibility? Will this make me ineligible?

You must be income eligible at the time of purchase. While your Certificate is good for one year, changes in income and family size may affect your eligibility at any time. Report all changes immediately so that the Department of Housing can make a determination of your continued eligibility.

Can I sell my home if I buy it through this program?

Yes. Your home can be resold anytime. However, during the thirty-year (30) control period, the resale is subject to certain restrictions that are recorded with your deed. Make sure you clearly understand what controls are placed on the property. These controls are summarized in the First-Time Homebuyers brochure and are recorded in a covenant that is attached to your sales contract.

Can I make improvements to my home under the ADU program?

Yes. However only structural improvements can be counted toward the calculation of the resale price. Structural improvements include adding a deck, family room, bathroom, or patio. Replacements and upgrades do not count as structural improvements. Be sure that you keep all receipts, permits, and inspection reports to document your structural improvements.

Can I rent a home purchased through this program?

No. The home must be occupied by the purchaser(s) as their primary residence. There are no provisions for renting. Additionally, owners of affordable dwellings units must execute a yearly affidavit certifying occupancy. Owners who fail to submit an executed affidavit and/or fail to reside in the home may be fined fifty ($50) dollars per day.

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