Counseling and Down Payment Assistance With the Austin Housing Finance Corporation

If you’re a first time homebuyer in Austin, Texas, there are quite a few resources available to you. Buying a home for the first time is very exciting but it can also be a time of confusion and stress. Making a large investment like a home purchase requires a lot of paperwork, approval processes and financial commitments. Fortunately, there are many programs and resources available to help you navigate this uncertain time.

Many first time homebuyers make the mistake of underestimating how much it will cost to purchase their new home. They assume that the financing process will take care of everything and they won’t have to pay a penny out of pocket in order to get into their home. There are real estate agent fees, down payments and closing costs that will be associated with buying a home.

With a first time home buyer grant, you can get help with these costs as part of the services sponsored by the Austin Housing Finance Corporation, which is a division of the Austin city government. The down payment assistance program (DPA) will help with purchasing a home by granting a specific amount of money to be used as a down payment for a home.

The standard DPA is up to $10,000 in a deferred, forgivable 0% interest loan that has a length of 10 years. The loan is completely forgiven if you stay in the home for 10 years without transferring the title. If you move before the 10 years are up, the loan will be paid back from the sale of your home.

The DPA program is only accessible to people who have completed a series of three classes at the Austin Housing Finance Corporation. The three class series is a part of the nationally recognized NeighborWorks “Keeping the American Dream” homebuyer education course. In order to access the DPA program and other first time home buyer services you have to attend the following:

-Class 1: Assessing Your Readiness to Buy and Money Management

-Class 2: Understanding Credit and Financing a Home

-Class 3: Selecting and Maintaining a Home and Managing Your Finances

These three classes compose a pre-purchase series that is available to people who live in the city limits of Austin, who earn 80% or less of the area’s median family income, who are employed and who have a Texas driver’s license. After completing the three classes, you’ll be awarded a certificate which will gain you access to the DPA as well as many Travis County and State of Texas programs.

In addition to the pre-purchase classes, the Austin Housing Finance Corporations also offer post-purchase classes which are important if you find yourself in a position where you might lose your home. The course is similar to the pre-purchase classes and acts as a refresher on the basics of home ownership, particularly focusing on the financial commitments associated with owning a home. The requirements for the post-purchase classes are the same with regards to family income and location.

The details on these resources and more first time homebuyer programs are available on the Austin Housing Finance Corporation’s official website.

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