Home Ownership Option

The Home Ownership Option provides an opportunity for current Housing Choice Voucher Program participants to purchase a home by transitioning a rental assistance voucher to mortgage assistance payments. Housing staff support households interested in home purchase by providing referrals and resources for obtaining a mortgage; repairing poor credit scores and creating a savings plan to meet purchasing goals.  The home buying process takes a minimum of twelve months, requires a minimum annual income, and the ability to qualify for a mortgage with a lending institution.

The minimum income requirements for participation include a stable monthly income such as wages from full-time employment, Social Security or other pension benefits. The minimum annual income eligibility for Tompkins County is $14,500.

Additional eligibility requirements include:

• The family must be a Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) participant for at least one year, and be a first-time homeowner, or single-parent displaced homemaker.
• The family must attend home buyer education classes and be credit-qualified and pre-approved by a mortgage lending institution. The family must not have defaulted on a previous mortgage.
• The type of home a family may purchase utilizing HCVP assistance includes single-family, co-operative, condominium or manufactured homes. The home that the family chooses to purchase must pass a Housing Quality (HQS) inspection before voucher assistance can be authorized.
• Generally, once an individual or family has completed home buyer education classes and received housing counseling services, they may apply to a mortgage lending institution of their choice in order to become pre-approved for a mortgage and begin shopping for a home. The mortgage lender must meet HUD guidelines as set forth in HCVP Home Ownership Program regulations.
• The family is also responsible for any down payment on the home. Not less than 1% of any required down payment must come from the family’s personal resources. After the closing occurs, the family must occupy the home as their primary residence – no sub-letting is allowed.
• The voucher assistance for home ownership is, depending on the term of the mortgage, limited to either ten or fifteen years. These time limitations are not applicable to elderly or disabled families.

For more information click on “Contact Us” or call 607-273-8816.