Erin, who works at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, had been toying with the idea of buying her first home. She was 32 years old, and was very aware that the Durham housing market was heating up.”I figured if I was going to buy a house, I’d better do it sooner rather than later because prices just kept going up,” explains Erin.However, with only $7,000 in savings at the time, she felt she didn’t have enough money for a down payment. But the timing became a dilemma for her. Should she wait to save more money for a house that would probably cost more in a year? Or, use all her savings to buy a house now – at the risk of leaving herself with no funds for a rainy day or future expenses?The answer came when Erin visited the new home of a friend who had used a down payment assistance program to purchase her house. Her friend explained how down payment assistance programs give first-time homebuyers money to pay for a portion or all of their down payment, with some programs even helping with closing costs.