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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

/articleid/4985160/1/pictures/2846504">Photo - Mena Ganesan's home, in the Paseo neighborhood, has an expansive front porch. <strong>PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND - 
Mena Ganesan's home, in the Paseo neighborhood, has an expansive front porch. PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND - PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND

• Higher qualifying home price.

Program participants can qualify for a Dream loan on houses contracted up to $271,050. Shockley said that figure accommodates buyers in the higher-priced Tulsa and Oklahoma City markets; the average price statewide of a house in the program is closer to $95,000.

• No geographical “target” areas.

Unlike loans restricted to certain development zones, the OHFA Dream program can be applied to any house, anywhere.

• No first-time buyer requirement.

Under the new program, families trading up from a starter house get the same incentives as those buying a first house.

In just such a case, Valerie and Mitch Trammell, of Stillwater, learned that OHFA Dream could provide a down payment toward what she called their “forever home.”

The Trammells, who have a 2-year-old daughter and careers in Oklahoma City, are planning to use the OHFA Dream program to upgrade from the Stillwater house they bought as newlyweds and resettle in Edmond.

“Down-payment assistance would help us reach our goals of building a home to fit our growing family while staying fiscally responsible,” Valerie Trammell said.

Also to qualify for OHFA Dream, buyers must show a credit rating of 640 or higher, a sign that underwriting standards remain more strict than before the tightening that began in 2008.

Ganesan’s house, built in 1920, is a renovated three-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with an updated kitchen. Its 1,800-square-foot plan feels spacious and inviting, with massive living space between a formal living room and den/family room, with a separate dining nook off the kitchen.

A front porch and rear deck complete the house, opening it up to neighbors and passersby in the famously walkable Paseo neighborhood.

“This is a dream that I’ve had for a long time,” Ganesan said on her front porch swing. “A lot of girls, I think, think about, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to get married.’ I always thought about buying a home.”

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