Program Provides Money to Help First Time Homebuyers

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Provided by Prince William County

Estate agent giving the key to buyer outside new home

There’s money available to help qualified buyers who live in in the Prince William area purchase their first home. The First-Time Homebuyer Program is available for those who live in Prince William County, Manassas or Manassas Park, and the houses they are looking to buy must be in those localities as well.

Joan Duckett, the Prince William Community Planning and Development division chief with the Office of Housing and Community Development, said there are some requirements one has to meet to qualify for the program, but those who are eligible could receive up to $75,000 to help buy a house. PWL The amount of money people can receive is based on their income.

The money for the program comes to the county from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, which sets the eligibility requirements. To be eligible, prospective first-time homebuyers must have a gross household income that does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income as determined by HUD.

Families with a gross income that is at or below 60 percent of the area median income could be eligible for up to 33 percent of the selling price with 30 percent going toward a down payment and three percent going toward closing costs, Duckett said. People with a gross income of more than 60 percent but less than 80 percent of area median income could receive up 23 percent of the selling price of the house with 20 percent going toward the down payment and three percent going toward closing costs.

To qualify as a first-time homebuyer, according to HUD, people, families or households cannot have purchased or owned interest in a home or other residential property within the last three years anywhere in the United States, foreign land or country. Additionally, qualified applicants must not have co-signed a home loan or inherited a residential property regardless of whether they lived in the property.

Duckett said people who take the money must also live in the house. “The property must be owner-occupied, cannot refinance for cash out and cannot be subordinated or used as a rental property. If you sell, change ownership, refinance for cash out or rent, then you would repay the money that was given to you as well as a part of the market appreciation.”

Staying in the house until the mortgage is paid pays off, Duckett said. “If you occupy for 30 years, the money becomes a gift.”

People who participate in the program must also be willing to attend some classes to get up to speed on certain aspects of buying a home, such as working with lenders and realtors, finding the right property, financing, budgeting and maintaining a home, Duckett said. “As one of the eligibility requirements for the program, there are educational and financial classes that are required. Those are given through Prince William County’s Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in a classroom setting. A certificate of completion is provided, and that certificate of completion is part of the eligibility requirement.”

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