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The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County is asking SILVAR REALTORS® to inform their clients that money is available to help Santa Clara County residents purchase their first home.

“We have money and we want to help. There’s plenty of money for people to qualify,” Dan Lachman, director of lending for The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, told a focus group composed of SILVAR REALTORS® meeting in Mountain View this week.

Lachman discussed The Housing Trust’s current homebuyer assistance programs and sought feedback from the REALTORS® on how the nonprofit lender can more effectively provide opportunities in Mountain View. The Housing Trust is planning to have a public outreach event for Mountain View residents in the fall. Mountain View City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga joined Lachman and the REALTORS® at the meeting, stating she wishes more people who work in Mountain View could avail of the home buyer programs, so they could live in Mountain View, as well.

The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County makes loans and grants to increase the supply of affordable housing, prevent homelessness and assist qualified individuals and families in buying their first home. Lachman specifically asked the REALTORS® to inform their clients of two programs that provide assistance to first-time home buyers – the Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP) and the Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP). In order to qualify for either of these programs, the household income for a four-member household cannot exceed $126,000, or the income for a single-member household cannot exceed $88,200.

The Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP) for first-time homebuyers provides 3 percent of the purchase price up to $15,000 towards the down payment, closing costs or other transaction expenses associated with a home purchase. No interest or principal payments are due during the term of the loan. This loan is due when the borrower sells the house or refinances the home, or in 30 years, with a 3 percent deferred interest rate.

The Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) is an amortizing 30-year second mortgage available for moderate-income first-time home buyers. Second loans of 17 percent of the purchase price up to $85,000 are available under this program, with the interest rate at 1 percent above the interest rate of the first loan.

Lachman and his team have offered to speak to companies and business about the non-profit lender’s loan programs. See the next scheduled workshop here. For more information about The Housing Trust, its programs and program guidelines, visit www.housingtrustcc.org

The Cupertino First-time Home Buyer Seminar held last Saturday was well-attended.

The City of Cupertino and SILVAR’s Equal Opportunity Committee partnered to present a First-Time Home Buyer Seminar at the Cupertino Community Hall last Saturday. SILVAR members served as panelists in discussions focusing on credit information and tips for first-time home buyers. A third segment of the seminar was presented by The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County.

Presenting advice on credit, Richard Miller (Proficio Mortgage Ventures), Kenneth Chan (HSBC), and Jimmy Kang (Bank of America) stressed now, more than ever, your FICO score is very important. Miller recommended that potential buyers check their FICO score at least once a year to make sure their credit report is accurate; six credit cards are ideal; and make sure debt on each credit card is no more than 30 percent of the allowed credit. Chan informed international buyers of requirements for buying property here in the U.S. Kang talked about the different loans available for buyers.

A panel of REALTORS® with Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty), Nina Daruwalla (Coldwell Banker), Grace Keng (Re/Max Real Estate Services), and Moise Nahouraii (Referral Realty) informed prospective home buyers that these days, in addition to having a good credit rating and history, they need to get pre-approved by a lender before they start looking at homes or contacting a real estate professional. They differentiated between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent, stressing REALTORS® pledge to abide by a Code of Ethics. They reminded buyers there is no “perfect home,” but with the help of a REALTOR® who is knowledgeable and employing good negotiating strategies, one can find the best property for the best value and clinch the deal.

Dan Lachman, program manager of The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, then shared information on programs that provide financial assistance to first-time homebuyers, including the Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP), the Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) and Equity Share Co-Investment (ESCO).

“Almost 80 percent of all home searches today begin on the Internet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, home buyers can search through hundreds of online listings, view virtual tours of neighborhoods and homes,” said Tess, Crescini, chair of SILVAR’s Equal Opportunity Committee. “Many prospective home buyers don’t realize a lot of preparation is needed before their search. We hope we were able to educate them about these important steps, so their home buying experience can be successful.”

Crescini moderated the SILVAR panels, along with Sue Bose, who is also a member of the committee. The weekend seminar was held in observance of Affordable Housing Week. Also represented at the event were credit counselors from SurePath, West Valley Community Services, Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley, Project Sentinel and Habitat for Humanity.

See article and more photos on here.

Dan Lachman, program manager of The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, wants REALTORS® to inform their clients that The Housing Trust can provide assistance to first-time home buyers.

“We have money to help your first-time home buyers,” Lachman announced at a recent REALTOR® meeting.

The Housing Trust offers three main financial assistance programs for first-time home buyers – the Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP), the Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) and Equity Share Co-Investment (ESCO):

Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP)
The Housing Trust will provide up to $6,500 to help pay for closing costs and other transaction expenses associated with purchasing a first home. This program provides a deferred loan of 3 percent of the purchase price up to $15,000 for down payment and/or closing costs.  The loan is not repaid until the house is sold or the owner refinances. No interest or principal payments are due during the term of the loan.

Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP)
MAP is a second mortgage of up to $35,000 available to first-time home buyers in Santa Clara County. The Housing Trust MAP loan is a conventional second mortgage, with interest and principal payments due monthly and compatible with most banks and credit unions. It is a 30-year amortizing loan with the interest rate at 1.5 percent above the rate of the first loan.

To qualify for the CCAP and MAP, the income of a single-member household cannot exceed $86,950, or household income for a four-member household cannot exceed $124,200.

Equity Share Co-Investment (ESCO)
The Housing Trust will advance as much as $75,000 to first-time home buyers. The money will be used to match a buyer’s down payment. Payments on the ESCO loan will not be due until 15 years later, or until the house is sold or the borrower refinances. The borrower repays the loan based on the appreciation of the home in equal proportions to the amount of the original down payments. To qualify for the program, the income of a single-member household cannot exceed $103,390, or the household income of a four-member household cannot exceed $147,700.

Since 2001 The Housing Trust has provided 2,100 down payment assistance loans. Also, The Housing Trust’s definition of first-time home buyer is different from the state or federal government’s definition. A person who has not owned a home in Santa Clara County during the last three years is considered a first-time home buyer by The Housing Trust and may apply for assistance, according to Lachman.

Ask your REALTOR® about The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, or visit www.housingtrustcc.org to learn more about these and other assistance programs.

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