First-Time Homebuyers: Opportunities in 2010

For those of you who are looking to purchase your first home in 2010…with a little extra work, you could find yourself with $15,000 in down payment assistance. Newtown Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a nonprofit corporation begun in the 90s to address concerns about housing, neighborhood preservation and sustainable development. The vision of CDC is to increase affordable housing and support homebuyers through innovative programs.

Today I want to hone in on the down payment assistance CDC has to offer. It is called an Individual Development Account. Essentially, eligible homebuyers can receive $15,000 toward the purchase of a home, matching up to $3 for each $1 saved by the participants.

Now…the key with this program, as with any assistance program, is to read the fine print. To know if you should even consider applying, you must know the specific requirements of the program.

So, with that said…here are the guidelines:

•You must be a first-time homebuyer! (Remember, this means that you haven’t owned a home in the past 3 years)

•You must earn 80% or less of the HUD Area Median Income (1 person family: $36,900; 2 person: $42,150; 3 person: $47,450; 4 person: $52,700; 5 person:$56,900; 6 person:$61,150)

•As a part of the program, you must complete an approved homebuyer education and counseling program.

•Funds may only be used toward down payment or closing costs on a primary residence. (So…this means funds can’t be used for remodeling or for an investment home.)

•Your debt-to-income ratio cannot go above 43%. (This means that the total payment on the mortgage…principal, interest, taxes and insurance and home owners association fees…cannot exceed 43% of your total income)

•The funds are not a grant, but a forgivable loan. You must live in the home for 5 years. If you live in the home less than 5 years, the repayment will be prorated.

•The assistance money can be used for any property in Maricopa County.

•Your mortgage must come from a participating financial institution.

•There is a $435 administration fee, a $35 enrollment fee and a $400 closing fee.

•In order to receive matched funds, you must open an IDA savings account with a participating bank, make regular monthly deposits of $20 for a minimum of 10 months and you must open escrow on a home purchase within five years of enrolling in this program.

Since its inception, the IDA Program has provided more than $1.8 million in IDA match funds to first time homebuyers. There is, however, one issue! This money runs out fast! According to a Newtown representative I spoke with on the phone recently, in 2009 the money didn’t actually get released until about April and completely dried up by August. If you want these funds, you have to be on the ball! This means you apply for the program now , begin saving now , get pre-qualified now, find a realtor asap and be ready to put in offers come next April when the money is hot off the press. This program is for the diligent, for the planner, for the go-getter!! And if that is what you are, I have no doubt that you will be the recipient of these funds in 2010.

Using the $8,000 Tax Credit to Cover FHA Loan Costs

Recently the FHA revised some of its guidelines and announced that they would allow first time home buyers to apply the $8,000 tax credit to offset the costs associated with obtaining FHA mortgage financing.

Heather Barr over at The Phoenix Agent blog has a great blog post detailing all aspects of this provision. For one thing you can use the $8,000 to cover closing costs, include additional cash down payment and any mortgage interest rate buy-down costs. Notice you can’t use these funds to cover the required 3.5% down payment. Read Heather’s post for additional details.

Here is a portion of the HUD announcement for those interested:

WASHINGTON – Speaking to the National Association of Home Builders Spring Board of Directors Meeting, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will allow homebuyers to apply the Obama Administration’s new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit toward the purchase costs of a FHA-insured home. Donovan said that today’s action will help stabilize the nation’s housing market by stimulating home sales across the country.

This site is for informational purposes only. It is not sponsored or in any way affiliated with the government. If you are in need of a mortgage loan, consult with a licensed mortgage professional. All fair housing and equal housing opportunity laws apply when applying for a mortgage or buying a home. Copyright 2012.