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Homebuyer Tool: Housing Counseling

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

Hello all,

Today I’d like to talk about some of the programs and resources available in the region for getting affordable housing. This is not an exhaustive list, but will hopefully include some helpful resources. I’ll also be including some informal definitions for some of the terms used throughout.

Cecil County offers a variety of homeownership counseling services:

  • Homebuyer Education & Pre-purchase Homeownership Counseling

  • Mortgage Default and Delinquency

  • Budget Counseling

  • Rental Counseling & Rent Delinquency

  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Counseling (Reverse Mortgage)

Defaulting on a mortgage: This happens when the homeowner breaks the rules of the mortgage. Most often, it’s because the homeowner stops making payments. Your mortgage agreement should say when being late turns into default. If you’re in mortgage default the lender can demand the entire remaining debt on the home.

Reverse mortgage: A senior only option, a homeowner who is 62 or older and has considerable home equity can borrow against the value of their home and receive funds as a lump sum, fixed monthly payment, or line of credit. Unlike a forward mortgage—meaning the type used to buy a home—a reverse mortgage doesn’t require the homeowner to make any loan payments during their lifetime.

Instead, the entire loan balance, up to a limit, becomes due and payable when the borrower dies, moves out permanently, or sells the home. (From Investopedia)

Founded in 1977, MHDC’s services include transitional housing, rental housing, self-help housing, home repairs and rehabilitation, home buyers club, property management, preservation, single-family new construction, and engineering and site design.

Self-help housing: Accepted applicants' families and, or approved volunteers contribute 25 hours every week for about a year building their home and the homes of others in the community.

Qualifications for self-help housing are:

- Good credit status (no credit may be acceptable)

- Stable income from employment and other sources of income

- Ability and willingness to meet the labor requirements

- Primary applicant must be a permanent resident or US citizen

Right now they have homes available in the Knoll Acres neighborhood of Lincoln, DE. Folks building their future home have six floorplans to choose from!

This organization has been helping aspiring homeowners in the Philadelphia area for more than 50 years!

They work with local residents to make an action plan that can help with the following:

  • Homeownership Goal Planning

  • Home Purchase guidance

  • Renter/Tenant guidance

  • Homebuyer grant applications

  • Mortgage delinquency negotiation

  • Foreclosure conciliation

  • Eviction mediation

  • Emergency mortgage and rental assistance applications

“The first step is usually the hardest, but in this case it’s easy. No matter what your challenge, or even if you’re not sure what your challenge is, make an appointment and we’ll talk through it.”

Clarifi counselors may have certifications from one or more of the following: National Foundation for Credit Counseling, NeighborWorks, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Homeowners may be eligible for assistance through the Delaware Mortgage Relief Program if they meet the following:

- The homeowner, borrower, or spouse must have experienced a pandemic-related financial hardship that occurred after January 21, 2020, such as lost income or increased expenses.

- Household income at or below 150% Area Median Income (AMI) or 100% of the median income for the United States, whichever is greater.

- Own and occupy their home in Delaware as their primary residence.

- Delinquent by at least thirty (30) days, including any payments during a forbearance period.

YWCA Delaware has helped over 3,000 families experience the economic benefits and many joys of homeownership. Their Home-Life Management Center offers services for women and men with children, and two-parent families. They offer home related educational programs and have a program for helping survivors of domestic abuse save up and find safety.

Here are a couple of class examples:

1. Online Homebuyer Education - YWCA Delaware now offers online Homebuyer Education. If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and ready to move forward with your purchase, check out our Homebuyer Education.

2. Foreclosure Prevention - If you own a home, but have fallen behind on your mortgage payments or think you may fall behind soon, learn more about our Foreclosure Prevention program.

The YWCA offers bilingual counseling in both Spanish and English.

Thank you for reading and have a great day!

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