“Now is the time to buy.”
You’ve probably heard this phrase many times during the last four years regarding Utah’s housing market. But many homeowners may believe they’re stuck with their current housing situation because of the drop in home values.
While values along the Wasatch Front aren’t as low as other housing markets nationally, many homeowners are faced with the reality that, if they sell their home, they would merely break even and not have enough money to purchase another home.
If you find yourself in this situation, or you’ve sold a home and are struggling to save for a down payment, two new loan programs are available.
Utah Housing Corporation, known for its first-time home buyer programs, recently launched Home Again and Score. These programs allow buyers, regardless of previous ownership, to purchase a home with down payment assistance through a community second mortgage.
Both programs have income, credit score and maximum purchase price requirements, but don’t let that deter you.
The income requirements complement the average household incomes in Utah, and the acceptable credit score is as low as 620.
Purchase requirements vary with credit scores, but this shouldn’t be viewed as limiting because home prices are so affordable. These loans are approved in accordance with FHA or VA guidelines and must be originated through an approved Utah Housing Lender.
Speaking of FHA, some people may be considering selling their house on a “short sale.” This is where you negotiate a lower payoff with your mortgage company in order to avoid a loss and foreclosure.
FHA guidelines allow a short sale as long as the mortgage and other debt payments have been paid in the current month due in the last 12 months. Unfortunately, if there were late payments, you may have to wait up to three years to qualify for FHA financing.
It truly is a great time to purchase or build a new home. The key is to work with an experienced lender who can explain all the options that will work best for you.
Ask your lender as many questions as you can so you can make an educated decision for your family.
Amber Wykstra, of Ogden, is vice president of mortgage production at Bank of Utah. You can contact her at email@example.com, or visit her blog at www.accordingtoamber.com.