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Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance Program in Baker County, Florida

Becoming a homeowner is an exciting stage of life that includes many joys along the way. The Chenoa Fund - formally known as the Chenoa Fund DPA Program - is a nationwide down payment assistance program. It's offered through the CBC Mortgage Agency and is designed to help low and moderate-income individuals achieve affordable and sustainable homeownership.

If you're looking to purchase a home in Baker County, Florida, you may be eligible to utilize the fund to help you achieve your dream of home ownership. Here's a closer look at the program, what it offers, and its benefits.

What is the CBC Mortgage Agency?

CBC Mortgage is committed to providing affordable housing for potential homebuyers nationwide. It specializes in providing 100% financing for loans insured by the FHA.

CBC is also committed to helping borrowers become successful long-term homeowners through counseling and education before and after the home purchase.

Types of Chenoa Fund Programs

The fund's primary feature is how it works with FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans, which we'll discuss later in more depth. In short, the FHA ensures the loan, protecting the lender against loss if they default on a loan.

Using the Chenoa Fund DPA for FHA loans may receive either a 3.5% or 5% down payment. You can apply for assistance on the down payment, closing costs, prepaid items, or a mix of all three. The assistance is in the form of a 10-year term repayable loan or a 30-year term forgivable loan.

To qualify for down payment assistance for FHA loans, borrowers must be eligible for an FHA loan and meet Chenoa requirements, including a minimum credit score of 600.

The beauty of this type of loan is that new homebuyers can build equity for the future without potentially spending years saving for a down payment (while housing prices rise).

Rate Advantage Program

With the Fund Rate Advantage Program, potential homeowners can lock into a competitive mortgage and qualify for a 3.5% down payment assistance loan.

Borrowers must have a minimum FICO score of 640 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 50%. The down payment covers a 10-year term with an interest rate of 8%.

Fund DPA Edge Program

The Fund DPA edge is popular among borrowers with lower incomes because down payment funds are "forgivable".

This program is referred to as a "soft second" mortgage. Borrowers must have a minimum FICO score of 620 and a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less. If you have a higher FICO score, the DTI requirement is higher.

The DPA Edge mortgage loan is forgiven after 36 months if you've made on-time payments on your primary mortgage. On-time payments are those that aren't more than 30 days late.

If you have a late payment, the 36-month period begins anew, giving you another chance to have the loan forgiven.

The income limit of the DPA Edge program is 115% of HUD's Area Median Income in the county where you live. Also, the program isn't limited to first-time homebuyers only.

Fund Edge Repayable Second Product

The Repayable Second Product offers no income limits to qualify for down payment assistance. A minimum 620 FICO score and a debt-to-income maximum of 45% are required. The repayable loan features a 10-year loan with 0% interest or a 30-year loan with 5% interest.

The Down Payment Dilemma

As mentioned, having enough money for a down payment is one of the biggest hurdles homebuyers must clear. While the mortgage industry strives to make homeownership accessible to the American public, meeting down payment requirements isn't easy for everyone.

What is a down payment? It's the part of a home's purchase price you pay upfront and isn't a loan via a mortgage lender.

For example, if you buy a house priced at $100,000, a 3 percent down payment is $3,000. You'd then take out a mortgage for the remaining $97,000.

The housing market crash of 2008 - in which sellers absorbed down payments in exchange for inflated home prices - drove many families into severe mortgage debt. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 was enacted to prohibit such programs but still left a gap for necessary homebuyer funding.

Down payment assistance programs, such as the Chenoa Fund, are highly beneficial to families looking to buy a home but may not have the necessary cash for the down payment. Plus, there are no income limits.

Again, down payment assistance means buying a home sooner rather than saving for a sizeable down payment. It's beneficial in areas where home prices rise while allowing you to take advantage of a good deal or a lull in the market.

How to Find Chenoa Fund Programs

Learning more about and getting started in the Chenoa fund process is easy.

First, you'll need to fill out a form before a fund representative can contact you. The information on the form is only shared with referred lenders, with your approval, and is used to contact you.

Your next step is to consult with a Chenoa representative, who will call or email you. It isn't a "sales" call because the CBC Mortgage Agency only offers down payment assistance and doesn't originate loans.

The representative will explain Chenoa Fund programs and how they work, ask about your goals for buying a new home, discuss down payment assistance, and answer any questions you may have.

The fund representative also will refer you to lending professionals in your area who will help you through the home buying process.

For more information, contact a fund representative at (866) 563-3507. Or you can email them at

A hand holding model house and coins for down payment

Chenoa Fund Benefits

There are several potential benefits of using a Chenoa down payment assistance program, including:

Generous assistance

Unlike Chenoa's fund, not all down payment assistance programs offer 3.5% of the purchase price.

Homebuyer education and counseling

Being a homeowner comes with many responsibilities - not the least of which is taking care of home repairs independently (instead of calling a landlord if you've been a renter).

It also means budgeting for monthly house payments and other expenses that come with home ownership.

Homebuyer education and counseling are vital - especially for first-time homeowners - because it helps empower buyers to experience successful home ownership.

Homebuyer education is a way to help you better understand the process of finding, buying, and owning a home. In some cases, you may be required to complete a course offered by your mortgage lender or if you're participating in a down payment assistance program.

Meanwhile, homebuyer counseling typically happens after you've closed on the home. This type of support occurs during the first 18 months of homeownership and helps to address the questions and concerns you may have after you've taken possession of the home.

Such counseling can help lower the chances of loan defaults while improving homeowner satisfaction.

In short, homebuyer education helps prepare you for home ownership, while counseling provides support once you've taken possession of the home.

Indeed, the Chenoa Fund's generous assistance goes above and beyond other down payment programs.

Stable payments

Renters often experience a rent increase yearly, while landlords often raise the rent when the lease expires. On the flip side, homeowners can expect a predictable mortgage payment - which includes principal and interest - for up 30 years (the term of the loan).

Studies have also shown that it's more affordable to buy than rent in well over half the housing markets in the U.S.

While there are upfront expenses, such as the down payment and closing costs, the Chenoa Fund assists for both in many cases.

Tax benefits

For the vast majority of new homeowners, mortgage interest remains tax deductible. Consult with a tax professional to discuss potential tax benefits for you.

Increased savings

Homeowners typically can accumulate more savings and equity than if they were renting in most cases. That means money for family emergencies, a child's education, retirement savings, and more.

FHA Loans

What is an FHA loan? It's a mortgage loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration with less strict financial requirements than conventional loans. You may still qualify for an FHA loan even if you have a lower credit score, debt, or you've had bankruptcy.

FHA loans feature lower down payment options and lower credit score limits. They're an attractive option - although not limited to - first-time homebuyers.

Flexible FHA loan requirements include a 3.5% down payment, a 580 FICO score, and a debt-to-income ratio as high as 50%.

The main drawback to FHA loans is that they require buyers to pay mortgage insurance premiums annually at the time of purchase.

It's worth noting that the FHA isn't a mortgage lender; it's a mortgage insurer. It provides mortgage insurance to banks, credit unions, and other lenders that make loans that meet FHA requirements.

The Chenoa Fund for FHA Loans

You may receive 3.5% or 5% down payment assistance as a homebuyer by using the Chenoa Fund for FHA loans. The assistance may be used in various ways - toward the down payment, closing costs and prepaid items, or a combination of the three.

As mentioned, FHA loans have looser financial requirements than conventional loans. The requirements include:

  • A 3.5% minimum down payment (up to 5% with Chenoa down payment assistance).

  • A minimum (FICO) credit score of 580 if you make a down payment of less than 10% of the home's value. However, with the Chenoa Fund, the minimum credit scores are higher, depending on the program.

  • A debt-to-income ratio of up to 50%, although most lenders prefer a DTI in the 43% to 45% range.

  • The loans must be for primary residences, not vacation homes or investment properties. You must live in the home full-time.

The Chenoa Fund and Conventional Loans

The Chenoa Fund doesn't currently apply for conventional loans. But when it returns, the fund will offer financial assistance worth 3.5% of the purchase price.

Moreover, the loan also applies - in part - to closing costs, unlike with an FHA loan. But it applies only after the down payment is fully covered.

What is a FICO Score?

The term "FICO" frequently appears when discussing Chenoa funds and other mortgage and down payment assistance programs.

FICO scores are important because creditors often use them to approve an application for a loan (as well as credit cards). In short, it provides a look at how you handled credit in the past.

Other information also is checked, including your income, current debt obligations, and whether you have the means to repay those obligations.

A good FICO score gives borrowers access to lower interest rates, among other benefits.

Utility and landlords may also check your FICO score to determine your deposit or whether they'll accept you as a tenant.

The bottom line is that the Chenoa Fund's Down Payment Assistance program makes it easier for families who would otherwise have difficulty becoming homebuyers.

Moreover, it provides education and assistance for buyers just getting started in the housing market.

Best Restaurants in Baker County, Florida

Whether you live in Baker County or are thinking of buying a home there, you'll have many excellent restaurants from which to choose, including:

  • Sixth Street Steakhouse - One of the country's most popular restaurants, the Sixth Street Steakhouse in Macclenny features steaks, chicken, seafood, country dinners, and more. Its drink menu includes beer and wine. It's located at 1199 Sixth Street.

  • Sam's Crystal River Seafood - Sam's Crystal River Seafood features quality, reasonably priced food that's made-to-order. It has a huge menu at 1152 S Sixth Street in Macclenny, including many seafood specialties. Highlighting the dessert menu are Key Lime pie and peanut butter pie.

  • Laredo's Mexican Restaurant - You'll have a wide variety of south-of-the-border dishes at Laredo's Mexican Restaurant, 698 W Macclenny. It also offers a vegetarian menu.

  • Simply Southern Eatery - If you desire home-cooked meals with a southern twist, then the Simply Southern Eatery at 41 W McIver Avenue in Macclenny is for you. It serves breakfast and lunch, a friendly environment, and their grits are to die for.

  • D.D.'s Sports Grill - D.D.'s Sports Grill serves lunch, dinner, and breakfast with an emphasis on delicious traditional fare. It also offers beer, wine, and spirits. Be sure to check out its location at 364 W Macclenny.

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