Get Ready to Rumble!
In case you missed the good news out of the mayor’s office a couple of weeks ago, she announced a new program to assist first-time, moderate- income buyers for paying the down payment on a home.
A collaboration between Wells Fargo Bank and NeighborhoodLIFTSM and CityLIFTSM, the program will provide $15,000 in down payment assistance to prospective homeowners that meet certain criteria. These include:
- Income guidelines – the combined income of everyone living in the home must not exceed no120 percent of the area median income. For details on this, see the chart at the CityLIFT website.
- Completion of a homebuyer education course.
- An executed purchase contract.
- The home must be located in Baltimore City.
This criteria pertains to only the first phase of the program, now underway. The second phase occurs in April of this year and it’s a bit more challenging.
Although you won’t need a purchase contract to apply for the grant, you must complete the education class in time to close on a home within 90 days. What this means for buyers is that while attending eight hours of courses they must also find the home of their dreams – within three months.
Of course that’s doable, in a slow market, but Baltimore’s housing market is heating up, especially in the lower price ranges. In fact, Baltimore has one of the country’s fastest growing housing markets, with sales and prices rising steadily.
The median sales price of a Baltimore City home in October 2011, for instance, was $96,800. By December, that number shot up to $120,000 and forecasters expect prices to continue to increase.
So, is mortgage giant Wells Fargo Bank involved in philanthropy out of the goodness of its heart? Not quite.
If you recall, Wells Fargo was hit with charges of discriminatory lending practices during the housing boom. While failing to admit any wrongdoing, Wells Fargo did agree to pay a $175 million dollar settlement, and some of this money found its way to Baltimore.
Regardless of how it came to be, several hundred Baltimoreans are going to have their homeownership dreams come true.