Goal setting can be a tricky process, and as it turned out Greensboro wasn’t even close when it set the goal of turning 100 renters into homeowners in 2019.
But it wasn’t close in the right direction. By the end of 2019, the Neighborhood Development Department and Housing Consultants Group (HCG) had helped 317 families purchase homes, which translates into nearly $43 million worth of real estate purchased according to HCG Executive Director Sofia Crisp.
Meeting the goal of 100 would have made the program a success. More than tripling the original goal puts the program in a whole nother category of accomplishment.
In fact, the program reached its initial goal of 100 homes halfway through the year in June and set a new goal to help another 100 first time homebuyers in the second half of the year. But evidently, what they learned in the first six months allowed the program to more than double its output in the second half of the year.
The Neighborhood Development Department contracts with HCG to provide counseling services under its Housing Connect GSO program. Part of the success comes from the city redesigning its down payment and closing cost assistance program (DPA).
DPA provides up to $15,000 in down payment and closing costs assistance as a five year, forgivable loan at 0 percent interest. The DPA loan is forgiven at a rate of 20 percent per year. So if a homeowner stays in the home for five years, the full loan is forgiven.
Stan Wilson, the director of the Greensboro Neighborhood Development Department, said, “The combined efforts of this department, HCG, local real estate agents and lenders are proving to be a strong force in first time home buying in Greensboro.”
You don’t even have to be a first time homebuyer to participate, as long as a person has not owned a home in three years and meets the income and financial requirements they can qualify for the program.