BY MARY GARRISON
West Point is looking to help those making the transition to homeownership begin the process with all their ducks in a row.
Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, the city — in conjunction with the University of Southern Mississippi Home of Your Own program — will host a homebuyer education workshop at City Hall. The free, day-long seminar will educate participants on a number of aspects to consider when purchasing a home, including how to obtain a mortgage, up-front and ongoing costs of home ownership, managing finances, shopping for a home and available financial assistance. The benefits to first time buyers could be well-worth the time, according to Dorothy Ryland, West Point housing coordinator and deputy clerk.
Participants who complete the class will earn a certificate for participation valid for the next two years, Ryland said. If participants intend to buy a home and are approved for a mortgage, they may contact the Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) and present the certification, which will enable the participant to apply for a downpayment assistance grant. The MHC-administered federal grant provides up to $15,000 applicable to a downpayment on the home and closing costs.
“We try to have (a workshop) about every four months,” Ryland said. “The city used to administer the grant. … Within three years we helped 58 renters in West Point become homeowners.”
Grants are geared toward low-income families, with eligibility determined by HUD specified standards.
According to MHC guidelines, “The potential home buyer must be approved with a participating lender for a home loan and then financial assistance will be provided based upon availability and HUD’s HOME Program Income limits adjusted by household members. A low-income household must have an annual (gross) income that does not exceed 80 percent of median income for the area where the homeowner will be residing, adjusted for family size and based on upcoming 12 months.”
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