Grants help Renters become Buyers

As Orlando-area rents continue to climb, Bank of America launches five-year, $5 billion affordable home ownership initiative.

This major bank is offering a pair of home-buyer grants that could help low and moderate income residents make the leap to ownership.

The effort provides eligible home buyers a down payment grant of up to $10,000 and a separate lender credit of up to $7,500 that can cover one-time fees or be used to buy down the loan’s interest rate.

Neither grant has to be repaid.

Caroline Isern, Southeast sales performance manager for Bank of America, said the bank’s community surveys showed covering up-front costs is consistently the biggest hurdle for would-be home-buyers, especially those paying high rents.

“They don’t have a chance to set aside enough to build toward that down payment”, she said. “This is about closing that wealth gap, and home ownership is one of the most powerful ways to do so.”

The Orlando metro area was chosen for the program’s roll-out, because of its large housing affordability gap, economic diversity and the number of potential first-time home buyers. The program, however is not limited to first-time buyers.

At the national Center for Responsible Lending, a nonpartisan research and consumer advocacy organization, there was cautionary praise for the plan. “Overall, we’re really glad to see a major bank is devoting resources to down-payment assistance”

For more information on the Bank of America programs, go to bankofamerica.com.

For information and advice on home buying, see hud.gov/topics/buying_a_home.

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