$24.5 Million Homebuyer Program

POSTED: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 2:37pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:26pm

EL PASO--- The feeling just never gets old for Terry Randle. Each time he opens his door in the 12100 block of Road House Dr., he's reminded that he's a homeowner.

"Three bedrooms and two baths, so, it's definitely cozy for just one person," said Randle, as he was showing us his home.

He's lived here since 2006. Back then, buying real estate was all just a pipe dream.

"By the time you get into purchasing a house, with all the closing costs and down payment, and things of that nature, it's so expensive now," said the 28-year-old former call center agent, making only $30,000 back then.

But then he found out about the El Paso Housing Finance Corporation bond.
The bond helps families who don't have much money saved up to buy homes now, people like Terry.

"I was trying to save, but it's not always so realistic, especially in these economic times right now."

After three years with no program, the Corporation is renewing efforts to get El Pasoans into homes.
More than $24 million in bonds will be available to homebuyers throughout El Paso for financing mortgages and down payment/closing cost assistance.
Homebuyers can receive 3 percent of the full loan in assistance to pay for down payment/closing costs.

The funds are coming from the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be able to help with down payments and closing costs.

"What we found in our marketplace is that there's a lot of people who want to buy, that are interested in buying, but they have a hard time coming up with all the payment assistance," said Susie Byrd, El Paso City Representative and HFC Board President.

There are some qualifications.

1. You need to occupy the home as your principal residence.
2. You need to have adequate income and credit to qualify.
3. Households with income from two or fewer persons cannot make more than $57,400 a year
4. Those with three or more incomes cannot make more than $66,010 a year.
5. Homes cannot be priced higher than $258,691 and must reside in the city limits.
6. You may not have owned a home in the last 3 years.

However, there are incentives for those who buy homes in certain areas within the City limits.

For example, households with two or fewer incomes can make a maximum of $68,880 a year, those with three or more can make up to $80,360 a year, and they can purchase homes up to $316,177.

These areas encompass older, less desirable neighborhoods; especially those in Central El Paso and the Lower Valley.

We're told there are no other limits as long as buyers qualify for either conventional or government-backed (FHA, VA, Rural) mortgage loans.

Randle points out, today's program is much sweeter than when he bought his home.
For instance, the interest rate was more than 6 percent when he bought his home. The HFC Bond loan's interest rate will now start at 5.25 percent.

Also, homebuyers have four months to utilize not only the HFC Bond Loan, but can also receive up to $8,000 with the Federal First-time Homebuyers Tax credit, said Rep. Byrd.

"I do encourage people that, if they're interested... see if they qualify, and to start looking because I know the bond money's going to run out soon," said Randle.

This program is only available at three local mortgage lenders: Rocky Mountain Mortgage, Greater El Paso Credit Union (GECU), and Patriot Mortgage. They are also on a first come first serve basis.

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