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Office of Community Development

Please Note: OCD will no longer receive ADDI funds, and has very limited funds for this program.

First Time Homebuyers Assistance

ORANGE COUNTY FIRST-TIME HOMEOWNERSHIP PROGRAM  DOWNPAYMENT & CLOSING COST ASSISTANCE

Introduction and Program Description

Affordable homeownership provides benefits to moderate and low-income families as well as the communities in which they live.  Homeownership enhances household wealth and gives families a measure of security and control over their living environment.  Homeownership programs vary in design, depending on such factors as the primary goal of the program, the condition of the housing stock, financial resources available, and the administrative capacity of the implementing organization

Recognizing the diversity of both regional and neighborhood-based programs, the Orange County Office of Community Development (OCD) is expanding its homeownership activities to provide financial assistance for 1st Time Homebuyers’ downpayment and closing cost.  The sources of assistance include an allocation of funds from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) American Downpayment Dream Initiative (ADDI), CDBG, and the HOME Investment Partnership Act Program.   The purpose of this Program is to provide financial assistance for downpayment and closing cost to eligible households through regional and neighborhood-based agencies that conduct HUD approved 1st Time Homebuyer Counseling Programs.  

OCD must ensure that recipients of downpayment and closing cost assistance have attended and successfully completed a 1st Time Homebuyer Counseling Program administered by a HUD approved housing counseling agency.  Persons may obtain a list of agencies via the www (http://www.nyhomes.org/Home/Buyers/) or contacting OCD.  Applications for assistance will be administered through the organization providing the housing counseling program.  Individuals and families whose combined household income is less than eighty-percent (80%) of the Orange County Area Median Income that are purchasing a one-to-four-family residence, condominium unit, cooperative unit or combination of manufactured housing and lot and who have not owned a home during the past three-year period are eligible to receive assistance.  The term first-time homebuyer also includes an individual who is a displaced homemaker or single parent.  

Downpayment and closing cost grants are typically the lesser of six-percent (6%) of the appraised value of the premises or $10,000.  OCD will make a determination concerning the suitability of the proposed purchase and the eligibility of each household based upon information provided by the agency conducting the 1st Time Homebuyer Counseling Program.    

Special notices will be provided to local community development housing organizations, public housing agencies, mortgage lending institutions, and neighborhood-based housing agencies to inform them of
Orange County’s 1st Time Homebuyer Program.  Residents and tenants of public and manufactured housing and other families assisted by public housing agencies are encouraged to apply for downpayment and closing cost assistance.  

Program Guidelines

Orange County
, acting through the Office of Community Development (OCD), will ensure through contractual provisions that all types of HOME -assisted homebuyer programs meet the following basic eligibility requirements:

1. Form of Ownership: The homebuyer must obtain a fee simple title or a 99-year leasehold interest in a one- to four-unit dwelling, ownership in a condominium or cooperative unit, or an equivalent form of ownership approved by HUD.

2. Eligible Property: Eligible properties are one- to four-family residences, condominium or cooperative units and manufactured homes.

3. Property Value: Properties must have an initial purchase price that does not exceed the Single Family Mortgage Limits under Section 203(b) of the National Housing Act (12U.S.C. 1709(b)) for similar type of property within Orange County, as determined by HUD.  If rehabilitation is required, the estimated after-rehabilitation value must not exceed this limit.

4. Property Standards: Properties must meet all local codes, rehabilitation standards and zoning or other ordinances.  Newly constructed properties must meet New York State Energy Code.  Pre-1978 homes must have received lead based paint risk assessments and clearance certification by a qualified EPA certified lead paint risk assessor or inspector.  A Property Inspection Report must be completed by OCD on behalf of the applicant. 5. Residency and Income Eligibility: The homebuyer must occupy the property as a principal residence for the term of the regulatory period.  The home buyer’s household must qualify as moderate-income at eighty percent (80%) or less of the area median income, adjusted for household size, at the time of purchase.  If more than six months elapses between income qualification and the date of purchase, the homebuyer's income must be re-verified.

6. Recapture Provisions: Orange County must ensure that all or a portion of the HOME assistance to the homebuyers is recouped, if the housing does not continue to be the principal residence of the family for the duration of the regulatory period.  1st Time Homebuyers will be required to sign a Grant Enforcement Agreement stipulating the conditions of recapture.

7. Program Timeline:  Downpayment and Closing Cost assistance will be made available until such time as a Fiscal Year’s allocation has been depleted and will be provided on a first-come-first-serve basis.  OCD will enter into a Grant Agreement with an eligible applicant upon submission of a completed application, property contract of sale, evidence of a closing date, bank approval letter and HUD “Good Faith” estimate of closing cost conditioned upon HUD assistance.  OCD estimates three to four weeks process time for downpayment and closing cost funds to be made available for property closing purposes.

Related Links
State Homebuyers Assistance Programs Information (SONYMA)