Monday, January 30, 2012

The Homeownership Assistance Program


The Homeownership Assistance Program is administered through the County of Lexington’s Community Development Department. The program provides funding to eligible first-time homebuyers to assist with down payment and/or closing costs. A first-time homebuyer is defined as one who does not presently own a home or land, nor has previously owned a home or land within the last three (3) years. At the time of application to the Community Development Department, an applicant also cannot have an existing purchase contract on a home.

Funding is provided in the form of deferred forgivable loans, and may be applied toward the down payment and/or closing costs for the purchase of a single family dwelling. Assistance will typically be provided in amounts up to $5,000 and will be distributed on a first-come/first-served basis. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have necessary income to support ongoing mortgage payments. Applicants must also be able to secure a fixed-rate home mortgage through an approved lending institution. The interest rate must be at or below market rates. The mortgage must also be secured independent of a co-signer.

Applicants approved for program assistance must complete required homeownership education class prior to closing. The classes will cover topics including:
  • Home Buying
  • Budget and Credit
  • Home and Yard Maintenance
These classes help individuals and families take advantage of new housing opportunities by helping them gain the knowledge and financial skills they need to become successful homeowners. In addition, the classes will teach how to protect and maintain a housing investment and practice sound money management skills

Eligible Properties

The Homeownership Assistance Program has specific requirements for homes that will be purchased with the assistance of funding provided through the program. The home must meet all criteria outlined below: 
  • The home must be located within Lexington County.
  • The home must be occupied as the primary residence of the applicant.
  • The home must meet, at a minimum, Section 8 Housing Quality Standards (HQS). A Lexington County Building Inspector will assess the home to determine compliance with quality standards. If corrective work is required, all work to address HQS violations must be completed prior to the closing date. Down payment assistance funds cannot be used for minor repairs or to correct violations.
  • Homes purchased with assistance through this program must meet the HUD Single Family Mortgage Limits under 203 (b) of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1709(b)). The County’s maximum purchase price for a home is currently $144,584 for a single-family dwelling (95% of the median area’s purchase). Homes that exceed this cost are not eligible for assistance through this program.
  • An appraisal must be done on the subject home/property. The home must appraise for at least the value of the purchase price.
How To Apply

County of Lexington
Community Development Department
212 South Lake Drive, Suite 401 Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: (803) 785-8559
Fax: (803) 785-8188

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