Skip to content

Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance Program in Calhoun County, Florida

Does the thought of owning your home on a tight budget excite you, but you don't know where to start? You are not alone since homeownership seems out of reach for many people. Particularly in Florida, it can be challenging to own a home or even qualify for a home loan with the rising housing prices and high-interest rates.

You can turn to Chenoa Fund and take advantage of its down payment assistance programs. Like other down payment assistance programs, Chenoa Fund seeks to help borrowers settle down payments and closing costs. To be precise, you get a maximum of 3.5 percent of the home's price as a down payment.

However, specific terms and rules apply when considering Chenoa Fund's down payment assistance program. And here's out to get the most out of the program in Calhoun County, Florida.

Understanding the Chenoa Fund

As a countrywide down payment assistance program, the Chenoa Fund seeks to improve the affordability of homes. It mainly targets low to moderate-income buyers and people buying a home for the first time. The key to qualifying for this program is meeting the minimum requirements.

The Chenoa Fund is a product of the CBC Mortgage Agency, a governmental entity with a federal charter. CBC Mortgage Agency established this program to increase sustainable and affordable homeownership opportunities across the country. Its primary focus is low and moderate-income people with good credit.

Ever since the Cedar Band Corporation created the CBC Mortgage Agency in 2013, the entity has been on the mission of promoting economic self-sufficiency. The Chenoa Fund is proof of CBC's dedication to changing the lives of first-time homebuyers or low-to-medium income borrowers. It is available through a partnership with select lenders nationwide except in New York State.

It's important to note that the CBC Mortgage Agency doesn't have any affiliation with federal-backed housing programs like USDA, VA, FHA, or FNMA. Even more, the Chenoa Fund itself is yet to undergo review or approval by FNMA, FHA, or HUD.

Benefits of Utilizing this Fund

Besides offering down payment assistance, the program offers homebuyers pre- and post-purchase counseling to improve their success. With its Borrower Success Program, new homeowners can learn how to navigate the sophisticated world of mortgages.

The program schedules monthly check-ins with its beneficiaries to help with challenges or questions they may have. Through its professional HUD-approved counselors, it manages to be supportive when you need help. You can also choose the means to get the counseling and look back at everything you've learned about homeownership.

Since the Chenoa Fund is free of government funding, it sources most of its funds internally to expand the down payment assistance program and improve homeownership. Initiatives and incentives have been established across low-income neighborhoods to help grow homeownership opportunities.

The Different Programs/Products Under the Chenoa Fund

The Chenoa Fund encompasses three down payment assistance programs you can use when looking to own a home with little finances. Each program has its perks that may apply to your needs at the moment.

With that said, here are the down payment programs under the fund.

Chenoa Fund™ DPA for FHA Loans

With this loan product, you can get either 3.5 percent or 5 percent down payment assistance on an FHA-backed loan. The down payment assistance will help you cater for prepaid items, closing costs, down payment, or a combination of these costs. The lender may structure this solution as a 30-year forgivable or 10-year repayable loan.

Qualifying for an FHA loan is a prerequisite when looking to qualify for the Chenoa Fund DPA for FHA loans. The lender will also require you to meet the minimal product overlays, including a minimum FICO score of 600.

This product can be appealing if your goal is to lock in your first home loan at market-friendly rates. The CBC Mortgage Agency created it to improve the balance between different housing types and the journey of homeownership. As a result, homeowners have the golden chance to build equity for their future years instead of saving up for a down payment in a highly-priced housing market.

The Chenoa Fund DPA Edge

To qualify for this product, you need a minimum FICO score of 620 and a qualifying income that equals to or is less than 115 percent of your area's median income.

Note that the area median income applies to your particular county. And if you earn more than 115 percent of this income, consider the Chenoa Fund Repayable Second Program.

The Chenoa Fund DPA Edge Repayable Second Product

The qualification requirements for this product are pretty similar to the Chenoa Fund DPA Edge. However, the lender won't require you to meet any household income threshold.

Your options for the repayable second product include a repayable second loan at a 5 percent interest rate with a term of five years and a 10-year repayable second loan with a zero percent interest rate. You also have the incentive of paying off the second mortgage at the time you choose without incurring penalties.

The Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance Edge Repayable Second Product understands that it's pretty difficult to save for a down payment for years with a stagnant or low income and rising home prices. It seeks to enable responsible borrowers looking to buy a home to overcome the obstacles related to down payment savings.

Hand holding a model house and stack of coins

Program Guidelines

There are various key points to remember when considering the Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance Program. For starters, the program's second mortgages are issued in all states, New York excluded. Depending on the down payment assistance product, they also come in the form of 3 percent, 3.5 percent, or 5 percent of the home's purchase price.

The DE underwriter of your loan will be in charge of underwriting any appraisal or credit issues before closing. Even more, approved property types under the Chenoa Fund DPA program include attached and detached modular homes, condos, townhomes, PUDs, and SFRs.

And if you are looking to use the program to finance the purchase of a two-unit property, only the Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance for FHA loans product will allow it. Beyond that (three or four-unit properties), the DPA program won't be of any help.

Eligibility Requirements for the Chenoa Fund DPA Program

If you are enrolled in an FHA-sponsored mortgage and wish to sign up for this program, your credit (FICO) score should be 620 or higher. The lender will also require you to meet the eligibility requirements for FHA-backed loans and have a DTI (debt-to-income) ratio of 45 percent or lower.

Provided you are a low or moderate-income earner (median family income in your area should be less than 115 percent) and you are creditworthy, you may qualify for the down payment assistance.

Since the Chenoa Fund focuses on removing obstacles to raising a down payment amount, the program is more favorable moneywise than renting. This is because it allows you to purchase a home for less than the amount you would typically need to rent an apartment.

The Down Payment Assistance Amount

When enrolled in the Chenoa Fund program, you can qualify for a maximum down payment assistance of 3.5 percent of the home price. The down payment assistance is packaged as a repayable or forgivable second mortgage loan.

You can use the DPA assistance with an FHA home loan. It won't work with the Fannie Mae conventional home loan.

However, the DPA program will require you to apply and work with a certified lender. In this case, if you consider enrolling in the Chenoa Fund, a lender will disburse the funds from the program's list of approved lenders.

You can also combine this help with seller concessions to cater to your closing expenses. For the lender to approve this transaction, the concessions must meet FHA-specific guidelines.

How this Fund Works with FHA loans

While all mortgages from the Chenoa Fund program offer down payment assistance of up to 3.5 percent, you must put the funds towards your down payment on an FHA loan.

This is convenient for an FHA-backed loan since it comes with a 3.5 percent down payment requirement. In this case, the loan will clear your down payment while other loan costs (such as closing costs) will be cleared out of pocket.

Knowing how the Chenoa Fund products work with FHA loans is essential. Here's a breakdown of each loan product concerning an FHA-backed mortgage.

Chenoa Fund Rate Advantage

As the most highly-sought loan product under the Chenoa Fund program, this product boasts several perks. It allows you to lock in a favorable rate on your primary FHA mortgage. You also enjoy the 3.5 percent down payment assistance with the loan.

However, it would help if you had a FICO score of 640 with a maximum DTI (debt-to-income ratio) of 50 percent. Your income limit must also be within 135 percent of your area's median income level. The loan comes with a 10-year term at an 8 percent rate.

Chenoa Fund DPA Edge

Considered a "soft second home loan," this product largely favors low-income borrowers. This is because it offers down payment assistance as a forgivable loan, which you don't have to pay back. However, you must meet the 115 percent income limit representing your area's median income level to apply.

You can apply for this interest-free loan with a credit score of 620 or more and a maximum DTI of 45 percent. The good thing is that the DTI requirement can be adjusted to allow a higher ratio if your credit score is higher.

While it takes 36 months to have this loan forgiven, you must make payments on time for this rule to apply. This means ensuring you are less than 30 days late on your loan payments. Any late payments will result in the 36 months being reset, offering you another chance for the loan to be forgiven.

Chenoa Fund Edge Repayable Second Product

If you are looking for a DPA product with zero income limit requirements, look no further because this product has your back. Both the 30-year at 5 percent interest loan and the 10-year at zero interest loan are repayable.

However, you'll need a maximum DTI of 45 percent (that increases with a higher credit score) and a minimum FICO score of 620.

How to Apply for the Chenoa Fund

The application process for Chenoa Fund products is pretty straightforward. You have to approach a participating lender and meet the eligibility requirements.

Since the loan products target low-to-median income earners, the process involves less vigorous scrutiny to ensure more people benefit.

You can email the Chenoa Fund at for a list of certified lenders. Their telephone number, 866-563-3507, can also help you get this information.

Top 5 Places in Calhoun County, Florida to Enjoy a Good Meal

As home to up to 45 of the native habitats of Florida, Calhoun County is a place of cultural diversity. It also boasts vast forests, clear springs, and rivers home to nearly 127 rare species of animals and plants.

Here are the top picks if you are new to Calhoun County, FL, and looking for great spots to enjoy the local cuisine.

Altha Diner

Altha Diner is known for its friendly, southern atmosphere, which you would love in a Floridian restaurant. The diner is also great to enjoy seafood or a cheese badger with your family or friends. The food is reasonably priced and good.

The culinary delights at Altha diner include tasty turnip greens complemented by creamy mash gravy/potatoes and nicely fried chicken. You can also visit the diner for a crispy, light batter, among other delicacies.

Parramore Too

For a seafood restaurant that greatly values customer service, Paramore Too can become your favorite food joint. The inside is very organized and clean, and the staff takes a short while to deliver the food.

You can check out the extensive seafood menu at Parramore Too, together with the steak, sandwiches, and vegetables. There's also dessert, and a nice drink served with or after meals.

El Jalisco Blountstown

If you are into Mexican cuisine, El Jalisco Blountstown should be one of your go-to restaurants in Calhoun County, FL. While El Jalisco operates branches elsewhere across the country, the Blountstown branch boasts delicious recipes as well as flavors of authentic Mexican food. Based on online reviews, the staff is known to be patient and knowledgeable about their work.

El Jalisco is a great family and friends joint with regularly updated menus and prices. It is deeply rooted in the Mexican cuisine culture to give you a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience.

Lindy's Chicken

Take your love for chicken prepared in any way you like at Lindy's Chicken. The catch is that the chicken is cooked fresh the minute you order and that the food joint is open every week. You can also order parts such as fried okra gizzards and liver to go with the whole chicken.

Thanks to its Southern-inspired cooking style, the restaurant has a large following among chicken lovers. The fried chicken complemented with corn fritters is delicious and tasty. You can order other delights like cookies, biscuits laced in honey, macaroni, cheese, baked beans, or mashed potatoes from the eatery.

Hungry Howie's Pizza

As the name suggests, Hungry Howie's Pizza is a great pizza spot in Calhoun County, FL, that you may want to consider.

The staff is quite friendly, the restaurant is clean, and orders are processed promptly to ensure that the pizza is fresh while being served. It's a great place to meet with friends or family to catch up as you enjoy pizza.

Summing up

Gone are the days when finding down payment assistance was quite tricky, leaving many people with no option but to give up on their dreams of becoming a homeowner. Today, the Chenoa Fund addresses this challenge by targeting low-to-income borrowers.

Provided you meet the eligibility requirements, you may qualify for a second mortgage with varying terms and rates.

Find The Right Mortgage

For more than 20 years, Phil have been helping customers achieve their home purchase and refinance goals by providing them with invaluable resources and support.

Schedule a FREE Consultation
Phil Ganz

Subscribe to Get Your First Time Homebuyer Checklist

Sign up for the weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest real estate market trends, loan news, and so much more!