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New program a 'dream come true' for some homebuyers

OHFA Dream has less-restrictive qualifications to help get people on a potentially quicker path to home ownership with down payment assistance — not restricted to first-time buyers.
BY TIM FALL, For The Oklahoman Published: July 5, 2014

Mena Ganesan’s “dream come true” — her own house in the Paseo neighborhood — came with a new program appropriately called OHFA Dream.

OHFA is the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, and OHFA Dream has less-restrictive qualifications to help get people on a potentially quicker path to home ownership with down payment assistance — not restricted to first-time buyers.

Ganesan, a mental health therapist who works in Spencer, said she was prequalified to finance a house “in the $150,000 range.”

But the prospect of saving for a down payment left her discouraged. Even after she moved back into her parents’ house in Edmond to save money, “it would have taken me forever” without OHFA Dream, Ganesan said.

Instead, working with Cornerstone Home Lending, Ganesan was introduced to the OHFA Dream program, under which she obtained a 30-year financing package that included a grant for the down payment — 4.5 percent of the $155,000 purchase price.

All in, Ganesan said the loan closed and she was ready to move in for less than $5,000.

Qualification for the Dream program is usually a “seamless” process, with “hundreds of affiliated lenders” well-versed in completing the application and other paperwork, said Diana Rogers Jaeger, OHFA publications director.

OHFA Dream is “perfect for a moderate-income family,” said Holly Mangham, OHFA’s media relations director.

Mangham catalogued the features of the OHFA Dream:

• 4.5 percent downpayment assistance available.

The assistance, in the form of a grant, carries no repayment obligation whatsoever. Dennis Shockley, OHFA executive director, said that 4.5 percent figure will soon change, with financing based on 3.5-percent down-payment grants set to become a feature of OHFA Dream loans.

• Higher income limits.

In Oklahoma County, that stands at $73,680 for a family of one or two persons and rises to $85,960 for a family of three or more. Limits vary by county around the state.

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