Veterans, military qualify for down payment assistance
Annapolis, Md. — A new Maryland program is designed to give veterans and military personnel a financial break when buying a home.
Active-duty members of the military and veterans can request $10,000 toward settlement costs and the down payment through the Maryland Homefront program.
The $10,000 will go a long way toward helping military personnel and vets own their own homes, said William Ariano, deputy director of community development in the Department of Housing and Community Development, or DHCD. Ariano administers Maryland Homefront.
“They need a place to live and a job, and what we have done with this initiative is help them get there,” Ariano said.
There are 16,000 Marylanders who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan or both. Veterans may use this benefit anywhere in the state, Ariano said.
Under the program, eligible people may use the money to cover closing costs; it can also be used toward a down payment. The interest-free loan is recorded as a lien on the property, and does not have to be repaid until the borrower refinances the property or sells the home.
Working with lenders, the program also offers qualified borrowers financing at 3.25 percent, or half a point below the prevailing interest rate the Department of Housing and Community Development offers other borrowers.
This part of the program will save a service member who buys a $250,000 home about $840 a year, according to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s office. Brown, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve who served a tour of duty in Iraq, announced the program this week.
DHCD personnel said they have other ways to sweeten the deal even more.
If the home being purchased is in a “targeted area,” meaning a designated area needing economic development, the interest rate drops to 2.875 percent.
Also, if the home is one that DHCD has foreclosed on, the buyer can finance the purchase with a 1 percent DHCD loan.
“Not only do we not want to own the real estate, but the more we can do to get the property back on the tax rolls, and restored to where it helps improve the neighborhood, the better,” Ariano said.
Nonveterans may qualify for housing assistance — but not quite as much as veterans. If they buy a home in a “targeted area,” they may qualify for a low-interest loan and $5,000 in closing assistance.
For more information on Department of Housing and Community Development programs, go to http://www.mdhousing.org/ and click on Homeownership Programs.