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Home-buying assistance programs abound across the valley

Between the terminology, paperwork and various fees, buying a home can become a daunting affair, especially for first-time buyers.

“Right now, with interest rates as low as they are, the mortgage payment could possibly be lower than what you’re paying in rent,” said Michael Holliday, chief financial officer for the Nevada Housing Division. “People struggle mostly with their down payments, but the month-to-month cost could end up being lower for people and they’re building good equity in that respect. Programs (like these) are a great way to get their foot in the door.”

To make the process easier, View has compiled a list of home-buying assistance programs across the Las Vegas Valley.

NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION PROGRAM

Las Vegas provides the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to assist those who are earning up to 120 percent of the area median income with the purchase of an abandoned or foreclosed home within targeted neighborhoods. This program will allow for mortgage buy-down and/or down payment and/or closing cost assistance.

Those who have secured a first mortgage loan from an approved lender may be eligible to borrow up to $50,000 in additional funds from the program.

These funds can only be used to pay closing costs and up to half of the down payment.

The available properties are within the Las Vegas city limits.

Anyone meeting program guidelines may apply. All applicants must secure a first mortgage loan, contribute up to 30 percent of gross income toward monthly mortgage payments, invest a minimum of $1,500, occupy the property as their only residence, complete an approved eight-hour homebuyer training course and have an income that does not exceed 120 percent of the area median.

For more information, call Nevada Partners at 702-924-2100 and choose option 2 for Nevada Partners; Consumer Credit Counseling at 702-364-0344; or Housing for Nevada 702-270-0300.

CULINARY AND BARTENDERS HOUSING PARTNERSHIP

This program offers various services to workers of Culinary Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165, covering employees of participating properties that contribute, per a collective bargaining agreement, to the Housing Trust Fund. The program provides homebuyer education, pre- and post-purchase counseling, and down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers in Southern Nevada and helps current homeowners obtain resources when facing foreclosure. Instruction is offered in English and Spanish.

Culinary and Bartenders Union workers who can contribute up to 3.5 percent of the house purchase price (toward the down payment or closing costs) may qualify for the Housing Trust Fund’s Down Payment Assistance loan of up to $10,000. The client must pay back this loan, offered as a silent second loan, when he sells or refinances the house. The loan, for first-time homebuyers, is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and funds are limited. The amount of the down payment by the client will depend on his primary loan.

For more information, visit nevadapartners.org or call 702-924-2100 and choose option 2 for Nevada Partners.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

Nevada affiliates of Habitat for Humanity work through volunteer labor to build and rehabilitate houses for families in need.

Families selected for a Habitat home are required to complete a minimum of 300 hours (per adult living in the home) of “sweat equity” working on Habitat Home construction sites. The families purchase their homes and are required to pay a mortgage. Habitat underwrites a 0 percent interest mortgage for the life of the loan, basing the monthly payment at approximately 30 percent of the family’s monthly income.

Families pay closing costs of approximately 1.5 percent of the appraised value (about $2,500) and also pay the first year’s homeowners insurance (about $500).

Families are selected based on their need for adequate housing, their ability to pay back a 0 percent interest loan and their willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas.

“The application process is pretty rigorous in itself,” said Cathy Vo, community outreach manager at Las Vegas Habitat for Humanity. “We recommend that people set up a one-on-one meeting with our home ownership team to learn more about it. Right now, our application process is closed, but we plan on opening it up again in the late summer.”

Applicants must be legal permanent residents of the United States, must have lived in Clark County for the past 12 months, may not have a discharged bankruptcy in the past two years, may not have any outstanding liens or judgments, their debt must not exceed 55 percent of their monthly income, and their minimum total household income must be at least $23,000 per year (gross).

For more information, visit lasvegashabitat.org or call 702-638-6477.

HOME AT LAST ACCESS PROGRAM

Home at Last Access is the Nevada Rural Housing Authority’s inclusive home financing program. The program offers down payment assistance and a competitive mortgage rate and is available to all homebuyers who will use the home as their primary residence.

“This is a good program for first-time homebuyers and repeat homebuyers,” said Melanie Evans, mortgage and marketing specialist for the authority. “It provides a form of down payment in the form of a grant. If they sell the house in any amount of time, they don’t owe any money. However, they do need to use our interest rate and take a homebuyers education course online.”

The program offers a free cash down payment grant equal to 4 percent of the loan amount, which never has to be repaid, a competitive 30-year fixed mortgage rate, instant home equity (subject to coverage of closing costs) and no asset limits for homebuyers.

The buyer must have a 640 minimum credit score and meet normal FHA, VA or USDA-RD underwriting requirements. He must also have a maximum income limit of $95,500 and use the home as a primary residence. Buyers must complete homebuyer education and purchase their home in rural Nevada (which includes the entire state of Nevada, excluding Las Vegas, surrounding areas and Reno). The house must fall below the maximum purchase price of $400,000.

For more information, visit nvrural.org or call 775-887-1795.

HOME IS POSSIBLE GRANT PROGRAM

The Home is Possible grant program was introduced in 2014 by the Nevada Housing Division. The program helps those who can afford a market rate mortgage but whose savings fall short of the amount needed for entry costs.

“This program is not limited towards first-time homebuyers, but we still obtain 97 percent first-time homebuyers,” Holliday said. “The program requires people to take a homebuyers education course, which can be found on our website. These are very informative, especially for people who haven’t bought a home. It really opens their eyes to the terminology and the steps they need to take.”

The program is focused on homebuyers in Washoe and Clark counties, and the grant amount will be 4 percent of the loan amount covering down payment and closing costs. The grant never needs to be repaid.

The program offers a fixed interest rate 30-year loan and no first-time homebuyer requirement.

Participants must use their home as their primary residence. There are no asset limits for homebuyers, and the program provides a grant up to 4 percent of the home loan amount that can be used for down payment assistance and/or closing costs.

Participants must have a minimum credit score of 640 for government insured loans, 660 for manufactured homes and 680 for most conventional loans. Qualifying income on mortgage application must be below $95,500. The home price must be below $400,000, and a homebuyer education course is required.

For more information, visit housing.nv.gov or call Nnika Cromwell at 702-486-7220, ext. 225.

HOME IS POSSIBLE FOR HEROES PROGRAM

The Nevada Housing Division also provides the Home is Possible for Heroes program for veterans who have been honorably discharged, those serving on active duty, National Guard service personnel and surviving spouses.

The program provides a grant equal to 1 percent of the home loan amount to be used for closing costs and down payment.

For more information, visit housing.nv.gov or call Nnika Cromwell at 702-486-7220, ext. 225.

CITY OF LAS VEGAS DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The City of Las Vegas Down Payment Assistance Program may provide up to $25,000 toward the down payment, approved closing costs, principal or interest buy-down (based on need) for first-time homebuyers. Homebuyer contribution is a minimum of $1,500 or 50 percent of the down payment, whichever is greater.

For more information, visit financialguidancecenter.org or call 702-364-0344.

CITY OF NORTH LAS VEGAS DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The City of North Las Vegas Down Payment Assistance Program may provide up to $20,000 toward the down payment, approved closing costs and principal reduction for a home purchased within the North Las Vegas limits. Homebuyer contribution is a minimum of $1,000 plus 50 percent of the down payment and some closing costs.

For more information, visit financialguidancecenter.org or call 702-364-0344.

CLARK COUNTY DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Clark County Down Payment Assistance Program may provide up to $14,999 toward the down payment, approved closing costs, and principal reduction for a home purchased within unincorporated Clark County.

For more information, visit financialguidancecenter.org or call 702-364-0344.

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT

The Individual Development Account is a minimum 10-month savings program that may provide a match of $3 for every $1 saved by the potential homebuyer. A homebuyer maximizing contributions of $5,000 would have $20,000 toward the down payment and closing costs for the new home. This program is intended for anyone needing to save funds toward the down payment or has the need to address credit challenges before becoming a homebuyer.

For more information, visit financialguidancecenter.org or call 702-364-0344.

HOME TODAY

HOME Today is an exclusive program through Housing for Nevada, a nonprofit affordable housing developer and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development certified housing counseling agency, for families that want to purchase a house but cannot get a mortgage. They may have owned a home in the past but lost the property due to foreclosure or short sale.

There is no income limit for this program, and families do need to contribute their own funds for the down payment. The amount will vary depending on the purchase price of the property.

For more information, visit housingfornevada.org or call 702-270-0300.

HOME DOWN-PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Housing for Nevada also administers the HOME down-payment assistance program for first-time buyers with an income limit not exceeding 80 percent of the area median income, anywhere in unincorporated Clark County or Henderson. Housing for Nevada acquires foreclosed properties in these areas, provides rehabilitation and then sells the homes to low-to-moderate income homebuyers. Eligible homebuyers may receive up to $14,999 in assistance.

HOME funds are a second lien forgivable after five years.

For more information, visit housingfornevada.org or call 702-270-0300.

WISH PROGRAM

Another popular down-payment assistance program is WISH. This program is for first-time homebuyers and offers a 3-to-1 match in funds. The minimum amount that must be contributed by the homebuyer is $1,500, and the maximum is $5,000.

Families that want to participate in the WISH program must be first-time homebuyers with an income that does not exceed 80 percent of the area median. The funds must also be used in conjunction with Nevada State Bank or another participating WISH provider.

For more information, visit housingfornevada.org or call 702-270-0300.

In addition, a list of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies can be found at 1.usa.gov/1HuStf9.

To find out if your community offers homeownership assistance, visit 1.usa.gov/1n7Vevc.

To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email slopez@viewnews.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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