Housing and Community Development Department
Welcome to the Housing and Community Development Department's web page for Stakeholders: Lenders, Realtors, Builders, Homebuyer Counseling Agencies, and Title Companies. This page will assist you in educating your homebuyers on how to purchase an affordable home through our Homebuyer Assistance Program (HAP).
HAP Frequently Asked Questions:
- How long does the process take? Two weeks, provided there are no external delays.
- Are there any fees to participate in the Homebuyer Assistance Program? No, the program does not charge any fees.
- What is the buyer required to contribute to the transaction? The buyer must contribute at least $350.
- Do you follow FHA guidelines? No, the HAP only follows its internal guidelines. Our underwriting includes calculating Debt-to-Income Ratio (45% back end ratio), ensuring there are no collections for government services or utilities, and no defaulted student loans.
- Is there a cost for your inspection? And what does the inspection include? The inspection is a free service, conducted by the Department. A copy of the inspection is available here. Please note that the City’s inspection is not to replace the buyer’s independent inspection. The two are very different and we recommend that the buyer still obtain an outside, private inspection.
- What is an environmental review and why is it needed? Because the HAP is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), they mandate that HCDD does not use federal funds to assist a home located in a flood way. To check a properties eligibility, visit this link, enter the property address, and if it is located in a floodway, the property is not eligible for the HAP. If located in a flood zone, flood insurance is required to proceed. Note that if the home is new or undergoing construction, the mapper may not be able to locate the address. This is rare, but if it occurs the HCDD environmental team will have to map out the address during the application process for the final determination.
- Is there a mandatory training that lenders and realtors must take to participate in the HAP? No, although the class is highly recommended, lenders and realtors are not required to take the training to participate, however we strongly urge you to register for one of our monthly courses here.
- Is there a second lien attached to the program? Yes, there is a five-year second lien that is lifted once the five-year residency requirements have been met.
- Who is the loan servicer? The HAP loan is serviced internally with our Loan Servicing Division. The loan is not amortized, however, there is a 6% fee applied to the defaulted loan balance.
- Must the applicants be U.S. Citizens? Yes, each applicant must be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent residency card.
- Can the buyer receive cash back at closing? No, the program does not allow cash back to the buyer. Any additional funds should be applied to principal reduction.
- Can the HAP funds be used to pay Realtor commissions? No, the funds are strictly for down payment, closing costs, pre-paids, and principal reduction. Should the buyer choose to pay a Realtor commission, they will have to do so from their personal funds.
- How does the process work? Once your borrower has taken the required homebuyer education course, and received a pre-approval letter, they will need to contact us to start their eligibility process by providing the documents listed in the Applicant Document Checklist. A determination will then be made and either a denial or conditional reservation letter will be issued. At this point the buyer will place a property under contract, the lender submits the documents on the Property and Lenders Checklist, and we will conduct our inspection (the HAP will conduct a maximum of three home inspections). Then underwriting will take place, after which a final Commitment Letter is issued. The buyer will then complete a pre-closing meeting with the HAP and then the pre-closing documents on the Required Closing Documents Checklist are collected. Once the closing date has been scheduled, the HAP will wire the funds to the title company on the day of closing.