Wednesday, July 27, 2005
7 News Features: Home Of Your Own
Think of it as free money. If you feel busted by the real estate boom, there's still a way to get a foot in the door. In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, owning a home of your own just became a lot easier and a lot more affordable.
WSVN-- Along with baseball, hotdogs, and apple pie...Owning your own home defines the American dream.
But here in south Florida, buying property can be an impossible dream especially if it's your first time.
Manuel Iraola from homekeys.com: "There is this huge affordability gap."
Manual Iraola should know. He created a website called homekeys.com, where prospective buyers can assess a home's true value and determine if the price is right.
Manuel: "This is a sellers market and some people would argue the expectations of some sellers are unrealistic."
But sometimes finding a house can be easier than coming up with enough cash. Today, many banks require a down payment of at least 10 to 15 percent.
Not to mention, your mortgage, your closing costs, and your taxes.
Patricia Braynon from the Miami-Dade Housing Finance Authority: "The housing has just out paced them, even if they get little increases in income it's not increasing as fast as the cost of housing today."
As the director of Miami-Dade Housing Finance Authority, Patricia Braynon deals with struggling homebuyers' everyday.
Her top priority: Turning that American dream into an affordable dream. A process that can take months.
Patricia: "Once you qualify for the program based on income and purchase price and of course a credit check, you can go ahead and see about purchasing a home."
One of the more preferred options is the single family bond program. It's a grant given to families with an income under 60 - thousand dollars. But the best part is you don't have to repay the money as long as you're living in the house.
Want to try something a little more creative...You can also find financial aid through the county by living near the public transit. Or you could be eligible for assistance by agreeing to buy, repair, and renovate your new home.
Pam Moss: "My dream and I told my mom this when I was 25. I said when I hit 34 I want to have my own house. Well, I got it at 32."
With Miami-Dade's help, Pam Moss's dream came true. Today, she's enjoying a new house with her son Jamel.
Pam: "I'm proud everytime my son can wake up and walk out the door and we can walk in the grass and that's our grass."
In Dade and Broward County, if you want to qualify for assistance, you must attend a workshop.
In Broward, the most popular service is a program called ship. It offers buyers with an income under 55 thousand dollars a forgivable 10 to 15 thousand dollar loan if they live in the house for 5 years.
Norman Howard from the Broward County Housing Finance: "We feel it's an opportunity to get people in housing. That is the goal. To get people in housing."
But ship funds are also given to many cities in Broward and a few in Dade, which means it, is perfectly legal to get money from the city and the county.
Homeowner, Evangela Lotharop, made sure to answer when she heard opportunity knocking. She received money from Broward county and the city of Lauderhill and now she's fixing up her first home of her own.
Evangela Lotharop: "It's a great feeling just being able to your own place somewhere you can say oh wow this is mine. I'm a homeowner."
To be eligible for any financing, there is a maximum income per household and maximum purchasing price per home.
If you're interested in purchasing a home:
Office of Housing Finance
110 NE 3rd. Street
954-765-5311 ext. 239