Don’t Let the Term ‘Rural’ Fool You When it Comes to Home Buyer Assistance

Alleviating the affordable housing problem in the greater Reno Metro area starts with getting qualified buyers into home ownership and out of high priced rentals.  Lowering the demand for rentals will drive prices down and make it easier for those with fewer monetary resources to find homes. In my last post, Down Payment Assistance May Be Right At Your Fingertips, I provided details of some of the programs offered by the Nevada Housing Division. Today I hope to dispel some confusion surrounding another program available to Nevadans, Home At Last™

The Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA) offers a program, Home at Last™ Down Payment Assistance, that can help home buying hopefuls with up to $24,000 in down payment assistance.  

The Nevada Rural Housing Authority (NRHA) offers a program, Home at Last™ Down Payment Assistance, that can help home buying hopefuls with up to $24,000 in down payment assistance.  

The term “Rural” often leads people to believe they will not be able to take advantage of the assistance if they want to live in their preferred area, but you may be surprised to find out that an area of interest to you actually does qualify.  People are often surprised to find out that areas such as Sparks, Carson City, and Fernley qualify.  To check an address of interest for eligibility you can visit the NRHAs eligibility map here.

The down payment assistance offered by the NRHA is provided in the form of a 3-year second mortgage that is completely eliminated (forgiven) after living in the home as a primary residence for three years.  The secondary loan does not charge any interest and requires no payments.  Eligible loan types include FHA, VA, USDA Rural Development, and exclusive Conventional loans known as HFA Preferred and HFA Advantaged. The program does not have any purchase price limits, although a homebuyer may be limited by their loan type.

Another differentiating feature of the NRHAs loan assistance program is that the home being purchased does not have to be the only property you own.  What this means is as long as you are planning to live in the new home as your primary residence, you do not have to have already sold your previous residence to qualify.

An additional benefit to the Home At Last™ program is their Home At Last™ Pals Pet Adoption Program. 

At the completion of your loan process you will be given a certificate, good for 60 days to present to your local animal shelter. With this certificate the NRHA will cover the entire cost of your pet adoption fee.  For more information on the Home At Last™ Pals Program you can call the Pals hotline at (775) 283-0173 or visit their website here.

If you need help navigating the options for home ownership assistance, feel free to contact me any time.  Although I am not a Loan Consultant, I would be happy to refer you to a lender that will find a program that works for you.  

Down Payment Assistance May Be Right at Your Fingertips

As I mentioned last week, down payment assistance doesn’t just help new home buyers. There are down payment assistance programs available to help Teachers, Veterans, first time home buyers, and many other home buying hopefuls.  

Below are some highlights of the programs offered by the Nevada Housing Division, with links to the program websites for more information.

Home is Possible

Home Is Possible was established by the state of Nevada in 2014 to help home buyers get up to 5% of their home loan value to use towards a down payment or closing costs.  This can amount to thousands of dollars for a one time fee of $675.  Some of the other features of the program include attractive 30 year interest rates, an option for manufactured homes, no first time home buyer requirement, and forgiveness if you live in the home as your primary residence for at least three years.  To qualify for the program the borrower may not own another property at the time of closing, must earn less than $98,500 for government loans (FHA, USDA, VA), and be purchasing a home with a price below $484,350.  The applicant must meet standard underwriting requirements and have a credit score of at least 640.

Home is Possible for Teachers

The Home is Possible for Teachers program aims to aide those who have dedicated their careers to educating our youth.  There is no first time home buyer requirement for this statewide program, which provides a below market interest rate for 30 years and $7500 in bonus money that can be applied toward a down payment or closing costs.  The funds are forgivable after five years if the home has been lived in as a primary residence.  To qualify for the program the borrower may not own another property at the time of closing and must be a licensed full-time K-12 public school classroom teacher in Nevada, making below $98,500, with a minimum credit score of 660 or 640, depending on the type of loan being secured. The program is good for a home with a price below $484,350 that will serve as a primary residence.

With the Home is Possible for Heroes program, an honorably discharged veteran, member of the National Guard, surviving spouse or individual on active duty can qualify for a below market 30 year fixed VA or FHA mortgage anywhere in the state of Nevada.  There is no first time home buyer requirement, and the program is good for a home up to $484,350 with a qualifying income below $98,500.  The borrower must live in the property as their primary residence and may not own any other property at the time of closing.  Credit must meet standard underwriting requirements and the applicant must have a credit score of at least 640.

These are just some of the super amazing programs offered by the Nevada Housing Division.  Though I do not function as a financial services provider, as a real estate professional who wants to see every qualified home buyer realize their real estate dreams, I would be happy to help guide you toward a qualified loan consultant that can get you the assistance you may need.

Down Payment Assistance Doesn’t Just Help New Home Buyers

The struggles to secure housing in the Reno Sparks area are not limited to those who live in transitory housing.

Conventional home buyers are finding themselves hard pressed to save for a down payment, while simultaneously paying high rents and making ends meet.  In the past 6 years the median rent in the Reno Metro area has spiked from $822 per month to $1316 per month, leaving many to struggle with monthly expenses and little hope of saving for a down payment.  In addition to the increase in rents, there is a shortage of low cost rental housing as well.  According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition there are only 21 affordable rental homes available for every one hundred families that need one

A solution to this problem must be a multi-angled one.  One of the solutions I see is getting families out of rental homes that are able to afford traditional home ownership but haven’t been able to get a down payment put together to reduce demand, and hopefully prices, for rentals.  That is were you and I can help. 

There are many down payment assistance programs available nation-wide, and specifically for Nevada home seekers.  These programs offer thousands toward down payment and closing costs., managed by the Nevada Housing Division, has program information and buyer education for teachers, veterans, first time home buyers and more.  If you know someone looking to get out of a rental, let them know there are options to make their dream a reality.  If someone you know needs help navigating the resources available to help them get into a home, let them know that I am here to help.

How Did I End Up In Real Estate?

I get asked this question a lot.  How did I go from being a Chemist who worked for 13 years in compliance, to suddenly selling real estate?  To me, the answer is simple:

I want to help people.

When I was 20, I decided I no longer wanted to throw money at rent, so I bought my first house; it was 2004, the height of the housing boom.  I obtained my Nutrition degree in 2007 with the intention of becoming a Diabetes Educator; to help people like my dad who suffered the effects of diabetic complications.  After college, jobs were scarce, and I didn’t have the financial means to continue my education. I used my degree to get into Bio-tech where I climbed the ranks into a position responsible for product quality and I loved it. I had a great eye for detail, excelled at document review, and the work we were doing helped people.

Through all the financial turmoil over the next 10 years I found security knowing that no matter what happened, I still owned that overpriced house in Reno; a little plot of land that I could call home.

In 2015 we lost my dad to his illness, and I took over where he left off managing our family’s real estate portfolio.  My dad had taught me that when someone lets you use something, you return it to them in better condition than you received it.  I could never give back to my dad for the legacy he left, but I began seeking a way to turn it into something bigger, something better.

One day, during my rounds with my therapy dog partner Marvin, I made an immediate connection with a Veteran who had served in the Korean war; he reminded me of my grandpa who was a Korean war Vet as well.  He shared with me that he had just been diagnosed as a diabetic and he was scared to be discharged.  He explained; he had a new medication that required refrigeration, but he had been living in a weekly motel prior to being admitted. My heart broke for him, and I immediately saw an opportunity for my career to come full circle.

This man, who had fought for our freedoms and safety in a treacherous war, didn’t have a safe place to call home.

I went home that night with a heavy heart, and shared his story with my husband, a Veteran himself.  We decided that we would make it our mission to dedicate whatever resources it takes to help supply sustainable housing for this population in need.  I was disappointed and rather shocked that I did not receive the responsiveness and support for my mission that I expected from the residential and commercial real estate agents I was working with.  To get things done as efficiently as possible, I got my real estate license concurrent with completing my MBA program, and am dedicated to focusing our portfolio and my real estate earnings on providing sustainable housing for our Veterans.

I hope you will be a part of my journey as I strive to send our Veterans, and all qualified others, Homeward Bound.