Grant programs for purchasing homes easier to obtain than thought

By Christine Alleman

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Jan. 11 2013 6:30 a.m. MST

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2009 file photo, a home with a reduced price for sale in Carmel, Ind. neighborhood is shown.

Michael Conroy, AP

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SALT LAKE CITY — Grant programs, the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot and alien abductions are all things we have heard of, but do they really exist? Grant programs, at least, do exist — and they're easier to get your hands on than you think.

You can use certain grant program funds to help purchase a house, which can go toward a down payment or closing costs. You will still need to get qualified with a licensed loan mortgage representative, however, and often you will need to be qualified before you can apply for any of these programs.

Grant programs vary from program to program, and you will need to check out the differences. Generally speaking, they will have different geographical limits, amount limits, income limits, time frames, loan terms and repayment, if required at all.

Typically, these grants or deferred loans have no payments or interest. You pay the principal back upon selling the home or when the home ceases to be owner occupied.

As the owner, you will have to occupy the home. Many of these grant programs have time frames within which you must owner-occupy the home; some require it for entire time you have the loan.

Most if not all grant programs require you attend a home ownership class and participate in pre-home ownership counseling. As a licenced real estate agent, many of my clients have told me how benifical it was to go to the class; they really did get a lot out of it.

All of these grant programs can and do run out of money, so check to see if funds are available. (Don’t worry if they do run out of money, as programs get a new issue of funds periodically.) However, if they do have funds, don't wait till it's too late.

The following is a list of grant programs with general contact information and web addresses for the programs where you can find out more about the different programs and their requirements.

Utah County

Loan To Own covers all cities within Utah County (including unincorporated Utah County) except Alpine, Woodland Hills, Elk Ridge and Provo (Provo has its own program). Visit www.loantoown.net for more information.

Provo

There are two different programsin Provo: Own in Provo and Home Purchase Plus, each with different qualifications such as income and geographical area. Provo City Redevelopment Agency manages both Loan to Own & Provo grant programs. Visit www.provo.org/redev.housingassistance.html or contact the Provo City Redevelopment Agency at 250 West Center Street, Suite #340, in Provo, Utah, 84601 or by phone at 801-852-6160.

Ogden

For grants using the Own in Ogden grant program, the property must be located in the targeted geographical areas of Ogden. Visit www.ogdencity.com or contact the Ogden City Community Development Division at 2549 Washington Boulevard Suite 120, Ogden, Utah, 84401, or by phone at 801-629-8906.

West Valley City

West Valley City provides down payment assistance to first-time home buyers purchasing a home within the West Valley City limits. Visit www.wvc-ut.gov/index.aspx?NID=362 or contact the West Valley City Housing Authority at 3600 Constitution Blvd., West Valley City, Utah, 84119, or by phone at 801-963-3369.

Salt Lake County

The Community Development Corporation of Utah offers down payment assistance grants to first-time home buyers in Utah. The amount of the grant is dependent on the location of the home. Only certain geographical areas have down payment assistance available. The current areas are Salt Lake City, Murray City and Salt Lake County Unincorporated (i.e., Magna, Kearns, Millcreek, White City, Copperton). Visit www.cdcutah.org or contact the Community Development Corporation of Utah at 501 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105, or by phone at 801-994-7222.

NeighborWorks Salt Lake also offers down payment assistance grants to first-time home buyers purchasing single-family homes in targeted neighborhoods within Salt Lake. Visit www.nwsaltlake.org or contact NeighborWorks Salt Lake at 622 W. 500 North Salt Lake City, Utah, 84116, or by phone at 801-539-1590.

Christine Alleman is a licensed real estate agent with the state of Utah. She has 11 years of experience selling real estate full time with Alliance Realtors. "A happy client is an educated client" -Christine Alleman

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