Money available for Yuba County homes – no takers
For information on the county’s first-time homebuyer assistance program, call 749-5460.
Thousands of dollars are available to help a first-time homebuyer get into a Yuba County house — and apparently, no one is interested.
Or, perhaps it's a lack of awareness keeping people from applying for the county's program, designed to grant people with as much as $60,000 toward buying a home in the county's unincorporated areas.
It's puzzling to county officials like Linda Monroe, an administrative technician with the county's Housing and Community Development Department.
"We are very hopeful we'll get some people again," she said. "It was very successful in previous years."
The money is part of a $669,300 fund derived from state and federal grants for a variety of purposes related to homes and community revitalization. Since the county received the money in fall 2010, Monroe said, they've given out one award, for $60,000.
The county is supposed to have spent 75 percent of the money for the homebuyer assistance program by this month.
But a prospective homeowner has to meet certain criteria to qualify. Among them are no ownership of a home within the last three years; income eligibility up to 80 percent of the median income in Yuba County, or $47,500 for a family of four; and attending a class on personal finance.
The homebuyer must also make a down payment of at least 3 percent and must get a standard fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage.
Some of those criteria might be what's keeping the applications away, said those involved in Yuba-Sutter real estate.
Lisa Rosecrantz, a Realtor and Sutter County native, said it's hard for people to meet those requirements.
"It is a great program, but not everyone can get into it," she said, adding she's worked with people who were interested in applying.
Another problem is exposure; Monroe said she's talked to banks and put up fliers about the program.
But Lori Heikens, a loan officer with Evergreen Home Loans in Yuba City, said there are probably people who qualify, but just don't know the program exists.
"We're working through it," she said, adding she's also referred people to the program. "It's really a matter of exploring all the options."
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.