Are home down payment assistance programs going away? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Are home down payment assistance programs going away?

June 18, 2007

Albany - - Looking to buy a home anytime soon? There's good news and bad news.

Realtors say home prices are lower right now due to a softer home sales, but mortgage interest rates are the highest they've been in almost a year. 

On top of that, the government is considering getting rid of programs that help home buyers with down payments.

Want a home to call your own? Right now, It's a buyer's market.

"They seem to have a little more negotiating power. They're able to ask for the seller to help with closer costs and possibly the down payment assistance program that enables them to get into the home with no money out of their pocket," says Tammy Hydrick with America's First Home Mortgage.

Just ask Jason Woodward. He recently closed on a new home and got help on his down payment through a FHA Loan.

It wasn't an easy process. "It was kind of nerve wracking because of all of the situations and stipulations that you have. Paperwork. Oh yeah," he says.

Hydrick helps ease the process. But she's concerned about a proposed change coming from the government. "Probably about 99 % of my loans are done FHA."

Now she says the government wants to do away with programs that help home buyers make down payments.

Woodward is glad he closed on his home before any changes are made because if not... "I would have to wait a little bit. Try to get my finances together and get everything where I could do that."

Hydrick says with this possible change on the way, it's also important for potential homeowners to know all of the terms of a lender's agreement before closing.

"If they don't explain things properly and you get to the closing table and the terms are different from what you're expecting, they know that because you're emotionally attached and probably your house is packed up and you're ready to move, you're not going to walk away. But do yourself a favor, if it is ever different from what you expect, do not sign that paperwork," she says.

And though interest rates may be high now, with lower home prices on the market, it may not be too bad after all.

"You're paying less even though the interest rate is higher so your payment ends up being about even," Hydrick adds.

That's why Woodward is a happy camper right now.

The Association of Homeowners Across America is encouraging people to speak out over the proposed FHA changes. They're asking you to write to your U.S. senators and representatives. They have an easy fill-out form to help you do that. For a link to that form, click here.

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