First Time Buyer Programs in 2009

The timing is right, and financial opportunity is here, ... in the form of buyer programs, they are also called mortgage assistance programs.

A basic requirement is that the buyer be a "first-time buyer". If you haven't owned any property in a long time, that may also qualify you.

These programs are invariably sponsored by a local city, or Los Angeles or Orange Counties.

Another feature is there may be a "silent second", which means there is no monthly payment due until a certain date, or the property is sold, depending on the program. These are down payment assistance programs provided through qualified entities.

There may be income restrictions and household size maximums, geographic area buying restrictions in some programs, or current residence requirement restrictions, and U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is required.

Principal residence (no income investments) of a single family home, condominium or townhome.

NOTE: No 100% financing--buyers must have "skin in the game", although on one program the buyer contribution is only 1%, most are up to 3% and 5% down payment levels, depending on FHA or conventional loan requirements, and must be from the borrower's own funds.

The exciting news is that if the buyer falls into a program's guidelines, there could be a difference of several hundred dollars a month difference in the monthly loan payment vs. a loan without an assistance program.

So who has these programs?
  • The City of Fountain Valley offers up to $150,000 in the form of a "silent" second, with an annual gross income starting at a maximum of $70,600 for a single buyer, up to $133,200 for a household of eight.

  • Orange County has a Mortgage Assistance Program offering up to $40,000 for a "silent" second; income starts at maximum of $52,100 for a single buyer. Good in 15 cities including Seal Beach, Stanton, Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos, plus unincorporated areas.

  • The WISH Downpayment Assistance Grant provides up to $15,000 for each household (funds available on first come, first serve basis). Must purchase in Orange County.

  • Orange County Housing Trust has up to 25% of the purchase price (no more than $115,000), for downpayment assistance. Purchase must be in Orange County.

  • City of Bellflower Downpayment Assistance Program offers up to $40,000 in a "silent" second, with a single buyer income no higher than $42,450, going up to a maximum of $80,050 for a household of eight.

  • City of Long Beach offers a program currently "on hold" but still taking applications.

For more assistance in finding a home in 2009, and getting financial program help, please contact me.

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