Answers To Questions You Might Be Asking
To follow is a series of questions you might be asking about our programs. We want you to understand our programs. Feel free to call or email or fax with any further questions you may have.
- Who are you trying to serve with your program?
Currently only 20-30% of American families can qualify for a traditional loan. That means 70+% of Americans CANNOT qualify. We offer six programs to make housing available to the most people possible. According to a HUD study, 67% of Americans live in a home. That means over 100 million people do not live in traditional housing. While some choose the convenience and affordability of apartments, most are forced to be there due to the lack of affordable housing and the ability to get financed. Our network of affordable housing providers fills that gap.
- Why is having a home of their own so important?
Harvard, HUD and others have done studies that prove when families and individuals have the stability of their own home in a community, incomes rise, the number of children going on to higher education increases, family stability increases, likelihood of children turning to crime is lowered, and overall outlook on life is improved. The pride of home ownership is a key element.
- What sets your affordable housing initiative apart from others?
We provide the financing. No banks are needed. Past credit is not one of our criteria in the approval process. If they don’t have sufficient down payment, we have several programs to step them up to the final plan of home ownership.
- Why don’t your clients get a bank loan?
Because they can’t. Issues from their past including job loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and bad payment habits causes a low credit score and lenders, particularly now in this economy, won’t work with them. Our programs are designed to work with people without considering their past credit history. We only need sufficient down payment from our buyers. This can be sourced from gifts from family; county, state, and city grant programs (if available); IRA or 401K loans; and philanthropic foundations.
- Why should people use your programs?
Because we serve people where they are. We help them get onto a path of home ownership now. If they have a job and/or sufficient verifiable income, then we can provide them with a home.
- Why don’t they just go to another provider, such as Habitat?
There simply are FAR more buyers than they or any other existing agency can handle. Also, Habitat only builds new houses, one at a time. We provide housing from existing stock which is much more GREEN. We recycle houses rather than cut down more trees and use up more land.
- Where does your inventory of houses come from?
Bank foreclosures, probate properties, real estate agent listed properties, and properties sold to us from the public.
- What programs do you offer?
They can choose to 1) Rent, 2) Rent to own, 3) Owner (Seller) Financing, 4) Cash sale (FHA or traditional loan), 5) Work for Equity for those who can do some fix-up work and receive added down payment credits, and 6) VIP for those who don’t have the required down payment or initial fees but want to get started with the money they have and build up each pay period from there.
- Can anyone qualify?
No. Only those with stable job, pension, social security and/or disability income can qualify.
- What are your fees?
We don’t charge any upfront fees. Once someone finds a home, then we require a nominal application fee of $35.00 per individual or $50.00 for a couple. Once approved, sufficient Performance Fees, Option Fees or Down Payments are required, depending on the program the client chooses or is qualified for. These amounts are based on the price of the home.
- How long does it take to qualify someone?
It depends on how long it takes to reach the references on their application. Most are complete within 24 hours.
- Is there a waiting period?
That depends on the needs of the client. If the house they need is in inventory, then no. They could literally move in the day the application is approved and all monies paid. But if they require a different number of bedrooms, location, price point, or style of home than what is in inventory, then we can find them a home they like that fits within our acquisition criteria.
- What kind of “Down Payment” do you require?
If someone wants to rent only, the performance fee is approximately the amount of one month’s rent. On our Rent To Own program, we require approximately 3% of the price of the home. On In-House Financing (also known as Owner Financing or seller financing) we require approximately 10% down. On our Cash Sale program (traditional or FHA loan) the amount down depends on the type of loan they qualify for.
- Can the Down Payment be adjusted?
Yes. Typically we are working with previously owned homes. Most require some work. Some require a lot of work. Many clients have the skills or friends and family with the skills to do some or all of the work. Most require only cosmetic (paint and carpet) repairs but some require new heating and air units, roofing, painting, tile, carpet, cabinets, etc. We work out the agreement together. We will CREDIT their down payment for any work they agree to do.
- What if someone doesn’t have the required down payment?
They can join our VIP program. This allows them to put as little as $500 in escrow with us. Then each pay period they can add to this account until they build up the amount required for the program they choose. This is fully refundable if they change their mind or have an emergency or change in circumstances.
- Can people earn other credits toward their down payment or monthly payments?
Yes. For every new client referred with whom we do business anyone can earn from $250 to $1000.
- What paperwork is required?
If they rent, then we complete a Standard Rental Agreement. If it’s Rent To Own, then we complete a Standard Rental Agreement plus an Option To Purchase Agreement. If it’s Owner (Seller) Financing, then we complete a Standard Agreement for Deed. If they have sufficient credit to qualify for FHA, VA, or traditional loan, then we complete a Standard Purchase and Sale Agreement. If they don’t have sufficient down payment for any of the above programs, then we complete a VIP agreement and place their initial and subsequent payments in escrow at our bank. We also provide lead based paint disclosures, Move-In inspection reports, and other basic paperwork.
- What is Agreement for Deed?
Agreement for Deed, Contract for Deed, Land Contract or Bond for Deed are recognized legal terms for the seller holding the deed while the buyer pays the agreement. This is similar to a car lender who holds the title as collateral for the loan and allows the borrower to use the car. Should the buyer default on the agreement by not paying as agreed, then the seller can repossess the property and doesn’t have to go through the expensive and lengthy foreclosure process to clear the title. This procedure is recognized by the IRS and the buyer still receives tax benefits by writing off interest and property taxes on their federal income tax return each year. Agreement for Deed also offers a benefit to our clients in that if they do get in trouble and default, an eviction is better than a foreclosure on their credit reports. This minimizes the damage done to their credit score by any inability to pay as agreed for whatever reason.
- Do people ever refinance and purchase their property with a new loan?
They certainly do. In fact, we encourage it. As soon as their credit has improved enough, they can obtain a FHA or traditional loan at a lower interest rate. We also provide them with a do‑it‑yourself credit repair kit free of charge.
- Does your company provide any financial counseling to your clients?
Our long range plans include offering regular financial budgeting classes to help people understand the need to plan their income and expenses so that they are not at risk of losing their homes.
- What else do you do to assure that your client does not lose the home?
For those whose employer will work with us, we will accept payroll deduction payments.
- What happens if your client gets behind on their payments?
Our goal is to keep them in the home if possible. We start by finding out what their issue is as to why they haven’t paid. As long as they have dependable, predictable income then a workout is possible. We will take payments each pay period to resolve the arrears based on the agreement.
- How long has your company been in business?
- Is your company in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?
Yes, we have been in business since 1999 and there are no negative reports about us in the Better Business Bureau.
- Is this program available everywhere?
Yes, through our network of “Certified Affordable Housing Providers”, homes are available throughout the country in most areas.