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Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance Program in Escambia County, Florida

Are you enthusiastic about owning a home but lack the funds required to buy the property? Worry no more; a down payment assistance program is all you need to settle the down payment and closing costs.

One such program is the Chenoa Fund which can cover up to 3.5% of the total home value. And what’s more, you need not be a first-time buyer to qualify for the Chenoa Fund.

Here’s what you should know about the Chenoa Fund and how it works. Plus, you’ll learn how to apply for down payment assistance under the program.

What is Chenoa Fund?

It is an acclaimed financial assistance program administered by the CBC Mortgage Agency, a federal government entity.

The program aims to increase homeownership while focusing on the creditworthiness of prospective buyers. Typically, the fund is available to low-income households and first-first-time home buyers.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get down payment assistance if you don’t belong to the abovementioned groups. Meet the minimum eligibility requirements and be on the way to owning a home.

Income Limits

The CBC Mortgage Agency has a defined income limit to get the Chenoa Fund. However, like other loans, different lenders may have varying limits depending on your location.

For example, if you’re applying for the Fund rate loan, your income level should be at least 135% of the median income level within your locality.

On the other hand, the DPA Edge program and the repayable second loan require a maximum of 115% of the median income of the county you live in.

Minimum FICO Score

The FICO Score is a three-digit number created by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) to guide lenders in making critical decisions.

Lenders can determine if you’re likely to repay your Chenoa Fund loan based on your credit information and FICO score. Ultimately, the FICO score will determine how much down payment assistance you’ll get, your loan interest rate, and your repayment period.

Generally, a FICO Score of 620 or more increases your chances of negotiating for better terms if you want down payment assistance for an FHA loan. However, if you’re applying for a conventional mortgage, you may need a score of 640 or more.

Down Payment Assistance Amount

Down Payment assistance under the program is usually 3.5% or 5% of the home’s sales price or appraised value depending on which is lower. The CBC Mortgage Agency usually rounds off the percentage to the nearest whole dollar when calculating the down payment.

The down payment assistance settles the minimum investment required, prepaid items, closing costs, or all three financial obligations in purchasing a home.

Benefits of the Fund

The Chenoa Fund provides many benefits besides home ownership. For instance, if you’re buying your first home, you’ll get free counseling services to enhance your success in using the funds for homeownership. As a first-time buyer, you’ll enjoy pre and post-purchase counseling services during the first year of homeownership.

Another benefit of the program is the comprehensive customer support available to mortgage beneficiaries. The CBC Mortgage Agency works with approved counselors who organize monthly check-ins with homeowners. As a result, you’ll have a platform to ask questions and seek support for challenges arising from homeownership.

The Chenoa Fund is also self-sufficient and reliable since it doesn’t depend on government subsidies to carry out essential functions. The fund is adequate to support down payment assistance and homeownership programs countrywide. So, if you’re looking for a reliable loan to offset your down payment, the Chenoa Fund would be ideal.

Chenoa Fund Down Payment Products

Many loan products are under the Chenoa fund, including forgivable loans and second mortgage products. You can benefit from any loan product depending on your unique housing requirements.

Chenoa Fund loan products include;

Chenoa Fund Rate Advantage Program

The program is the most preferred and successful product under the Chenoa Fund. The fund rate program grants you up to 3.5% down payment assistance and a locked-in interest rate on your present mortgage.

To qualify for the loan, you need a minimum FICO score of 640 and a maximum DTI of 50%. The income limit for the program depends on where you live, although it shouldn’t exceed 135% of your county’s median income level.

Additionally, you’ll have a 10-year loan repayment term and a fixed interest rate of 8% for your loan.

Chenoa Fund Repayable Second Home

Do you have an existing mortgage and looking forward to a second mortgage with down payment assistance? Then the Chenoa repayable second loan is all you need.

You won’t battle accompanying income limits to obtain down payment assistance on this loan product. Instead, you’ll enjoy a 10-year loan term with zero interest or 30 years at a 5% interest rate above the first mortgage.

To qualify for a repayable second loan, you need a minimum FICO score of 620 and a maximum DTI of 45%.

Chenoa Fund DPA Edge

The DPA Edge is a forgivable loan available to second-time mortgage borrowers. It is a popular option for low-income buyers since it doesn’t require you to pay back the down payment assistance.

The DPA Edge program requires a minimum FICO score of 620 and an income limit of 115% of your county’s median income.

If your DTI is 45% or less, you can qualify for an interest-free mortgage without monthly payments under the program. However, if you wish to enjoy the benefits of the forgivable loan, you should keep making prompt payments on your current mortgage.

Below are two scenarios that may play out in a forgivable loan program:

3.5% Down Payment Assistance

Here, you should make at least 36 consecutive on-time payments on your first FHA mortgage. Once you meet the minimum forgiveness requirements, you can request and obtain forgiveness on your Chenoa loan.

The forgiveness period will automatically reset if you make late payments on the first mortgage or suddenly end if you refinance the first mortgage within the first 36 payments.

5% Down Payment Assistance

Here, you’ll qualify for loan forgiveness if you make at least 120 on-time payments on the first FHA mortgage. Moreover, you should have no more than 60 days of late payments on the same FHA mortgage.

Unlike the 3.5% down payment assistance, your forgiveness period doesn’t reset if you have late payments on the first mortgage. Instead, you’ll continue enjoying the zero interest rate and no monthly payments for the remaining loan term.

However, the down payment forgiveness automatically ends if you refinance the existing mortgage during the first 120 payments on the loan.

How the Program Works With FHA Home Loans

The CBC Mortgage Agency doesn’t solely provide funding to home buyers. Instead, the agency collaborates with approved mortgage companies to provide the funds under strict FHA guidelines. So, before you get the fund, you must first choose a suitable mortgage lender from the CBC Mortgages’ list of approved lenders.

Approved lenders under the program boast a delegated underwriting authority from the FHA. They can guide you through combing your down payment with an FHA mortgage.

The most critical aspect of FHA support is that you can only use the down payment assistance to offset your down payment and not closing costs.

House model on top of stack of coins

How Does the Chenoa Fund Work With a Conventional Loan?

The Chenoa Fund wasn’t solely for FHA mortgage applicants but conventional loans. Although CBC Mortgage Agency temporarily halted down payment assistance for conventional loans, prospective buyers can still look forward to the program when it returns.

Before its suspension, the fund provided up to 3.5% of the total home price. Unlike FHA support, traditional mortgage down payment assistance could cover closing costs provided you fully settled the down payment.

The DPA assistance supported two conventional loan products from Fannie Mae, namely;

Home Ready Loan

The fund offered down payment assistance for owning a home in a low-income community. The eligibility criteria for the loan were as follows;

  • You need not be a first-time borrower.
  • FICO score of 640 or more.
  • No income limits for homes within the low-income communities.
  • No minimum borrowing fund.
  • Complete a home buyer course before closing the loan application.
  • You require mortgage insurance.

The Standard 97% LTV Loan

The loan product is ideal if you don’t meet the criteria for a home-ready loan, yet you can afford a larger down payment to buy a home. As the name suggests, you need an LTV value of at least 97% to get the loan.

Other eligibility criteria include;

  • FICO score of 640 or more.
  • The property should be a single-unit home.
  • You need mortgage insurance.
  • No income limits.
  • No minimum borrowing fund.
  • No home buyer education before closing.

How to Apply for Chenoa Down Payment Assistance

The loan application process is pretty simple, thanks to the many available Chenoa-approved lenders. You can apply for the loan in three simple steps as follows;

  • Register Your Mortgage - You can register your loan request by completing an online application on the Chenoa Fund website. Once you complete the loan registration, you can print out a registration form with a locked-in rate. At this point, the CBC Mortgage agency will send the relevant mortgage disclosures for closing the loan.

  • Loan Closing - The loan is ready for closing once the lender receives closing instructions from the CBC Mortgage Agency. Usually, the lender will have three days to contact the CBC Mortgage Agency before the closing date.

  • Review for Compliance - The CBC Mortgage Agency will review your loan to ascertain it meets all eligibility requirements, including FICO score, income limits, and DTI ratio. In case of deficiencies, you must clear them before obtaining the loan.

Top 5 Places to Get an Acai Bowl in Escambia County, Florida

Escambia is a suburban county in Southwestern Florida. The county, named after the Escambia River, dates back to 1821 when European-American settlers incepted it.

Since then, Escambia County has been a famous dwelling, thanks to rich historical, cultural, and natural offerings. In addition, the county’s temperate climate makes it an ideal destination for outdoor activities around the year.

One of the incredible delicacies in Escambia is the acai bowl. The fresh fruit dish originated from Brazil but has become a favorite dish among visitors and residents.

The fresh fruit dish offers endless possibilities of taste, color palettes, and ingredient options to unwind in the summer heat.

Below are the top 5 places to get an acai bowl in the county:

SuperBowls & Smoothies Restaurant

The superfood-themed restaurant opened its doors to the public in February 2020 and has since been a famous brand in the sector.

The restaurant, located on East Nine Mile Road, Pensacola, serves various cuisines, including acai, green, and smoothies free of added sugar.

For a mouthwatering taste of acai bowl, you can try varieties such as barely coconut, pineapple berry bliss, paradise passion, and tropical paradise, among others.

SuperBowls & Smoothies restaurant is open throughout the week, from 10 am to 7 pm. If you prefer takeaway services, you can order your request online or call the restaurant directly via phone. In addition, there are discount offers for first-time buyers, students, and veterans.

City Bowls South

The City Bowls South restaurant has some of the most refreshing acai bowls and smoothies in North Florida. You’ll find gourmet acai, green fruit bowls, and pitaya bowls here. You could also create your unique acai bowl using an array of selected fruits on the menu.

The restaurant is situated in Gulf Breeze and is open from Monday to Saturday every week. If you want takeaway services, worry not. The restaurant has a food truck dedicated to delivering takeaway dishes across Pensacola, Navarre, and Pace towns.

The restaurant also boasts fast service, clean, ultramodern facilities, and a fantastic vibe with the customers. Moreover, the staff is friendly and always ready to listen to your needs when you place an order.

Tropical Smoothie Café

The Tropical Smoothie is a health-conscious restaurant serving sandwiches, custom-made smoothies, and acai bowls in Pensacola. The restaurant is open every week, usually from 7 am.

Tropical Smoothie is a clean, well-maintained restaurant with friendly staff. In addition, you’ll have a wide selection of menu options, including veggies, sandwiches, fruits, and fresh fruits.

Worry not if you’re pressed for time because you can order your package through the Tropical Rewards App.

Bear Fruit Bowls and Coffee

The Bear Fruit Bowls and Coffee restaurant is situated at 41 Fort Pickens Road in Pensacola Beach. The restaurant opened its doors to the public in March 2002 to achieve a healthy lifestyle through its delicious dishes. You can walk into the restaurant any week from 7 am to 5 pm.

The restaurant boasts proximity to a beachfront ideal for a retreat with your family and friends. You can enjoy a lovely view of the coastal strip while on the sandy beach.

You can order a healthy acai bowl, an organic roasted coffee, or a mouthwatering fruit dish during your retreat. The staff at the restaurant is equally friendly and ready to listen to all customers’ requests.

Frozen Ropes Yogurt, Acai Bowls, & Juices

Are you looking for a family-friendly restaurant to quench your craving for an acai bowl? You can make a stopover at the Frozen Ropes restaurant along Mile Road, Pensacola.

The restaurant serves fabulous acai bowls alongside freshly squeezed juices. In addition, you’ll find some frozen yogurt to help you battle the summer heat.

The restaurant is one of the few in Pensacola that offer free samples of juices for its clients. To crown it all, you’ll meet a friendly staff dedicated to serving your dietary needs and tastes.

Final Thoughts

Commercial lenders usually require a 20% down payment and other eligibility criteria when applying for a mortgage.

However, if you’re cash-strapped, raising money for the down payment may be tricky, and that’s where the Chenoa Fund can help.

The fund offers a great relief because it enables you to offset the down payment, hence qualify for a mortgage. As a result, you can buy your dream home provided it meets the property requirements of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

If you’re wondering how to get funding for the down payment, contact a Chenoa-approved lender near you.

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