Lairson: Updated guidelines simplify buying a home

Pat Lairson

By Pat Lairson

If you are a homebuyer and are not aware of these loan programs, you need to be. I wrote about this program a few months ago, but there have been some guideline changes to make it even better. Buyers can get into a home with little to nothing out of pocket as the program gift covers the down payment.

What are the programs?

They are called Home Plus and Home in Five. Both are through Arizona E-Housing and they are down-payment-assistance programs designed to help get buyers into homes. The money can be used for a down payment and closing costs.

I spoke with Lisa Shepard of Prime Lending, who explained, “On both programs, the rates are set by E-Housing, not the lender, and are a little higher than market but the buyer gets free money to buy a home.”

Lisa stated, “It’s a true gift, not a loan, not a lien, and no requirements as to how long the buyer has to live in the home. When it closes, the money is theirs and there is no first-time homebuyers requirements.”

Here is a brief explanation of the programs:

Home Plus Program: Conventional program for all counties in Arizona except Pima. FHA allowed in all counties in Arizona except Pima and Maricopa. For FHA in Maricopa County, Home in Five is used. Credit score of 640 minimum for FHA and Conventional with 5 percent down or more. For Conventional with 3 percent down, a 680 credit score is required. Seller concessions are allowed with this program with a conventional loan up to 3 percent and with an FHA loan up to 6 percent. There is a very simple free one-hour online homebuyer education course every buyer is required to take.

There is a maximum income limit of $89,000 per year for whoever is on the loan, not who lives in the household.

Home in Five Program: Only available in Maricopa County and uses only FHA Financing. More detailed homebuyer education course required with a cost of $150. Minimum FICO score 640. A home inspection invoice is required. Max income limit $88,340 per year for whoever is on the loan, not who lives in the household. Seller concessions allowed to 6 percent to cover closing costs.

There is no additional time needed to close on these loans. These loan programs are easy and follow regular lending program guidelines. These are just two new options available to help renters who want to own a home, become a home owner.

The number of active single-family dwellings available for sale as of this writing in Maricopa are 294. This is a reduction in inventory for Maricopa. We know what happens with supply and demand. As inventory shrinks if demand does not go down, prices will rise. So listen up, sellers; this is a great time to list your home. These two programs are ideal for the buyer who has the credit scores needed to qualify for a loan, but not a lot of cash for a
down payment.

Every good Realtor has a great lender they work with. The first step always in thinking about buying a home is to talk with a lender and see what you qualify for. You just may qualify for one of these programs and can be in your new home by the end of the year. Ask your Realtor to connect you to a great lender.

Pat Lairson is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.



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