Variety of programs aid homebuyers

The median price of homes is on the rise in the Las Vegas Valley. But several programs around the state are available to assist potential homebuyers to get that last push into homeownership.

Earlier this year, local real estate agents, lenders and brokers filled the room for an event at United Way of Southern Nevada offices at 5830 W. Flamingo Road to learn how consumers can benefit from these programs. The program was sponsored by the Nevada Association of Real Estate Brokers.

Many of these programs introduced were WISH, the Home is Possible grant program and Home at Last.

• Home is Possible grant program

Tim Whitright, deputy administrator of the Nevada Housing Division, spoke about the key points on how Home is Possible can assist homebuyers and help increase the number of homeowners in the state.

Home is Possible, which was introduced by the Nevada Housing Division in 2014, helps first-time and other homebuyers enter the market with a down payment assistance grant, which doesn’t have to be paid back. There is no requirement on how long a person must live in the home.

The program offers up to a 5 percent grant for borrowers using conventional financing and up to a 4 percent grant on government financing. The funds can be used for a down payment or closing costs associated with a purchase of a home. The grant program can be combined with the division’s Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, which can provide up to a 30 percent federal income tax credit of the interest paid on a mortgage loan for first-time homebuyers and veterans.

Homebuyers must find a home under $400,000 and have a minimum 640 credit score, 660 for manufactured homes, to qualify.

Borrowers may not exceed an annual income of $98,500, which was raised for the first time since the program’s inception in March from $95,500. Borrowers have no restrictions on the amount of assets a homebuyer can have, though the property purchased with the grant money must be the buyer’s primary residence.

“The Nevada Housing Division sets the income qualifications for the program with the goal of meeting the needs of low-and moderate-income homebuyers,” said C.J. Manthe, administrator at the Nevada Housing Division in an email following the training event. “Many of the families we help have two incomes and are just starting out after working for a while in their first career opportunity.”

The average income of a typical homebuyer the program helps is $59,600 with an average mortgage amount of $209,000, Manthe said.

Since its inception, the program has assisted 11,808 Nevadans; 9,284 of those were in Clark County.

The amount of the grant is based on the price of the home.

Other requirements include a free mandatory two-hour homebuyer education course, administered online. There is also a one-time fee of $675.

For more information call 702-486-7220, ext. 225.

• Home is Possible for Heroes

Home is Possible for Heroes is available for veterans who have been honorably discharged and those serving on active duty. The grant program is also available for National Guard service personnel and surviving spouses.

The grant program can be combined with the MCC and has many of the same attributes as the Home is Possible grant program: A borrower must have a credit score of 640 and a maximum income of $98,500. Home price must be below $400,000.

For more information call 702-486-7220, ext. 225 or ext. 222.

• Home is Possible for Teachers

The Home is Possible for Teachers grant program is available for Nevada’s K-12 teachers. Buyers can receive $10,000 in bonus money for a down payment and closing costs on a home purchase.

Whitright said the bonus can be forgiven after living in the home for five years.

The money would have to be paid back, prorated for the time lived in the home, if the home is sold before the five-year mark, he said.

The minimum credit score for this program is 660, and the cost of the home must be less than $400,000 with a $98,500 maximum borrower income.

This program can be combined with MCC. The program fees for MCC are discounted. Borrowers can’t use conventional loans with the program, government-issued loans only. There is also a homebuyer education course requirement. Mortgage Tax Credit Certificate Program

The Mortgage Tax Certificate Program from the Nevada Housing Division can be combined with any Home is Possible program.

The credit provides up to a 30 percent federal income tax credit on interest paid on a mortgage loan for as long as a borrower has a loan, all the way up to a 30-year loan, Whitright said. The average savings is $2,000 annually. For more information, call the Nevada Housing Division at 702-486-5946. Home at Last

The Nevada Rural Housing Authority offers two Home at Last programs in Nevada: the Home at Last Down Payment Assistance program and the Home at Last Mortgage Credit Certificate program. The programs are available in most parts of Clark County.

Homebuyers can get up to a 5 percent grant toward the purchase of a home, and the funds can be used for assistance for a down payment, closing costs or principal reduction, said Melanie Evans, a specialist for Home at Last.

There is no first-time homebuyer requirement to qualify, but borrowers must maintain the home as their primary residence.

The income limits are $98,500 for borrowers looking to obtain Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs or U.S. Department of Agriculture loans. The maximum income for a conventional loan and offerings from the Housing Finance Agency (HFA Preferred) is $125,000.

Maximum purchase price varies by loan product and by county. Minimum credit score to qualify for the program is 640, with some loan types requiring a higher score.

The Mortgage Certificate program offers a federal income tax credit on the interest paid on a mortgage annually for the life of the loan. Evans said most of her homebuyers get up to $2,000. For more information, visit

WISH program

Representatives from the Financial Guidance Center introduced two programs. The first was the WISH program, which offers a 3-1 match for homebuyers, up to $15,000Homebuyers must have a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $5,000. The funds are put toward down payment and closing costs, or a reduction in principal if there’s any money left over from the match funds.

Michelle Johnson, president and CEO of Financial Guidance Center, said this year’s funding became available April 1.

Typically, the Financial Guidance Center runs out of funding within three to four months. But Johnson said there was a 200 percent increase in funding in 2017, which will likely push the nonprofit past its typical timeframe.

Funding is supplied by members of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco who apply for grants, subsequently choosing a nonprofit to administer the program. Johnson said her nonprofit has had the program for the past 10 years.

A sister program at the Financial Guidance Center offers a long-term savings program, an Individual Development Account, where homebuyers have 10 months to five years to save for a home. A bank must approve a homebuyer’s file before a buyer can open an account.

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