The City of Owensboro announced Wednesday that they are taking applications for their HUD HOME First-Time Home Buyer Program, a program in which housing opportunities don’t come up very often.
“It’s an opportunity for first-time home buyers to own a home they would otherwise not be able to afford,” said City Community Development Director Abby Shelton.
In this scenario, the city takes dilapidated houses and revitalizes them for income-qualifying buyers to obtain a home loan on their own. Shelton urges interested community members seeking permanent housing to “act quickly.”
“It’s on a first come first served basis,” Shelton said. “Buyers must be able to obtain their home loan independently, which is a process that often takes time.”
Part of the qualifications, as outlined on the application, are copies of income and assets for everyone in the household, copies of proper identification, the last three years of tax returns, a pre-approval letter from their lender and a certificate of completion for a HUD-approved homebuyer education course.
Local manager, Cassie Johnson with Sierra Pacific Mortgage, was very complimentary of the program. Johnson’s team acts as a guide in many ways for clients.
“Many first-time home buyers don’t know where to start or what documentation is needed of them,” Johnson said. “We make the process simple.”
Johnson stated some of the most common questions loan officers get are things like, “Do we go look at a house first? How much is reasonable within my budget? And how will my credit affect becoming a homebuyer?”
“I always recommend getting pre-approved first so potential buyers can find out what the full payment, including things like property taxes and homeowners insurance will be,” Johnson said.
As for credit history, Johnson said some individuals find it hard to take that first step at even letting loan officers look at their credit.
“We oftentimes find clients’ credit is better off than they once thought and that some types of previous collections may not adversely affect them as much as they are worried,” Johnson said, adding that her team is patient with clients who might have items on their credit report negatively affecting them and work with them on goal setting.
For some Owensboro community members, this may be the first opportunity they’ve had to potentially fulfill their dreams of becoming a homeowner.
“My passion is for first-time homebuyers,” Johnson said, “because seeing they’ve made a huge step in their life and an investment in themselves is very inspiring. Seeing clients hear they are approved for the first time, to actually getting the keys to their house, I feel the excitement over and over again and it’s truly rewarding.”
Shelton’s team has also been thrilled with the outcomes, sharing one recent story of a dream fulfilled.
“This last year a young woman and her son were able to move into their home,” Shelton said. “For this woman, she was the first person in her entire family to become a homeowner. This Christmas they were able to celebrate Christmas as a family in their very own home.”
For more information on the HOME program, you can contact Abby Shelton, Community Development Director at 270-687-8658 or view the application online.
*The City of Owensboro and Sierra Pacific Mortgage are in no way affiliated with one another and the city is open to working with all mortgage companies of first-time home buyers.