Tips for preparing for homeownership:
- Attend a Homeownership seminar at the Housing Authority.
- Start a savings account. Even saving a small amount will show a lender that you have been working toward your goal.
- Develop a budget for the whole family.
- Work to improve your credit score and pay off debts.
- Be realistic about the size and type of home that you may be able to afford.
How does the HCV Homeownership Program work?
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) includes a homeownership program. Under the new program, participants who qualify may have their monthly housing assistance payment applied to a mortgage payment rather than rent.
- You may be eligible to participate if:
- You have participated in the HCV program for at least one year
- At least one member of your family works 30 hours per week or more, and your family earns more than the minimum allowable earned income. (This amount changes annually. There are some exceptions for elderly or disabled persons. Participants must have enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan)
- You are in good standing with the HCV program (no program violations or outstanding debts)
- No one in your household has owned a home for the last 3 years.
Will the Housing Authority help me find a house and get a loan?
The Housing Authority can provide counseling, education, and information, but it is your responsibility to qualify for a mortgage and find a home to buy.
Here’s how it works:
- You attend an HCV Homeownership Seminar and one-on-one counseling sessions as needed to learn about the homebuying process.
- If you meet the minimum requirements, we will provide a list of lenders that are familiar with the HCV program, and it is your responsibility to choose a lender and apply for a mortgage. You do not have to choose a lender from the list.
- You and your lender can use the Eligibility Worksheet on our website to review the basic requirements.
- We will give you some house-hunting tips, and you may select a real estate agent and begin searching for a home you can afford.
- We determine your final eligibility after you find a home to purchase.
How much assistance will I qualify for?
The amount of assistance you would get from the HCV Homeownership Program depends on your income and your total monthly homeownership costs. In general, the amount of assistance may be similar to what the Housing Authority pays your landlord now as rental assistance.
As part of your homeownership counseling sessions, we will help you estimate the amount of assistance you may receive.
This assistance may be sent directly to you every month, or to your lender, depending on what you and your lender decide.
Your assistance payments would be continually adjusted as your income and housing costs change.
In most cases, your homeownership assistance payments would end after 15 years, or sooner if your income increases so that you are able to afford your entire monthly payment.
How much will I need for a downpayment?
The amount of the downpayment depends on the price of the home you buy and your lender’s requirements.
You are required to make a downpayment of at least 3% of the purchase price. 1% must come from your own savings, and the rest may be a gift from a friend or relative.
You will also be responsible for paying closing costs, which may cost several thousand dollars.
If you participate in the Housing Plus program, you may use the funds in your escrow account for your down payment if you complete your Housing Plus contract.
The Housing Authority offers other programs that may provide additional downpayment assistance. The requirements for each program are different. We will give you more information about these programs at the HCV Homeownership Seminar.
What kind of mortgage can I apply for?
If you are participating in the HCV Homeownership program, you must receive a conventional, fixed-rate mortgage from a lender we approve. Adjustable rate mortgages, balloon payments, and seller financing are not permitted with the HCV Homeownership program.