Maui’s First-Time Home Buyer’s Grant Program
By Wendy Osher
The County of Maui is accepting applications for this year’s edition of its First Time Home Buyer’s grant program.
The program was established four years ago to assist low-to-moderate income home buyers with a down payment and/or closing cost assistance on their first home.
The County’s Housing Division administers the program, and applicants are selected through a lottery drawing process.
The deadline to return the completed application and credit pre-approval letter to the Housing Division Administration office is 4:30 p.m., Friday, August 3, 2012, by mail or hand delivered.
The lottery drawing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 5:30 p.m., at the Cameron Center auditorium in Wailuku.
Applications are available at the County’s Housing Division Administration office at 35 Lunalilo Street, Suite 102, in Wailuku. Individuals who are unable to pick up an application can call 270-7351, or mail a written request to the Housing Division Administration office, and request that an application be mailed to them.
In addition to the application, a credit pre-approval (not pre-qualification) letter from a mortgage lender that is authorized to do business in Hawaii must be turned in with the completed application. The credit pre-approval letter must be for the applicants listed on the application; and no application will be accepted without the pre-approval letter.
A total of 13 applications will be drawn during the lottery process. Those that are pulled will be notified in writing that they must complete and sign a formal application and submit it with signed tax returns for the last three years.
Housing officials say the formal application and tax returns must be returned within 10 days of the date of the letter.
The remaining applicants will be prioritized as alternates in the order that their applications were drawn. They will be called upon in order should any of the first 13 applicants fail to meet their obligations or grant qualification criteria.
Program assistance will be made available to eligible applicants in the form of a grant for eligible properties within the County of Maui.
Basic provisions of the First-Time Home Buyer’s Grant Program:
- The maximum grant amount is $15,000.
- Eligible Properties include the following: a) Single-family detached dwelling; b) Multi-family dwelling; c) Residential lot with plans to construct a single-family detached dwelling; d) Homestead leasehold property under the jurisdiction of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
- Grants will be secured by a lien document in favor of the County and shall have a term of 15 years from the date of purchase, except DHHL leasehold properties.
- Grants must be repaid if one of the following events occurs during the 15 year term: a) grantee refinances the first mortgage loan and takes cash out; b) grantee no longer uses the property as the borrower’s principle residence; or c) borrower sells the property.
To qualify. the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- a) Be a resident of the County of Maui at the time the application is submitted; b) be a United States citizen or resident alien; c) be at least 18 years of age;
- Agree to occupy the eligible property to be purchased as the applicant’s principle residence;
- For the taxable year preceding the application and for the duration of the application process, have a household income of 140% or less of the County’s median annual income (currently $107,940), as determined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development; or, if the applicant is a resident of Lana`i, Moloka`i, or Hana, 140% or less of the adjusted median income for Lana`i (currently $94,010), Moloka`i (currently $71,820), or Hana (currently $92,946), as determined by the Department of Housing and Human Concerns
- Shall not have a 50% or greater interest in fee simple or leasehold land suitable for dwelling purposes, as determined by the Director of Housing and Human Concerns, for a period of at least three calendar years prior to the date the application is submitted; and
- Shall not have assets amounting to more than $75,000, including cash (on hand, checking, savings, certificate of deposits, etc.), securities, stocks or bonds. Retirement accounts and pension funds will not be included in determining an applicant’s total assets.
For more information, call Buddy Almeida of the Housing Division Administration office at 270-5746.
***Supporting information courtesy: County of Maui, Housing Division.