About the Program

The City of Boulder’s House to Homeownership (H2O) Program is a shared appreciation loan program that provides first-time homebuyers with a second loan of up to $100,000 on a market rate home purchased in the City of Boulder.

This loan is intended to help buyers with limited assets close on the purchase of a market rate home in Boulder. It is not designed to be used with the city’s Permanently Affordable Homes Program and there are no resale restrictions on homes purchased with H2O loans.

Funds are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Neighborhood home

H2O: House to Homeownership

Down payment assistance loan for up to $100,000 on market rate homes purchased in Boulder city limits.

What is shared appreciation?

Shared appreciation loans are zero interest, deferred principal loans. No payments are made on the loan for 30 years, unless the home is sold, or title is transferred. At that point, the loan is due in its entirety plus a percentage of appreciation. For example:

  • Sample Purchase Price: $600,000
  • H2O Loan Amount: $90,000 (15% of purchase price)
  • Home Value When Loan Is Due: $800,000
  • Home Appreciation When Loan Is Due: $200,000
  • Amount Due (original loan + 15% Appreciation): $120,000 ($90,000 + $30,000)

Building Equity with Down Payment Assistance Programs

Homeownership is one way people invest. The City of Boulder's down payment assistance programs allow buyers to invest and build equity or wealth. However, the programs have clear parameters on how equity can be built which can limit equity.

How to Apply for H2O Loans

Review Program Requirements

  • You must be a first-time home buyer, which is defined as not owning a home within the previous 3 years, unless divorced within that period.
  • You must work in the city of Boulder and have a minimum work history of one year within the most recent 12 months.
  • You must purchase a market rate home within Boulder city limits.
  • You must be income and asset qualified, see below.

Other Program Requirements

  • Completion of city orientation and homebuyer education class
  • One member of the household must work 30 hours/week unless retired or disabled
  • Have a minimum of $2,000 toward down payment/closing costs (these costs will likely exceed $2,000)
  • Qualify for a first mortgage loan
  • Total debt to income ratio should not exceed 45 percent (learn more about debt to income ratios)
  • May not own another home at time of purchase
  • Home must be owner-occupied, rental restrictions apply
  • Number of bedrooms may only exceed number in household by one

Contact Impact Development Fund

Applicants that are only interested in this down payment program may contact the Impact Development Fund (IDF), the program administrator, directly. There is no need to complete the City of Boulder program application.

Income and Asset Max

Income is based on gross income for standard employees and net income for self-employed people.

number of peopleINCOME MAX (120% AMI)ASSETS MAX
1 PERSON$122,640$153,300
2 PEOPLE$140,160$175,200
3 PEOPLE$157,680$197,100
4 PEOPLE$175,200$219,000
5 PEOPLE$189,240$236,550
6 PEOPLE$203,280$254,100
7 PEOPLE$217,320$271,650
8 PEOPLE$231,360$289,200

Exempt Retirement Assets

Retirement assets can be deducted based on this chart. Assets must be in a designated retirement account to be exempted.

Under 40 $30,000
40-55 $55,000
Over 55 $110,000

Notice of Nondiscrimination