Jeff Smolinski and Magan Landsiedel are the proud new owners of a beautiful $133,000 Largo, Florida home – despite only forking out a down payment of $100.
For a government-insured mortgage, you might expect to pay $4,700 upfront, while conventional lenders would be asking for more like $25,000.
So how on Earth did Smolinksi and Landsiedel get theirs so darn cheap? Through a little-known program ran by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, that’s how. This amazing program allows people to purchase government-owned foreclosed homes with just a $100 down payment.
What’s more, there are a surprisingly large amount of homes like this right now, with 3,451 just in Florida alone.
While most of these HUD homes, as they are known, need work doing to them and are often at the lowest end of the price spectrum, they often present bargain opportunities for first time buyers or anyone who knows how to wield a box of tools.
The government will also help out with repairs if you don’t have the cash to carry out essential work right away. These costs can be rolled into the Rehabilitation Home Mortgage Insurance of the Federal Housing Administration. The loan is insured by the agency, and this includes anything extra that is required for repairs. With government backing, lenders are only too happy to get the checkbook out.
Altogether in the U.S. right now, there are around 69,000 HUD homes available due to buyers who couldn’t meet payments on FHA-insured mortgages. This led to banks forcing foreclosures, cashing in the insurance, leaving the homes in the hands of the government.
Scott Samuels, with the Remax Metro realtor firm in St. Petersburg who were responsible for listing the property in Largo, feels more should be done to make people aware of HUD homes. “Many people don’t know about it,” he said. “It’s a really good program.”
Realtor Catherine Delorenzo, who represented Smolinski and Landsiedel in the deal, agrees. In seven years in the business, this was the first HUD sale she had been involved with.
“It’s a shame more people don’t know about them. The process is very simple, and it’s good that people have these options”.
Zero down payment mortgage loans used to be a popular option when home values were rapidly rising and credit guidelines were looser. These days, almost no conventional loans are available without a down payment of at least 3-5% of the home price or more. However, some homebuyers may be able to qualify for a no down payment home loan through one of several programs. The caveat is that borrowers must be able to provide documentation of adequate income to repay the loan and must have good credit - at the very least a score of 620 or higher. Some lenders and loan programs will require a higher score. (For help on how you can improve your credit rating, check out 5 Keys To Unlocking A Better Credit Score.)