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Homebuyer program offers $30K down payment

February 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Jenny Tanzilli is excited about the possibility of buying her first home and getting up to $30,000 in grant money for the down payment. Tanzilli is hoping to get the grant through a program called Neighborhood LIFT.

She met with Neighborhood LIFT organizers at a two-day homebuyer event at the Los Angeles Convention Center Friday. Event organizers said it is booked solid with appointments through Saturday.

"Our family is buying our first home together, trying to have the American dream," Tanzilli said.

Wells Fargo has set aside $15 million and has teamed up with local organizations to offer the program, which offers to pay the down payment on a home up to $30,000.

The idea is to get potential homebuyers off the fence and into homes.

To be eligible, you have to be the primary occupant, meaning you can't purchase the home and then rent it out. You cannot qualify if you earn more than 120 percent of the median income, and you have to stay in the home for at least five years to receive the grant.

Learn more about the Neighborhood Lift program.

The program is focused on about 80 homes in the South Los Angeles area.

"We actually have 80 featured properties that we've worked with local realtors and the city of Los Angeles to identify in some of the hardest hit communities like South L.A., East L.A. and San Fernando Valley," said Well Fargo Regional President John Sotoedeh. "It's more about spurring homeownership for those who want to become a homeowner."

Sotoedeh said the event stopped taking appointments last week, which shows the demand in Los Angeles. People can still walk in and get information.

Response to the program has been very positive. About 1,500 people have registered for the free event.

The 30-year interest rate for a home loan is at 3.87 percent, the lowest it's been in decades.

Wells Fargo officials said L.A. and Atlanta, Ga., are the only two cities they are introducing to the Neighborhood LIFT program in the country. If it's a success, they plan to expand the effort to more cities.

Neighborhood Lift - Los Angeles
Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall B
Feb. 3 - Feb. 4, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
1201 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015