Prospective home buyers struggling to save for down payments may find some much-needed help this month in Sunrise.
A housing counseling agency has scheduled a free seminar Aug. 27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel to offer details of a program that provides 100 percent down payment assistance for eligible homebuyers.
Hollywood-based United Financial Counselors had a similar event May 14 that was attended by nearly 500 people, said Jason Walowitz, president of the agency.
Walowitz said United Financial organized a second seminar because the large crowd in May meant that some people were turned away at the door.
Under terms of the program, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, first-time buyers and people who filed for bankruptcy or lost homes during the housing crisis may have their entire 3.5 percent down payments covered, though they still may have to pay closing costs.
The seminar also can help people who may not be ready to buy immediately, Walowitz said.
"We want to sit with each person individually and come up with a plan," he said.
The maximum down payment available under the program is $12,075, or 3.5 percent of the purchase price on a $345,000 home, Walowitz said.
Eligible homebuyers who make more than 115 percent of the area median income must repay the money they receive at 0 percent interest over 10 years, Walowitz said. Those who make less than 115 percent of the AMI do not have to repay the money.
To be eligible, borrowers must be Florida residents buying homes that cost $345,000 or less.
Also, they must have credit scores of at least 640; have no open debt collections on their credit reports (excluding medical debt); have at least two years of employment history in the same job or field, and be current on their rent, with proof of on-time rent payments over the past year.
Real estate agents and housing analysts say coming up with the down payment is one of the biggest challenges keeping people from buying homes.
"The reality is, the average person or worker hasn't been able to save," said Randy Bianchi, co-owner of Paradise Properties of Florida in West Palm Beach. "They're making ends meet, but they don't have the extra cash to get out of renting."
The seminar will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DoubleTree, 13400 W. Sunrise Blvd.
For registration or more information, call United Financial Counselors at 954-372-4370 or email Info@unitedcounselors.org.
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