The village of Whitehall is looking for first-time homebuyers.
The village received a $25,000 grant from the state of New York to promote first time home ownership within the village and have received some response to their call for applications.
“I have a number of applications out,” said Carol Greenough, who coordinates the program for the village along with Shelter Planning and Development, Inc. out of Queensbury. “So far, we have only gotten three back. We would like some more people to apply and we have $25,000 to spend.”
The $25,000 would be used to help potential first time homebuyers with closing costs, part of a down payment and minor repairs.
Greenough said that the process gives potential first time homebuyers aid throughout the process.
“They are responsible to get their mortgage, having acceptable credit and find the house,” said Greenough. “We are able to help with a down payment and closing costs and minor repairs to a property they might buy.”
Greenough said that thee is no specific timeline to the application process.
“As soon as you can get an application and send it back in to us,” said Greenough on the timeline. “They do have some information that they need to provide for us, but it is not anything that is too difficult to provide.”
Overall, Greenough said that the program helps give those looking to purchase their first home a boost.
“We do not provide a list of properties for sale or anything like that,” said Greenough. “It’s just a program that is here giving a financial boost to someone who wants to own their own home.”
Applicants who are accepted go through a meeting with Shelter Planning and a counseling session, which helps the first time owners-to-be get a grasp of what they will need to do throughout the home buying process.
“From there, we recommend that they contact a realtor and get a lawyer,” said Scott LaMountain, a project manager with Shetler Planning. “They form your team in terms of getting a house. We work together through the process to get to the end.”
“We are trying to fit into the banking and the housing system,” said Shelter Planning president Robert Murray. “We are here as a piece of that system. We work with banks and realtors to help get people in a house where they may not have been able to afford it.”
Murray said that once an applicant receives the grant money from the program, they are locked into a 10-year agreement where they would have to pay back either all or a portion of the grant if they do not remain as the primary homeowner or occupant.
“This is a long term, secure grant,” said LaMountain. “We have a 10-year lien on the property and after the 10-years, it is a grant free and clear. If you move before then, you owe all or a portion of the money back to the village. Usually, this isn’t a problem because the families that are looking for a home just want to stay in the community and own their own home.”
Murray said that the grant to the village will pay for roughly 12-13 units to be taken care of through the first-time homebuyers program.
“We would be happy to do 4-6 units every year,” he said. “We do not have an idea how it will work in Whitehall yet because we don’t know the number of applicants.”
Murray added that if the program is successful, there would be a chance for more funding through the state.
“If we are successful and there is still a need, we can apply and compete for more grant money,” he said. “If you keep the state happy, they will give you more money.”
For more information on the first-time homebuyers program or to get an application, contact the village offices at 499-0871 or Shelter Planning and Development, Inc. at 798-6627.