Seminar Offered For First Time Homebuyers

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Families and single people who dream of home ownership, and can qualify to buy a home through a lender, can apply for additional funds through the Homes for Arizonans program.

Homes for Arizonans is a lending assistance program through the Arizona Housing Commission.

"We come in at the end after all other funds are used," said Sandra Weis, Homes for Arizonans program specialist. "We handle "gap" financing."

This gap financing happens after a family has used, for instance, U.S. Department of Agriculture rural housing money, gifts from family, 401(k) plan money or savings to come up with a down payment. Then if the family still does not have enough money, HfA funds kick in.

HfA provides a maximum of $20,000 per family based on income (wages in a four person household cannot exceed $63,135), purchase price of home, closing costs, savings, assets and gifts.

To qualify for HfA funds, the mortgage amount should be no less than 80 percent loan-to-value.

The home must be the buyer's primary residence.

When the family chooses to rent or sell their home, the no-interest loan must be repaid to the state so HfA can continue to fund homes for other people.

"Educating families on how to own a home is my passion," Weis said.

When she was a young woman she made mistakes herself on the path to home ownership. Now she has been in the mortgage business for several decades and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.

"How to become financially prepared to purchase a home" is a piece of the seminar series she will teach in Payson over the next six months.

Lenders generally want a family's monthly house payment, taxes, and insurance not to exceed 29 to 31 percent of the gross monthly income, she said. Total monthly payments, including the house payment, taxes, insurance and other debt payments, should not exceed 41 percent of gross monthly income.

If, to fall within these percentages, a person needs to pay down credit card debt, asking creditors for help with a smile is a starting point.

"It does not hurt to ask for a lower interest rate on your credit cards," Weis said. "Put a mirror in front of your face and be sweet and kind when you talk to your creditors."

"Credit Scores and Credit Reports: How the System Really Works and What you Can Do" by Evan Hendricks is a book Weis recommends to seminar attendees who want to improve their credit worthiness.

The next HfA seminar given by Weis in Payson will be held from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, and Thursday, July 13, in the meeting room at the Payson Police Department, 303 N Beeline Highway.

Couples must attend together and must attend both days in order to be eligible for funds.

The seminar is for adults only.

Bring paper, pencil, water and something to eat to the seminar if you have not had your dinner yet, Weis said.

Five more seminars will be held this year at the Central Arizona Board of Realtors Office at 600 E State Highway 260, Suite 4, in Payson.

All classes are from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The dates are Aug. 23 and 24, Sept. 27 and 28, Oct. 25 and 26, Nov. 15 and 16, Dec. 13 and 14.

For more information or to make a reservation, call Weis at (602) 771-1027.

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