People who own their homes tend to take better care of them, and those who live next to a well-kept home often respond by paying extra attention to their own. Oklahoma City officials hope to use this to the city's benefit by helping people out with down payments.
Qualifying Oklahoma City residents can receive assistance of up to $10,000 for making a down payment on a home in the city's core as part of a program funded by the federal Housing and Urban Development Department. Those with incomes near or less than the area's median income are
Homes that can be bought with the money are in selected areas inside a box bordered by Memorial Road on the north, SE 89 and SW 89 on the south, Meridian Avenue on the west and Bryant Avenue on the east.
Homes owned by community groups are eligible for the $10,000 down payment assistance and come with energy-efficient renovations. A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home owned by a neighborhood association at 110 NW 24 in the historic Jefferson Park neighborhood is an example, with a renovated detached garage, hardwood floors and updated
“The house is very nice,” said Teresa Smith, a planner in the city's Planning Department. “And the proceeds from this house we'll roll into the next
The city can provide assistance of either $3,500 or $6,000 for down payments on other homes.
City officials hope conscientious homeowners, who have to stay in the homes as primary tenants for at least five years if they get help with the down payment, will invest in its appearance and upkeep to help its property values, and that neighbors will take notice.
Prospective homeowners also have to chip in for the down payment, Smith said.
Any city resident with a qualifying income and ability to secure a mortgage lender is eligible, regardless of current or previous homeownership.
“What we've found is that, unless you have some skin in the game, you probably aren't as good of a homeowner or investor,” Smith said.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
For more information on Oklahoma City's down payment assistance program, contact the Community Action Agency at 232-0199 or Neighborhood Housing Services at 231-4663.