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Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance Program in Hamilton County, Florida

Are you looking forward to buying a residential property? You may opt to save cash for the down payment over some years until you attain the home buying mark. However, with increasing home prices and employment uncertainty, saving money for a down payment may be strenuous. Moreover, banks may impose high-end requirements on credit history and income before giving you a mortgage.

Down payment assistance programs can make the difference in such a situation, thus helping you transition from renting to homeownership. One such program is the Chenoa Fund which provides down payment assistance to prospective homeowners.

Here, we highlight how the Chenoa fund works, its benefits, and the application process.

First off, what is Chenoa Fund?

Chenoa is a nationally acclaimed down payment assistance program from the CBC Mortgage Agency.

The CBC Mortgage Agency is a federally owned enterprise under the Cedar Band Corporation. The agency collects revenues from traders to support government functions and social programs such as homeownership.

Under the homeownership program, the CBC Mortgage Agency targets low and moderate-income households with a good credit standing.

Down payment assistance is available for all first-time applicants and homeowners who meet eligibility requirements.

Since its inception in 2013, the Chenoa Fund has boosted homeownership, thanks to over 10,000 successful transactions in America.

How Much Down Payment Assistance Does the Fund Provide?

The CBC Mortgage Agency generally provides up to 3.5% of the total home price as down payment assistance. However, some lenders may consider up to 5% of the property's appraised value if you are eligible.

Depending on the loan product, you can use the Chenoa fund to offset the down payment or the minimum loan investment required.

How Does the Chenoa Funding Program Work?

The CBC Mortgage Agency collaborates with approved lenders across different states to administer funding. Therefore, the first step in your application process involves identifying a suitable lender from the CBC's list of authorized lenders.

An approved lender has the requisite knowledge to walk with you through the underwriting until the final approval of the mortgage.

A key consideration to remember is that if you're applying for an FHA-backed mortgage, you can't use the Chenoa fund to support expenses other than the down payment.

How to Apply for Chenoa Fund Down Payment Assistance

The CBC Mortgage Agency has a simple and smooth application process, thanks to help from approved lenders. Thus, you can identify and talk to a lender to understand if you qualify for the mortgage.

Eligibility Requirements

Chenoa Fund follows the FHA eligibility requirements since it only provides down payment assistance for an FHA-backed mortgage. For this reason, eligibility requirements for the first loan are similar to those of a government-backed mortgage.

However, for the second mortgage, lenders will check your credit score, income level, and debt payment history, among other essential requirements, before issuing the loan.

The principal eligibility requirements include;

Income Limit

The CBC Mortgage Agency has varying income limits depending on where you live and the type of loan product you choose.

Generally, the DPA Edge program has a maximum limit of 115% of the median income within your local county. On the other hand, a fund rate second mortgage requires you to have a minimum income limit of 135% of the median income in your county.

Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio

DTI is an integral component of most loan transactions, and the Chenoa fund is no exception. Usually, lenders will determine your DTI by dividing the total monthly debts by the gross monthly income.

The Chenoa fund has one of the most lenient DTI requirements in the mortgage market. Therefore, with a maximum DTI ratio of 45%, you can qualify for 3.5% down payment assistance.

FICO Score

Lenders use a unique three-digit number known as the FICO score to determine your reliability in paying the mortgage. A lower FICO score may deny you a loan or allow you to borrow at a slightly higher interest rate.

If you want a Chenoa mortgage, a minimum FICO score of 620 will increase your chances of getting the loan, besides negotiating for better terms.

Other eligibility requirements;

  • You need proof of mortgage insurance.

  • You don't need to be a first-time home buyer.

  • There's no minimum borrower fund.

Chenoa Fund Down Payment Products

The fund has two different loan products that only work with FHA-backed mortgages - The fund rate advantage program and the DPA edge program.

The Chenoa Fund Rate Advantage Loan

The loan is, by far, the most popular product among home buyers.

Under this product, you can qualify for 3.5% down payment assistance, besides locking in the current interest rate on the primary mortgage. As a result, you won't worry about fluctuating mortgage rates even if market conditions change.

The fund rate advantage loan has a 10-year payment plan and a flat interest rate of 8% per year.

Chenoa Fund DPA Edge Program

The edge loan product is a soft, forgivable loan customized for lower-income borrowers. The product is forgivable, exempting you from paying back the down payment provided you don't stop paying the primary mortgage.

Under the edge program, you can get 3.5% of the total home value to support your down payment. The support comes as a zero-interest mortgage with a 30-year fixed repayment term.

You can qualify for loan forgiveness on the second mortgage if you make 36 on-time payments on the primary mortgage. However, if you default on your payment within 36 months, the loan forgiveness automatically resets. You'll, therefore, have to restart a new 36-month loan repayment cycle.

If you cannot meet the loan obligation, the CBC Mortgage Agency will require you to pay the whole outstanding balance on the second mortgage at the end of the 30 years.

Does the Chenoa Fund Work With a Conventional Loan?

The CBC Mortgage Agency previously offered down payment assistance for conventional mortgages. However, the agency halted down payment assistance for conventional mortgages until further notice.

Before the suspension, the Chenoa fund worked with conventional mortgages as follows:

Home Ready Mortgages

The fund offered 3.5% down payment assistance for buying property within a low-income dwelling.

The home-ready eligibility requirements include;

  • FICO score not less than 640.

  • Available to first-timers and current home buyers.

  • No income limits are required to get the loan.

  • Requires mortgage insurance premium.

  • Borrowers should attend an introductory home buyer's course.

97% of LTV Mortgages

The product was suitable for prospective homeowners with substantial cash to put forth as a down payment. Generally, borrowers require a minimum loan-to-value ratio of 97% to get a mortgage.

The 97% LTV loan requires the following;

  • Supports only single-unit homes.

  • Minimum FICO score of 640.

  • Requires mortgage insurance premium.

  • Has no income limits.

  • Borrowers need not attend home buyers' education programs.

Miniature person sitting in front of house with pile of coins

Benefits of the Chenoa Fund

The fund doesn't just enable you to own a home but comes with guaranteed benefits not obtainable from conventional mortgages.

Below are the major perks of the Chenoa Fund:

Learn from Comprehensive Counseling Programs

The CBC Mortgage Agency is one of the few loaning institutions that boast free counseling services to prospective home buyers. The agency collaborates with counseling agencies to spearhead home buyer education initiatives.

After receiving down payment assistance, the agency will give you first-hand education on financial management, so you understand the importance of on-time mortgage payments.

Ongoing Customer Support

The CBC Mortgage Agency delivers ongoing support programs to its clients during the first 18 months of purchasing a new home.

Essentially, you'll get professional advice from a HUD-approved counselor on homeownership. In addition, you can ask questions regarding homeownership as you continue paying the loan.

Borrow from a Self-Sufficient Institution

The CBC Mortgage Agency doesn't depend on the federal government to sustain the funding program. Instead, the agency generates its revenue which supports the program throughout.

Thus, you're always sure of getting down payment assistance provided you meet the minimum entry requirements.

How to Pay Closing Costs

Closing costs are extra charges that facilitate the settlement of a residential mortgage. They may include the lender's origination fee, insurance premiums, discount points, escrow closing charges, and prepaid taxes.

The best thing about closing costs is that you can negotiate with the lender on a shared payment plan, so you don't incur hefty closing costs. However, if the lender won't bear a share of the closing costs, you would forfeit 2-5% of the total home value to cater to closing costs.

As mentioned, Chenoa fund down payment assistance does not include the closing costs. Therefore, if you're considering getting the fund, you should find alternative ways to pay the closing costs.

Below are the options you may explore regarding closing costs:

Cash Gifts

You can combine cash gifts with your contributions to cover the closing costs. Since the CBC Mortgage Agency doesn't have stringent stipulations tied to cash gifts, you may obtain gift funds from friends and relatives.

Lender Credits

Some lenders give small credit to help home buyers pay their closing costs. As a result, borrowers pay little cash up front for the closing costs but pay a higher interest rate in the long run.

Although lender credit is a good option, the CBC Agency may not offer it, especially if you're applying for their down payment assistance. It would, therefore, be advisable to seek lender credit from an alternative financial institution.

Seller's Concessions

Seller concessions are unique gifts that property sellers offer prospective home buyers, usually to lower the property's purchase price.

Depending on the loan amount and the seller's preference, they may come in various forms.

For example, if you discover a fault at the time of property inspection, you can negotiate, so the seller pays for the cost of repairs. Sometimes, the seller might offer you a special deal, such as a paid vacation, once you settle in the property.

Although you can ask for a seller concession when applying for an FHA Mortgage, the FHA regulates the limits for seller concessions. For example, if you're seeking down payment assistance for an FHA-backed mortgage, the seller cannot pay more than 6% of the total home price.

Top 5 places to Get an Acai Bowl near Hamilton County, Florida

Hamilton is a County in the North Central portion of Florida. It is the state's 15th county, created from a part of the larger Escambia County. Hamilton County, completed in December 1827, derived its name after Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the US Treasury.

There's never a shortage of activities to do in Hamilton County. However, for many travelers, local sampling cuisine is always a priority.

An acai bowl, for instance, is a popular dish, thanks to the bounty harvest of berries in Florida during winter. The mouthwatering dish contains acai berries and fruit juices, topped with other fruits, nuts, honey, and seeds. It is nutrient-rich and ideal for the hot summer; hence widely available in most commercial outlets within Florida.

Although acai vendors are hard to find within the county, you could find some classic acai bowls in restaurants surrounding the major cities of Jasper, Jennings, and White Springs.

The top acai vendors near Hamilton County include:

Fla Juice & Bowl

The Fla Juice & Bowl is a classic restaurant specializing in dine-in and takeaway food services.

The restaurant serves various dishes, including acai bowls, smoothies, poke bowls, shakes, and light meals. Their acai bowls are incredible, delicious, healthy, and high-quality.

Kwench Juice Café

Are you looking for an ideal way to kick-start your day? Then it would be best if you grabbed an acai dish from the Kwench Juice Café. Here, you'll also find a wide range of smoothies, healthy juices, snacks, and pitaya bowls.

The restaurant also offers fresh veggies dishes, according to clients' requests. At Kwench Juice Café, you'll also meet a friendly staff always ready to serve you.

The Good Berry Acai Bowls

The Good Berry is another famous acai bowl stop shop on Thomasville Road, Tallahassee. The restaurant mainly offers takeaway services on various acai dishes and snacks.

Notably, it is well-known for thrilling acai dishes with premade bases featuring different ingredients. If you love experimenting, you could as well create your unique superfood bowl from assorted ingredients on offer.

The restaurant is in a serene environment with shaded outdoor seating suitable for relaxation.

Soho Juice Co

Soho Juice is a classic quick-service café in Lake Mary specializing in plant-based foods. The restaurant is well-known for healthy, gluten-free, vegan dishes or superfoods. The acai bowl is an all-time favorite for many town dwellers who frequently pass by the restaurant for a delicious taste.

The staff at Soho Juice Co is friendly and super quick, ensuring you get your bowl within five minutes of your request.

Big Island Bowls

The Big Island Bowls is a tropical-themed restaurant featuring a menu of acai bowls, poke, and grain bowls. Since its inception, the restaurant in Newberry has been a household name for whole fruit smoothies, besides the usual acai bowls.

Here, you'll find dine-in and takeaway services depending on your needs and schedules. You'll dine in a beautiful atmosphere while being served by some of Newberry's most exemplary and professional staff.

The restaurant is equally spacious, with extra outdoor space to accommodate a large team if you come with your family.

Is It Worth Getting?

Not having sufficient funds to pay your down payment is no longer a reason to put off your homeownership ambition. Despite the skyrocketing home prices, you could still afford your choice home, courtesy of down payment assistance from the CBC Mortgage Agency.

The program comes with incredible perks not available in a conventional mortgage. First, you'll get up to 3.5% of the proposed property value to settle down payment costs.

Moreover, you can choose between the fund rate advantage that allows you to lock in your interest rates and the DPA edge program that exempts you from paying back the funds if you remain faithful to the primary mortgage obligation.

Another benefit of the program is the ongoing support for managing your finances during the first few years of taking the loan.

Finally, the program is highly reliable and sustainable because the CBC Agency doesn't depend on federal government support to fund its lending program.

Contact an approved lender with experience in down payment assistance programs if you're wondering where to begin.

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