Pierce County Offers Assistance Program for Homebuyer Downpayments

Pierce County Offers Assistance Program for Homebuyer Downpayments

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission is acutely aware of the challenges many individuals face in transitioning from renting to owning a home. A significant barrier for these individuals is the inability to afford the initial down payment, despite being able to manage monthly mortgage payments. To address this issue, the Commission offers the Pierce County Downpayment Assistance Program, designed to assist eligible homebuyers in overcoming this financial hurdle.

Details of the Available Assistance

The Pierce County Downpayment Assistance Program aims to ease the financial burden for prospective homeowners. It offers up to $24,900 in assistance, structured as a second mortgage. This loan is characterized by a 4 percent simple interest rate and is deferred for 30 years, meaning no payments are required during this period. The loan becomes repayable when the homeowner sells, refinances, transfers, pays off the mortgage, or if the home ceases to be their primary residence. To qualify, applicants must contribute a minimum down payment of $1,000, which can be met through personal savings or gifted funds.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for this program, applicants must meet several criteria:

  1. They should be first-time homebuyers.
  2. Attendance and completion of a free Homebuyer Education Seminar sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission is mandatory. It’s important to note that online seminars do not fulfill this requirement.
  3. Applicants are also required to undergo a one-on-one, pre-purchase counseling session before closing on the home.

Property Guidelines

The program has specific guidelines regarding the property:

  1. The purchased property must be the borrower’s primary residence.
  2. It must be located within Pierce County but outside the city limits of Tacoma, Lakewood, Bonney Lake, Auburn, and Pacific City.
  3. The property should not have been tenant-occupied within 90 days prior to the purchase agreement, in compliance with federal guidelines.
  4. There are also purchase price limits: $247,000 for existing constructions and $303,990 for new constructions.

Income Limits

The program has set income limits based on household size, as follows:

  • 1 person household: $41,750
  • 2 person household: $47,700
  • 3 person household: $53,650
  • 4 person household: $59,600
  • 5 person household: $64,400
  • 6 person household: $69,150
  • 7 person household: $73,950
  • 8 person household: $76,500

In summary, the Pierce County Downpayment Assistance Program is a significant initiative by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, aimed at helping individuals break free from the renter’s trap and step into homeownership. By providing financial assistance and setting clear guidelines, the program makes the dream of owning a home more attainable for many.

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