Fresno County Homebuyer Assistance Program

May 22, 2009 1:06:35 AM PDT
A Valley family is weeks away from moving into a home they never thought they could afford ... their American dream came true thanks to a Fresno County program that few are taking advantage of.Maria and Raul Fernandez proudly show off their brand new home. For two years it was one of several houses in a Selma subdivision that sat empty when the bad economy forced the developer to stop building.

Now that home prices are more affordable, Real Estate Agent Connie Wilson is selling the homes to low income families, like the Fernandez's ... with help from a little-known county program.

Connie said, "It enables the buyer to not come in with a down payment-- and it makes it very possible especially with this economy to be able to purchase a home."

The Homebuyer Assistance Program pays closing costs for qualifying families ... and provides a zero-interest deferred payment loan for up to 20% of the home's price.

Yet the program a has been around for 12 years in several county towns-- Selma, Reedley, Sanger, Kerman, Coalinga, Fowler, Kingsburg and Mendota. Fresno County Loan Officer Lina Thatcher says it's one of the programs that offers the most financial assistance.

"We're helping them with an assistance amount that is going to substantially reduce what their regular loan amount would have been through a bank, so their payment to the bank is going to be a lot lower," said Thatcher.

For Raul Fernandez, who's a farm worker earning minimum wage, the program was the only way he'd be able to afford this 11-hundred square foot home. The county paid his 28-thousand dollar down payment with a loan he won't have to pay back for 30 years.

Connie said, "This particular family is an absolute wonderful example of how this program can make this dream possible."

Having already put three kids through college, and with two more to go ... The couple is happy and grateful.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
(559) 262-4292
www.co.fresno.ca.us/housing

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