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Programs to Help Low Income Homeowners in Oklahoma

by Joey Macre

The state of Oklahoma has several programs available that give low income families the opportunity to buy a home. The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, the city of Tulsa and the United States Department of Agriculture work with homebuyers through several programs, allowing them to choose the mortgage that works for their individual financial profiles.

100 Percent Financing

The USDA Rural Development program offers Oklahoma residents earning low incomes two loan options to purchase residences: a guaranteed loan and a direct loan. The guaranteed loan -- for the purchase of a home located in certain rural areas -- is limited to four-person households or fewer earning $74,750 or less and five-person households or larger earning $98,650 or less, at the time of publication. The direct home loan program is available to families or individuals earning very low income. These loans eliminate the need for third-party investors and facilitators, leaving business strictly between the borrower and USDA. Payment subsidies also are available for some direct home loans, which allow borrowers to receive contributions when the loan is originated and may continue for the life of the loan.

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is available to families currently certified to receive rental assistance through the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, and who participate in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. This is an opportunity for first-time homebuyers to receive a housing assistance payment from OHFA. The mortgage payment assistance amount is determined by the county standard and the family's monthly income. Families can receive assistance for up to 15 years depending on the loan term.

Oklahoma State Bond

OHFA also offers a program to encourage homeownership for those who qualify. According to the OHFA, the program offers 30-year, fixed-rate, low-interest home loans with 3.5 percent down payment assistance to homebuyers statewide. In addition, special subprograms exist for police officers, firefighters and teachers. The maximum purchase price for a home using the bond program is $214,925, and applicants must have a minimum credit score of 640. Sellers may contribute towards the buyer's closing costs, depending on the type of loan; a 6 percent maximum seller contribution is allowed on Federal Housing Administration-insured loans, 4 percent for U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs-insured loans and 3 percent for conventional loans.

Classes for Novice Buyers

The city of Tulsa offers a first-time buyer education program that may be helpful to those with questions or concerns about purchasing their first home. Monthly homebuyer classes help potential borrowers understand the advantages and disadvantages of homeownership, how to adequately select a real estate agent and lender, how to select the right home and how to maintain a home once it has been purchased. After completion of homebuyer classes, Housing Partners of Tulsa, Inc. may be able to assist with 5 percent of the purchase price up to $5,000 toward your down payment and closing costs.