A new opportunity for home buyers

The current economic situation may cause some prospective homebuyers to hesitate, and with good reason.  If your income is insecure and you are working to pay off high debts, homeownership may not be for you.  If your job is secure, you have savings, and your debts are under control, you may want to consider buying a home now. 

Even though it is more difficult to get credit and most people fear their credit report, it’s worth the time to investigate whether homeownership is even a possibility.  Prospective home buyers should: 1) get an education on the home buying process and prepare for each step; 2) have a housing counselor at Home Repair Resource Center confidentially review your credit; 3) start a designated savings account for your home purchase; and 4) research opportunities for down payment assistance programs.  This is just for starters. Buying a home is not something to rush into.  

The Center is a nonprofit HUD-certified housing counseling agency that provides free home buying education and individual counseling.  A counselor will walk you step-by-step through the home buying process and inform you of available resources.  The education, guidance and support provided by the Center will help you determine whether homeownership is a possibility at this time. 

If you are interested in buying a home in Cleveland Heights and you meet federal income guidelines, you may be eligible for up to $15,000 in down payment assistance that is forgiven over time.  You must occupy the home as your permanent residence. 

Let’s say that you want to purchase a modest home for $130,000.  If you qualify for the down payment assistance, you will only have to qualify for a $115,000 mortgage.  The down payment program requires three percent of the purchase price to be the homebuyer’s own funds; often enought to cover closing costs.  If the interest rate on your mortgage of $115,000 is six percent over 30 years, the monthly payment would be $690 (principal and interest). For your full monthly payment, add property taxes and insurance to this amount.  As a safeguard for homebuyers using the Cleveland Heights down payment program, the total monthly payment cannot exceed 33 percent of a homebuyer’s monthly gross income. 

The Center's trained housing counselors provide education and guidance on the variables to consider when buying a home and the terms used by lenders and real estate professionals. The only cost to you is time.

Once you own a home, the Center provides resources and programs to help you maintain it, including monthly classes on how to perform basic home repairs yourself.

Call the Home Repair Resource Center at 216-381-6100 and inquire about our Home Buyer Education and Financial Fitness programs.  We are here to serve you.

Gail Jackson lives on East Derbyshire and works for the Home Repair Resource Center.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 1:34 PM, 12.23.2008