Sometimes life intrudes on the best laid plans. That’s what happened to a 30-something Arizona couple who had saved up for a down payment on buying their first home. Their car died and their medical insurance costs soared at the same time, which meant they had to dip deeply into the savings they had accumulated for a down payment.
Reluctantly, they called their real estate agent and said they’d have to stop searching for a home. However, to their surprise, the agent informed them of a down payment assistance grant that had helped more than 1,000 Arizona first time home buyers who were also lacking enough money for the down payment.
The Arizona Republic reports:
With more than a $5,000 down-payment grant from the Arizona Housing Finance Authority’s Home Plus program, the Belmontes were able to obtain a mortgage on a three-bedroom house in Laveen last month. Their house cost less than $160,000 and is bigger, with enough bedrooms for them and their three children.
They are paying only about $150 a month more than they did to rent, and the tax deduction could make up the difference.
The Belmontes’ payments also could drop within five years if they build up 20 percent equity in their home and are no longer required to pay mortgage insurance on their government-backed loan.
“We had been renting for 10 years and thought we might not ever get into our own house,” Crystal Belmontes told me. “We love our home. Our children are so happy we are right next to a park, and a school is near by.”
Since the housing crash, lenders are requiring bigger down payments from buyers.
“The down payment seems to be the biggest issue for first-time and boomerang buyers now,” said Dirk Swift, homeownership programs administrator for the Arizona Housing Department’s Finance Authority. “Expenses are going up. Wages are stagnant. Rents are sky high, and then there’s student loan debt.”
>> read the full article at azcentral.com