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Bank program offers major down-payment assistance for home purchase

February 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The large down payment to buy a house is one of the biggest obstacles for potential homeowners. Here's how you can get help.

It's not every day the mayor of Los Angeles gives you the keys to your new home. But for Margarita Aguilar and Gama Rosales, along with their daughter, Monday was their day. That's because Monday was the one-year anniversary of the Neighborhood LIFT Program, a program with the city of Los Angeles and Wells Fargo Bank that provides up to $30,000 in free money to use as a down payment on a home.

And for this family, that money helped them to realize a dream come true.

"I came from nothing. My father-in-law died about three months ago, we used to live with him. We said, 'What can we do now?' Seeing after three, four months, we get a house. It's incredible," said Rosales.

For many people who have decent credit and a good job, the number one obstacle to buying a home is a down payment.

"There are very few of us who are walking around with $30,000 in down payment money in our savings accounts, if we have anything in our savings accounts these days," said L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

So far the program has given away over $5 million in down payment assistance. But they still have over $4 million to give away.

To get down payment assistance, the home you want to buy must be in the city of Los Angeles and it has to be your primary residence. There are certain income requirements depending on the size of the family.

For a family of four, the household income needs to be less than $101,000 a year. And you can't have more than $20,000 in savings.

"If they meet that criteria, they get a $30,000 grant. It's a form of a second down payment assistance that's completely forgiven after five years," said Wells Fargo Loan Processor Larry Garcia. "So if they stay in the home for five years, they never have to pay a dime back."


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