With $4.5 million available for down payment assistance, a major effort to help people buy and live in homes in Memphis and Shelby County will launch with a large-scale homebuyer workshop at the Memphis Cook Convention Center on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
The Memphis-Shelby County Helping Homebuyers program will provide down payment assistance of up to $15,000 to those who qualify, buy and live in a home located in the city or county. Down payment funds may also be used for renovation. To qualify, applicants must meet criteria including household income not exceeding 120 percent of the area median income, which is $71,000 for a family of four; income maximums vary depending on household size.
Wells Fargo is the presenting sponsor of the free launch event. It is providing funding for the event and ongoing program as part of a collaboration agreement under which the city and county ended a lawsuit against the bank. Through the agreement, reached earlier this year, Wells Fargo has provided a total of $7.5 million to the City of Memphis and Shelby County. Of that total, $4.5 million is available for down payment assistance. United Housing, a non-profit providing homeownership services to low- and moderate income and first-time homebuyers, will administer the down payment assistance program.
Prospective homebuyers can obtain information at the event about the $15,000 for down payment assistance for a mortgage purchase loan with any lender qualified by United Housing. Multiple lenders will be present at the event.
"This will provide a major boost to our efforts to strengthen our neighborhoods through homeownership," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. "We appreciate Wells Fargo's help to get the Helping Homebuyers program off to a strong start."
Mayor Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell made the announcement jointly at a three-bedroom home with a two-car garage that is for sale and available for help through the program at 3042 Kirkcaldy Road in the Scenic Hills neighborhood. The formerly foreclosed home was totally renovated by United Housing using federal Neighborhood Stabilization funds.
"This will offer residents not only new opportunities to own a home, but also the knowledge and resources to be successful in this life-changing investment. We hope as many people as possible will explore using the program at the event starting in a few weeks," said Mayor Luttrell.
"Today, despite low home prices and historically low interest rates, many families are still unable to purchase a home because they struggle with making the down payment," added Memphis Market President Tom Patronis, who represents Wells Fargo. "In this way, we can help get people in homes across Memphis and Shelby County by providing money to make homeownership affordable."
Pre-registration is encouraged but walk-ins welcome during event.
The expo is open both days from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
"We believe buying a home is a rewarding achievement that everyone should experience, but it's tough to accomplish," said Tim Bolding of United Housing. "As the nonprofit member of this program, the United Housing team is happy to help facilitate an applicable solution that could be the answer for prospective homebuyers in Memphis and Shelby County."
Potential homebuyers can learn more about the available $15,000 down payment assistance grant. They can also apply to get pre-approved for a mortgage - and if they face credit challenges they can sign up for free counseling.
As part of the event, those who attend can stop by Wells Fargo's Affordable Home TourTM viewing center to preview the features and prices of homes from areas across the city and county.