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FHA-Insured Loans

FHA was established in 1934 under the National Housing Act and was consolidated into HUD in 1965.

The FHA s purpose is to improve housing standards and conditions, provide an adequate home financing through mortgage insurance, help stabilize the mortgage market and provide homeownership opportunities. HUD acts as an administrator and insurer of FHA s originated loans. FHA does not insure individuals, it insures the loans that lenders offer to borrowers. Lenders must offer long-term, self-amortizing, market rate, assumable loans in order to participate in the program.

By insuring lenders loans, lower down payment costs and mortgage insurance premiums are offered to homebuyers. Other advantages of FHA insured loans are: less stringent borrower qualifying criteria; financing up to 100% of up-front loan closing costs and insurance premiums; higher loan-to-value ratios on loan refinances; and higher allowances for seller-paid closing costs. In addition, the presence of FHA insured loans in the mortgage market have other benefits. They help lenders preservation of their fiduciary profile, stabilize the market, and provide a reliable secondary mortgage market participant.

FHA Single Family Insurance Programs

Loan Programs:

  • Energy Efficient Mortgages Program
  • Graduated Payment Mortgage Insurance (Section 245(a))
  • Growing Equity Mortgage Insurance (Section 245(a))
  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program
  • Indian reservations and Other Restricted Lands
  • Insurance for Adjustable Rate Mortgages (Section 251)
  • Manufactured Home Loan Insurance (Title I)
  • Manufactured Home Lot and Combination Loan Insurance
  • Mortgage Insurance for Condominium Units (Section 234(c))
  • Mortgage Insurance for Low/Mod Income Buyers (Section 221(d)(2)
  • Mortgage Insurance for Members of the Armed Forces (Section 222)
  • Mortgage Insurance for Older, Declining Areas (Section 223(e))
  • Mortgage Insurance for One- to Four-Family Homes (Section 203(b))
  • Property Improvement Loan Insurance (Title I)
  • Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance (Section 203(k))
  • Single-Family Cooperative Mortgage Insurance (Section 203(n))
  • Single-Family Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims (Section 203 (h))
  • Single-Family Mortgage Insurance for Outlying Areas (Section 203 (i))

Regulatory Programs

  • Insurance premiums
  • Interstate Landsales
  • Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards
  • Minimum Property Standards
  • Premium refunds
  • Reduction in mortgage insurance
  • Regulatory Programs Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
  • Servicing and Loss Mitigation

HOUSING PRIMER

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) provide annual grants on a formula basis for many different types of grantees.

The programs covered under this designation are: Entitlement Communities, State Administered CDBG, Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program, Colonia, HUD Administered Small Cities, Insular Areas, and Disaster Recovery Assistance. From all of these programs, only the first two provide important funding opportunities for the development of housing and housing programs.

Entitlement Communities
CDBG provides eligible metropolitan cities and urban counties (called “entitlement communities”) with annual direct grants that they can use to revitalize neighborhoods, expand affordable housing and economic opportunities, and/or improve community facilities and services, principally to benefit low- and moderate-income persons. To receive its annual CDBG entitlement grant, a grantee must develop and submit to HUD its Consolidated Plan, (which is a jurisdiction’s comprehensive planning document and application for funding under the following

Community Planning and Development formula grant programs: CDBG, HOME Investment Partnerships, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG)). Entitled communities are responsible for developing their own programs and for setting their own funding priorities. Grantees must give maximum feasible priority to activities which benefit low- and moderate-income persons.

CDBG funds may be used for activities which include, but are not limited to:

  • Acquisition of real property
  • Relocation and demolition
  • Rehabilitation of residential and non-residential structures
  • Construction of public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes
  • Public services, with certain limits
  • Activities relating to energy conservation and renewable energy resources
  • Provision of assistance to profit-motivated businesses to carry out economic development and job creation/retention activities.

Funds are received by entitled communities, which post a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), through their housing and development department or their city council, and grant proposals are requested. After a series of hearings and evaluations of the grant proposals, funds are awarded to the final recipients. These are generally non-profit agencies that have submitted projects deemed to be of great social value for the community.

Projects submitted for evaluation have to meet general funding criteria and specific funding criteria (Economic Development, General/Native American/Colonias Enterprise Fund and Planning and Technical Assistance ).

When evaluating who should receive funds and on what amount, entities place a high value on: number of people serviced per dollar, addressing a local need, and efficient distribution of human and material resources. Other factors also impact funding, such as competing agencies already providing the service proposed or total number of proposals submitted (some localities like to fund as many as possible, thereby diminishing the amount allotted to each grantee).

The final allocation process is a competitive one, usually there are several agencies competing for a limited amount of money. However, some localities either do not promote effectively the availability of CDBG funds or potential grantees are not aware of their existence, leaving in the coffers of local governments thousands of dollars. This money has to be returned, by the end of the period, to the State. REALTORS should inquire with their local governments about the availability of CDBG funds. Local or municipal housing or economic development officials should be able to furnish information of CDBG funds availability.

  • Open CDBG Grants, see the manual for supported activities.
  • 2004 CDBG budget allocation for California (includes the counties, cities and municipalities not in the State CDBG funding Allocations list). In the same page, links to 2001, 2002 and 2003 budget allocations.
  • California Entitlement List of Contact by City, County and Town

State Administered CDBG

The California State CDBG program has as its objective to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low- and moderate-income.

Grants are only awarded to non-entitlement areas which include those units of general local government which do not receive CDBG funds directly from HUD as part of the entitlement program (Entitlement Cities and Urban Counties). Non-entitlement areas are cities with populations of less than 50,000, and counties with populations of less than 200,000, although some entitlement cities have a population of less than 50,000 (cities that are designated central cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas). The State CDBG program has replaced the Small Cities program in states that have elected to participate.

Annually each state develops funding priorities and criteria for selecting projects. Each year the program makes funds available only to eligible jurisdictions (non-entitlement areas) through several allocations: General and Native American, Economic Development, Planning and Technical Assistance, and Colonias. Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) are published for each allocation as the funds become available.

Successful applicants enter into contracts with the State to complete the specified activities with the grant funds. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) transfers federal funds to the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Funds allocation is typically announced by HUD in late February, and it awards the funds to the State in May of each year. Under State statute and regulation, HCD allocates the federal CDBG award into various program components. Once the State receives the funds, it distributes them to eligible jurisdictions, i.e. counties, cities and towns, for their use. One of the requirements to receive a grant is to have submitted a housing element to HCD*. Funds cannot be denied to an entity because of the findings made by HCD regarding the element.

However, Section 50830 of the California Health and Safety Code states that if the city or county has adopted a general plan, ordinance, or other measure which directly limits, by number, either the buildings permits that may be issued for residential construction or the buildable lots which may be developed for residential purposes, then the entity becomes ineligible to receive funds. The flow chart prepared by HCD succinctly describes the allocation process.

If the state finds a jurisdiction to be non-performing, it disencumbers the funds previously awarded and rolls them over to a similar program within the other State eligible jurisdictions. Programs elected for the rollover are selected from the waiting list. Programs are placed, according to ranking, in a waiting list either because they couldn t be fully funded or because they were not funded at all. Since the program s award grant in a sense is lost for the community for that funding cycle it is important to monitor the performance of the local government.

  • State CDBG Funding Allocations Packages, information on NOFAs: general and specific funding application packages.
  • State CDBG Rep List by County (Adobe PDF) All listed numbers are area code 916.
  • State CDBG Rep List by Program
  • CDBG Information, use this page to learn about late-breaking news and to view copies of the most recent Program publications. Information is updated monthly or as needed.
  • State CDBG 2003 General Allocation Funding List (Excel file provided by HCD)
  • State CDBG 2003 General Allocation/ 2nd Rollover Funding (Word file provided by HCD)

Section 7056 (b)(1) of Title 25 of the California Code of Regulations, and Section 50829 California Health and Safety Code.

HOUSING PRIMER

Housing Opportunities Development

Housing developers agree that any kind of development is a very cumbersome process, whether it is for-profit or non-profit. There are many issues to consider before starting any project. We offer a list of some ideas to help you get started with your project.

Project Idea

There are a number of things you should consider when designing your project:

  • What type of development do you want to pursue: infill, acquisition, preservation, redevelopment, new construction, rehabilitation
  • What is your time frame Is this a short-term, long-term, or continuous (such as rental assistance) or limited project
  • What are the costs involved: land purchase, materials, permits and fees, labor, management, insurance, etc
  • What is the specific need that the project addresses: homelessness, lack of assisted housing, housing for special needs population (elderly, single parents, disabilities, etc.), affordable single family residency housing, affordable multifamily housing, homeownership counseling/education
  • What is the proposed service area: neighborhood, city, county
  • What are the service criteria Who is going to benefit from the project and what are the criteria used to select participants: need (such as only students for student housing), income, residency area, age group, other
  • What are the potential problems: neighborhood opposition, city council disagreement, state regulations, lack of financial support, red tape and permits or liability issues What are the potential solutions Who are your potential allies
  • Who is responsible of providing the service How is the service going to be delivered

Specific Plan

Once you have the project idea developed, you need to make a specific plan to attain your objective.

Consider all sources of funding from: Federal government (HUD Funds Available, HUD Grants Index, Other HUD Grants Available; local government CDBG or RDA loan and grant funds); other organizations (Clearinghouse Database Search).

Examples of the programs covered by all The Clearinghouse is a source of information on over 200 housing programs, government, private lenders and foundation grants. Each program listing identifies the goals, eligible activities and type of funding, as well as such critical and timely information as application deadlines and current funding of the above providers are: technical assistance, insurance mortgages, construction loan and permanent loans. It is always best to stay in touch with your local planning or housing agency for current information on availability of funding.

Consider global tax credits such as: Low Income Housing Tax Federal (LIHTC) and Low Income Housing Tax State Credit, both administered by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and only rental housing projects are eligible; Historic Tax Credits; Housing Tax Exempt Bonds; Renewal Communities; urban Empowerment Zones; and Urban Enterprise Communities (RC/EZ/EC) tax credits for housing rehabilitation and construction; and Tax Information for Charities and Other Non-Profits. Also, search the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LITCH) Database to get information on the projects and housing units being produced in your locality (use left menu to access geographic data on LIHTC production).

Consider partners that will help your project: government; nonprofits (consult the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing Directory and Northern California Association of Non-Profit Housing Directory); for profits. A partnership has pros (i.e. experience, contacts, advice) and cons (i.e. loss of independence in the planning and implementation process).

Consider other information: HUD information for grantees and nonprofits, Nonprofit participation in housing programs, Office of Community Planning and Development, Establishing a Non-Profit Organization, Tax Information for Charities and Other Non-Profits ; Starting a Business in the U.S. (for profit and non-profit); HUD s Affordable Housing Programs (requiring non-profits participation); HUD s Matrix of Systems per Working Group information of what HUD system or database resource might be useful to you as a non-profit.

Suggestions from Non-Profits

Once you are ready to seek approval for your project and you have thought and planned everything through, you are ready to consider some suggestions gathered from non-profits that have already worked in housing projects.

Consider other things you haven t considered before and that might influence your project: Did you include parking, is it adequate How do you know Did you consider the impact on the local school district Is transportation close by Is this a friendly building Are the materials adequate

Emphasize the good points of your project: Getting a project approved is also a matter of marketing and public relations. Learn how to sell it effectively to the City and its residents. Emphasize amenities, like a projected child care facility, or benefits, like increased home values and tax revenue due to development of a vacant property. Anticipate all possible objections and negative comments about your project, but do not address them before the City Council or any Commission does. Be ready to answer, but do not alert them to objections they have not thought about availability. Its information is primarily geared to assisting housing sponsors (private and nonprofit developers) and units of government.

Know your community: Research demographic and economic characteristics of the area. Do surveys, talk to people, know what they want, know what they need, work with them, gather their support. Use task forces. Offer amenities (i.e. child care center) to make people and officials like you. Do you know if prospective grantees like your project What would they change and what would they keep Why

Know the law: Review and locate the general plan and zoning plans because sometimes they have conflicting data. Look for consistency in housing fabric. Present the law and how the project fits into the law.

Increase density: More dense projects are likely to draw environmentalists support.

Learn from similar nonprofits and developers: Talk to them. Ask about what they could have done better. What went right What went wrong What useful advice do they have for you

Open channels of communication with city officials: Network with the planning department. Educate city attorneys about the law. Speak early before filling of documents. Read and know your staff report and respond to each issue. Know your request. Address each topic in your specific request.

Partnership: Diverse groups accomplish more.

Suggestions from Government Officials

  • Ask staff for relief: They might be able to provide some, especially when it comes to affordable housing. It might come in the form of political support, recommendations to a commission, deferred payments or guidance.
  • Be aware of what the City is doing: What tools does it have, how can they be used Once the strengths are assessed, a strategy to tackle the problems can be set up.
  • Be politically savvy about City Hall: It speeds up the approval process by contacting the right people, and it makes staff s work easier.
  • Check the Building and Safety list of nuisance properties: Potential revitalization sites can be found there. Also, ask the city for a list of city owned properties. This is also a good source to find affordable housing sites.
  • Educate the public about what affordable housing means.
  • Know the community: Know its pros and cons.
  • Lobby Council members when there are difficult projects: Get them to assist on your project meetings (private, neighborhood, etc.), agitate.
  • Partnership: Profit from other organizations experience and contacts. It is also useful to establish work relationships and to identify sites.
  • Possess financial know-how: Learn were the sources of financing for your project are located.

Realize that an outsider has the power to influence the outcome on ways a city staff can t: Staff is bounded to support the position of the elected official it is serving. However, by brainstorming, questioning, dialoguing, depicting alternative scenarios and sharing information with staff, new approaches can be created and that communication process can help shape policy and change outcomes.

HOUSING PRIMER

Q-A Series – HUD and FHA

Q. WHAT IS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Also known as HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was established in 1965 to develop national policies and programs to address housing needs in the U.S. One of HUD’s primary missions is to create a suitable living environment for all Americans by developing and improving the country’s communities and enforcing fair housing laws

Q. HOW DOES HUD HELP HOMEBUYERS AND HOMEOWNERS

HUD helps people by administering a variety of programs that develop and support affordable housing. Specifically, HUD plays a large role in homeownership by making loans available for lower- and moderate-income families through its FHA mortgage insurance program and its HUD Homes program. HUD owns homes in many communities throughout the U.S. and offers them for sale at attractive prices and economical terms. HUD also seeks to protect consumers through education, Fair Housing Laws, and housing rehabilitation initiatives.

Q. WHAT IS THE FHA

Now an agency within HUD, the Federal Housing Administration was established in 1934 to advance opportunities for Americans to own homes. By providing private lenders with mortgage insurance, the FHA gives them the security they need to lend to first-time buyers who might not be able to qualify for conventional loans. The FHA has helped more than 26 million Americans buy a home.

Q. HOW CAN THE FHA ASSIST ME IN BUYING A HOME

The FHA works to make homeownership a possibility for more Americans. With the FHA, you don’t need perfect credit or a high-paying job to qualify for a loan. The FHA also makes loans more accessible by requiring smaller down payments than conventional loans. In fact, an FHA down payment could be as little as a few months rent. And your monthly payments may not be much more than rent.

Q. HOW IS THE FHA FUNDED

Lender claims paid by the FHA mortgage insurance program are drawn from the Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund. This fund is made up of premiums paid by FHA-insured loan borrowers. No tax dollars are used to fund the program.

Q. WHO CAN QUALIFY FOR FHA LOANS

anyone who meets the credit requirements, can afford the mortgage payments and cash investment, and who plans to use the mortgaged property as a primary residence may apply for an FHA-insured loan.

Q. WHAT IS THE FHA LOAN LIMIT

FHA loan limits vary throughout the country, from $115,200 in low-cost areas to $208,800 in high-cost areas. The loan maximums for multi-unit homes are higher than those for single units and also vary by area.

Because these maximums are linked to the conforming loan limit and average area home prices, FHA loan limits are periodically subject to change. Ask your lender for details and confirmation of current limits.

Q. WHAT ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN THE FHA LOAN PROCESS

With the exception of a few additional forms, the FHA loan application process is similar to that of a conventional loan (see Question 47). With new automation measures, FHA loans may be originated more quickly than before. And, if you don’t prefer a face-to-face meeting, you can apply for an FHA loan via mail, telephone, the Internet, or video conference.

Q. HOW MUCH INCOME DO I NEED TO HAVE TO QUALIFY FOR AN FHA LOAN

There is no minimum income requirement. But you must prove steady income for at least three years, and demonstrate that you’ve consistently paid your bills on time.

Q. WHAT QUALIFIES AS AN INCOME SOURCE FOR THE FHA

Seasonal pay, child support, retirement pension payments, unemployment compensation, VA benefits, military pay, Social Security income, alimony, and rent paid by family all qualify as income sources. Part-time pay, overtime, and bonus pay also count as long as they are steady. Special savings plans-such as those set up by a church or community association – qualify, too. Income type is not as important as income steadiness with the FHA.

Q. CAN I CARRY DEBT AND STILL QUALIFY FOR FHA LOANS

Yes. Short-term debt doesn’t count as long as it can be paid off within 10 months. And some regular expenses, like child care costs, are not considered debt. Talk to your lender or real estate agent about meeting the FHA debt-to-income ratio.

Q. WHAT IS THE DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO FOR FHA LOANS

The FHA allows you to use 29% of your income towards housing costs and 41% towards housing expenses and other long-term debt. With a conventional loan, this qualifying ratio allows only 28% toward housing and 36% towards housing and other debt

Q. CAN I EXCEED THIS RATIO

You may qualify to exceed if you have:
– a large down payment
– a demonstrated ability to pay more toward your housing expenses
– substantial cash reserves
– net worth enough to repay the mortgage regardless of income
– evidence of acceptable credit history or limited credit use
– less-than-maximum mortgage terms
– funds provided by an organization
– a decrease in monthly housing expenses

Q. HOW LARGE A DOWN PAYMENT DO I NEED WITH AN FHA LOAN

You must have a down payment of at least 3% of the purchase price of the home. Most affordable loan programs offered by private lenders require between a 3%-5% down payment, with a minimum of 3% coming directly from the borrower’s own funds.

Q. WHAT CAN I USE TO PAY THE DOWN PAYMENT AND CLOSING COSTS OF AN FHA LOAN

Besides your own funds, you may use cash gifts or money from a private savings club. If you can do certain repairs and improvements yourself, your labor may be used as part of a down 8 payment (called -sweat equity”). If you are doing a lease purchase, paying extra rent to the seller may also be considered the same as accumulating cash.

Q. HOW DOES MY CREDIT HISTORY IMPACT MY ABILITY TO QUALIFY

The FHA is generally more flexible than conventional lenders in its qualifying guidelines. In fact, the FHA allows you to re-establish credit if:
– two years have passed since a bankruptcy has been discharged
– all judgments have been paid
– any outstanding tax liens have been satisfied or appropriate arrangements have been made to establish a repayment plan with the IRS or state Department of Revenue
– three years have passed since a foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu has been resolved

Q. CAN I QUALIFY FOR AN FHA LOAN WITHOUT A CREDIT HISTORY

Yes. If you prefer to pay debts in cash or are too young to have established credit, there are other ways to prove your eligibility. Talk to your lender for details.

Q. WHAT TYPES OF CLOSING COSTS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH FHA-INSURED LOANS

Except for the addition of an FHA mortgage insurance premium, FHA closing costs are similar to those of a conventional loan outlined in Question 63. The FHA requires a single, upfront mortgage insurance premium equal to 2.25% of the mortgage to be paid at closing (or 1.75% if you complete the HELP program- see Question 91). This initial premium may be partially refunded if the loan is paid in full during the first seven years of the loan term. After closing, you will then be responsible for an annual premium – paid monthly – if your mortgage is over 15 years or if you have a 15-year loan with an LTV greater than 90%.

Q. CAN I ROLL CLOSING COSTS INTO my FHA LOAN

No. Though you can’t roll closing costs into your FHA loan, you may be able to use the amount you pay for them to help satisfy the down payment requirement. Ask your lender for details.

Q. ARE FHA LOANS ASSUMABLE

Yes. You can assume an existing FHA-insured loan, or, if you are the one deciding to sell, allow a buyer to assume yours. Assuming a loan can be very beneficial, since the process is streamlined and less expensive compared to that for a new loan. Also, assuming a loan can often result in a lower interest rate. The application process consists basically of a credit check and no property appraisal is required. And you must demonstrate that you have enough income to support the mortgage loan. In this way, qualifying to assume a loan is similar to the qualification requirements for a new one.

Q. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I CAN’T MAKE A PAYMENT ON LOAN

Call or, write to your lender as soon as possible. Clearly explain the situation and be prepared to provide him or her with financial information.

Q. ARE THERE ANY OPTIONS IF I FALL BEHIND ON MY LOAN PAYMENTS

Yes. Talk to your lender or a HUD-approved counseling agency for details. Listed below are a few options that may help you get back on track.

For FHA loans:
– Keep living in your home to qualify for assistance.
– Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency (1-800-569-4287 or TDD: 1-800-483-2209) and cooperate with the counselor/lender trying to help you.
– HUD has a number of special loss mitigation programs available to help you:
– Special Forbearance: Your lender will arrange for a revised repayment plan which may Include temporary reduction or suspension of payments; you can qualify by having an Involuntary reduction in your Income or Increase In living expenses.
– Mortgage Modification: Allows refinance debt and/or extend the term of the your mortgage loan which may reduce your monthly payments; you can qualify if you have recovered from financial problems, but net Income Is less than before.
– Partial Claim: Your lender maybe able to help you obtain an interest-free loan from HUD to bring your mortgage current.
– Pre-foreclosure Sale: Allows you to sell your property and pay off your mortgage loan ,to avoid foreclosure.
– Deed-in lieu of Foreclosure: Lets you voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender; it won’t save your house but will help you avoid the costs, time, and effort of the foreclosure process.
– If you are having difficulty with an-uncooperative lender or feel your loan servicer is not providing you with the most effective loss mitigation options, call the FHA Loss Mitigation Center at 1-888-297-8685 for additional help.

For Conventional Loans:

Talk to your lender about specific loss mitigation options. Work directly with him or her to request a “workout packet.” A secondary lender, like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, may have purchased your loan. Your lender can follow the appropriate guidelines set by Fannie or Freddie to determine the best option for your situation.

Fannie Mae does not deal directly with the borrower. They work with the lender to determine the loss mitigation program that best fits your needs.

Freddie Mac, like Fannie Mae, will usually only work with the loan servicer. However, if you encounter problems with your lender during the loss mitigation process, you can coil customer service for help at 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343).

In any loss mitigation situation, it is important to remember a few helpful hints:
– Explore every reasonable alternative to avoid losing your home, but beware of scams. For example, watch out for:

Equity skimming: a buyer offers to repay the mortgage or sell the property if you sign over the deed and move out.
Phony counseling agencies: offer counseling for a fee when it is often given at no charge.

– Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.

Q. WHAT IS A 203(b) LOAN

This is the most commonly used FHA program. It offers a low down payment, flexible qualifying guidelines, limited lender’s fees, and a maximum loan amount.

Q. WHAT IS A 203(k) LOAN

This is a loan that enables the homebuyer to finance both the purchase and rehabilitation of a home through a single mortgage. A portion of the loan is used to pay off the seller’s existing mortgage and the remainder is placed in an escrow account and released as rehabilitation is completed. Basic guidelines for 203(k) loans are as follows:
– The home must be at least one year old.
– The cost of rehabilitation must be at least $5,000, but the total property value – including the cost of repairs – must fall within the FHA maximum mortgage limit.
– The 203(k) loan must follow many of the 203(b) eligibility requirements.
– Talk to your lender about specific improvement, energy efficiency, and structural guidelines.

Q. WHAT IS AN ENERGY EFFICIENT MORTGAGE (EEM)

The Energy Efficient Mortgage allows a homebuyer to save future money on utility bills. This is done by financing the cost of adding energy-efficiency features to a new or existing home as part of an FHA-insured home purchase. The EEM can be used with both 203(b) and 203(k) loans. Basic guidelines for EEMs are as follows:
– The cost of improvements must be determined by a Home Energy Rating System or by an energy consultant. This cost must be less than the anticipated savings from the improvements.
– One- and two-unit new or existing homes are eligible; condos are not.
– The improvements financed may be 5% of property value or $4,000, whichever is greater. The total must fall within the FHA loan limit.

Q. WHAT IS A TITLE I LOAN

Given by a Lender and insured by the FHA, a Title I loan is used to make non-luxury renovations and repairs to a home. It offers a manageable interest rate and repayment schedule. Loans are limited to between $5,000 and 20,000. If the loan amount is under 7,500, no lien is required against your home. Ask your lender for details.

Q. WHAT OTHER LOAN PRODUCTS OR PROGRAMS DOES THE FHA OFFER

The FHA also insures loans for the purchase or rehabilitation of manufactured housing, condominiums, and cooperatives. It also has special programs for urban areas, disaster victims, and members of the armed forces. Insurance for ARMS is also available from the FHA.

Q. HOW CAN I OBTAIN AN FHA-INSURED LOAN

Contact an FHA-approved lender such as a participating mortgage company, bank, savings and loan association, or thrift. For more information on the FHA and how you can obtain an FHA loan, visit the HUD web site at http://www.hud.gov or call a HUD-approved counseling agency at 1-800-569-4287 or TDD: 1-800-877-8339.

Q. HOW CAN I CONTACT HUD

Visit the web site at http://www.hud.gov or look in the phone book “blue pages” for a listing of the HUD office near you.

Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has in place several programs to help homebuyers and homeowners with homeownership issues. The site is divided in six broad categories: HUD News, HUD Homes, HUD Communities, Working with HUD, Resources, and Tools. From all of these sections and its links, there are some very useful for the homebuyer or the real estate professional.
Useful information for homebuyers

HUD Homes Section

  • Buying: Homebuyer rights, how much mortgage can you afford, home wish list, finding a real estate broker, mortgages, local homebuyer programs, and shopping for a home.
  • Owning: Maintaining and improving your home, energy and home environment, paying the mortgage, refinancing, reverse mortgages, manufactured homes, disaster relief and homeownership government links.
  • Selling: Advice about selling a home, tips on interviewing brokers, getting your house ready to sell, selling your home, settlement costs.
  • Renting: Renters kit, housing counseling, federal financial assistance, apartment shopping, renters insurance, programs/services in federal rental housing, rent your home.
  • Homeless: Information for homeless people, assistance providers, advocates, and other resources.
  • Home improvements: Federal repair and rehabilitation programs
  • HUD homes: How to buy HUD s homes.
  • Fair housing: Fair Housing Policy and Research Forum, news, Housing Discrimination Complaint Form, and other miscellaneous information.
  • FHA refunds: For homeowners who had a HUD/FHA insured mortgage previous to Sept. 1983.
  • Foreclosure: How to avoid foreclosure questions and answers.
  • Consumer info: Protecting consumers rights links, i.e. lead hazard control or land sales complaints.

Working with HUD Section
HUD does not offer direct grants or loans to individuals; it works through local governments and non-profit organizations to make financial assistance and counseling available. These are the main resources available for homebuyers:

  • Housing Counseling: List of HUD approved agencies.
  • The American Dream Downpayment Act: Program created to assist low-income first-time homebuyers in purchasing single-family homes by providing funds for downpayment, closing costs, and rehabilitation carried out in conjunction with the assisted home purchase.
  • Low Downpayment Information: This homepage will facilitate approval of downpayment assistance through secondary financing programs
  • Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8): Allow very low-income families to choose and lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing.

HUD Homes – When someone with a HUD insured mortgage is unable to meet the payments, the lender forecloses on the home; HUD pays the lender what is owed; and HUD takes ownership of the home. Then HUD sells it at market value as quickly as possible using a bid system.

From those properties, HUD sets apart some for HUD approved non-profits and/or for officer/teacher purchase only. The general public can buy the rest. These properties are commonly known as HUD homes and are sold in a  as is condition. If the HUD home, once active in the bid system is not sold within a six-month period, then a local government can buy it for $1. These Dollar HUD Homes for local governments can then be fixed, and put back in the market at considerable savings. The fixing of the property is done either by the government itself or in a joint partnership with local non-profit homeownership organizations or by taping into existing local programs to resell the homes to low- and moderate-income residents of the community.

Homes located in revitaltion areas have an additional discount.

In general, the dollar HUD homes, the set-aside properties for non-profits, officers and teachers and the HUD homes for the general public allow for the revitalization of neighborhoods and help maintain the affordable housing stock.

To buy a HUD home, it is necessary to use a real estate broker who will submit the buyers bid. The bids are submitted at 100% of the listed price value, which equals the appraised value. Properties sold through this system have clear deadlines and are also available for the officers and teachers program. They can purchase a property off the General List and still receive a 50% discount if:

(a) the property is located in a HUD-designated revitalization area; and

(b) no other acceptable offers have been received. In the case that multiple offers are entered into the bidding system, a lottery process will decide the bid winner. Officers or teachers must submit a contract bid at 100% of the “Listed Price”. When bids are submitted by officers and teachers on properties in the General Property List that are above or below 100% of the list price, they will be treated as standard “owner/occupant” bids and will not be eligible for the 50% Officer Next Door/ Teacher Next Door (OND/TND) discount.

The 50% discount, applicable to the OND/TND program will be applied at closing.

Other HUD Homes links of interest:

  • General Information about HUD homes
  • Selling HUD homes
  • Frequently asked questions about Marketing and Management program
  • HUD homes for sale
  • About Communities

This HUD section provides links to maps and statistics about virtually any locality in the United States. Searches can be performed either by name place or by zip code. The information helps REALTORS answer accurately general questions about the location of educational facilities, environmental conditions, and demographic data of any given home.

  • Community maps: Maps provide information from HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), i.e. community development projects and toxic release sources.
  • Facts about your community from the Census: Statistical information about the population that inhabits a place, i.e. age, education, income, race, home values, homeownership, mortgage and housing starts.
  • Facts about the environment from EPA: For those who want to know more about radiation, superfunds, watersheds and other highly technical environmental questions.

Look for schools, colleges, and libraries Information on local public and private schools, colleges and libraries. If you are looking for the school performance index (ranking), log into the California Department of Education s web page Academic Performance Index.
Look for child care Find the closest child care facility to any given location.

Other Important HUD pages

  • Descriptions of Single Family Housing Programs
  • Approved Appraisers List
  • HUD Approved Lenders
  • Maximum Mortgage Limits

Revitalization Homes’ area locator: It allows you to find out if a single family property is located within a Revitalization Area. This online tool can help verify if a particular location is eligible for the discount sale programs offered in revitalization areas.

HOUSING PRIMER

HUD Special For Police Officer, Teacher, Firefighters – GNND

The Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) program offered is a great way for the everyday service heroes in the United States to purchase a home that has gone into a HUD foreclosure. These homes and their mortgages are insured through the FHA or Federal Housing Association and when the buyers who live in those homes can’t afford the payments go into foreclosure are offered to the public. Being on the list gives you an advantage in bidding for and obtaining these HUD homes.

Because the professions mentioned above are considered to be good neighbors, HUD offers the program to them as well as Emergency Medical Techs (EMT) and gives them the chance to own a home in the areas they work. There are some guidelines for the GNND rewards program in order for you to obtain a new home, let’s take a look at them and see how you can qualify if you are a firefighter, teacher, police officer, or EMT.

o Live Where You Work – The professionals who fall under the GNND program are restricted to those who choose to buy HUDhomes in the areas where they serve and work. For instance, if you serve in a certain neighborhood in a big city, and fall under one of the professions, you are eligible only to purchase within that neighborhood’s limits, unless you are a law enforcement officer. The live in/serve in rule does not apply to police officer.

o Time Limits and Employment – All people who wish to buy a HUD repo home must agree to make the HUD home their only residence for three years following the purchase and must be employed in their profession full time.

o Top Points – The rewards program offers these professionals a 50 percent discount off the listing price and the HUDhome must be in a revitalization area. All bidders are selected through a lottery program and offers must be submitted through a licensed real estate broker who is certified to sell. You must also be able to produce some earnest money at the time of your offer, which is returned to you if you do not receive the lottery bid win.

o Restrictions – If both you and your spouse fall into the professional rewards program, only one of you may apply and you can only apply once for the program.

o Descriptions of Each GNND – Each professional who qualified for the program has certain descriptions. Law Enforcement professionals or officers must be employed by a law enforcement agency of the federal, state, local or Indian tribal government and sworn to uphold their divisional or municipal laws. Law Enforcement Officers are not restricted to the work/live rule that other professionals must adhere to. Teachers must work in a state accredited public or private school teaching K-12 students and the serve students from the area where the hudhome is located. Firefighters and EMTs must be employed by a fire department or emergency medical services responder unit of the federal, state, town or local government or an Indian tribal government and serve in the area where the home is located.

o Owner Occupied – As stated above, you must agree to the restriction of living in the HUDhome in an owner-occupied manner for three years beyond the closing. If interruption of those three years occurs and is deemed as a hardship, you may be permitted to sell the HUD home. Long-term vacations must be in writing and you must agree to resume occupancy upon your return.

o Financing Incentives – You must finance all reasonable and customary closing costs and be able to make a down payment of at least one-hundred dollars and is not good for multiple properties, only one repo home may be purchased.

o Post Purchase Obligations – You must continue to own and live in the HUDhome you purchase and certify both initially and annually thereafter that you are continuing to reside in the home.

o Preliminary Interest – If no offers are made by any GNND during the preliminary interest on a HUDhome are made, HUD will release the property for general public bid on a competitive basis.

o Required Documents – If you utilize the program, along with your sales contract, you must complete and provide the following documents:

o Inspection Addendum
o Owner-Occupant Certification Form
o Radon Gas & Mold Notice and Release Agreement
o 9549-A if you are a law enforcement officer
o 9549-B is you are a teacher
o 9549-C if you are a firefighter or EMT
o 9549-E – Employer verification form
o Land Use Restriction Addendum
o Flood Zone Addendum
o Methamphetamine Disclosure Form from Seller in Minnesota and South Dakota only
o Mortgage Pre-Qualification Letter – this must be from a lending institution staring that an in-house credit check has been performed and you are pre-qualified to obtain a mortgage.
o Certification from the Financial Institution – this must state whether the purchase is cash or that funds will be available on the day of closing.

All professionals must follow these guidelines and submit the appropriate forms. Any real estate broker who is licensed to sell HUD homes will be able to help you understand and obtain all of these forms in order for you to complete your purchase. The Good Neighbor Next Door program is a great way for people who serve in certain professions to acquire these properties with discounts and guarantees.

HUD homes are explains at http://www.MNHUDhomes.org John Mazzara is involved with financial services in the Twin Cities, MN. Officing out of Edina, Minnesota-John is centrally located within the 7 county MN metropolitan area. John owns three separate businesses-a licensed real estate broker associate selling Minnesota real estate since 1986-affiliated with RE/MAX Associates Plus http://www.MinneapolisStPaulHomes.com , an independent CFP-certified financial planner since 1989 with an independent Minnesota financial planning firm-Financial Planning Associates and the owner of a Minnesota mortgage broker firm-Venture Development Inc-specializing in residential, commercial and investment mortgages for purchases of single family homes, investment properties and commercial property. Venture brokers FHA, VA, Conventional loans and lines of credit. If you are looking for someone to help you in the areas of real estate sales/purchase, mortgages, or and/or financial planning and insurance you should call John for a free 1 hour consultation to see if he can meet your needs. 952-929-2577. RE/MAX Associates Plus and Venture Development are located at 7300 France Ave S, Suite 410, Edina, MN 55435

Author: John Mazzara
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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