The State of Vermont, Burlington, and many other cities and town around the state recognize a shortage of affordable housing in Vermont, including a shortage of affordable homes for sale. To help alleviate this problem, many homeownership programs are available to help with the purchase of a home. Below are some programs worth looking into. If you know of a program not listed here, please contact me so that I can include it in this list.
$400 First-Time Buyer Down Payment Assistance
Graduates of the NeighborWorks® HomeOwnership Center’s workshop are eligible for $400 towards closing costs if I am able to help them find a home in Chittenden County. Call Colin Bloch, the HomeOwnership Center Director, at (802) 660-0642 for more information on my down payment assistance program.
HomeOwnership Center www.getahome.org
179 S. Winooski Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
Many people find the process of purchasing a house intimidating and are thus reluctant to take the first steps toward homeownership. The HomeOwnership Center offers 8 hour home-buyer education workshops several time a month. The workshop costs $50, but completing the course enables you to apply for other financial aid programs, and the workshop tuition is refunded when you buy a home. The workshop covers the steps taken when buying a home including credit scores, down payment and closing costs, loan applications, budgeting, the home search process, making an offer, home inspections, and more.
Burlington Community and Economic Development Office
Brian Pine, Assistant Director for Housing & Neighborhood Revitalization
Todd Rawlings, Housing Program Coordinator
Tracey Schoonmaker, Housing Program Specialist
CEDO, the Community and Economic Development Office for the city of Burlington, offers several programs for Burlington home buyers and home owners including rehabilitation loans, grants for exterior paint, and their down-payment assistance for buyers of duplexes. Their programs change over time so you may want to check their site occasionally to see if any new programs are available. Contact Todd Rawlings at the above number for more information about the duplex purchase program. CEDO is also a good resource if you own a business in Burlington.
Vermont Housing Finance Agency www.VHFA.org
Offered through a number of different participating lenders, VHFA provides several different loan programs like MOVE–Mortgages for Vermonters, and the Cash Assistance Rate Option. Their HOUSE–Homeownership Using Shared Equity program works with other non-profit organizations like the Burlington Community Land Trust (BCLT). VHFA programs are designed for home buyers with low and moderate incomes, so income limits and house purchase-price limits apply to most VHFA loan programs.
Rural Development Housing Programs www.rurdev.usda.gov/vt/
Except for Rutland, Burlington and a few other towns in Chittenden County, the Rural Development Housing programs are available throughout Vermont. The Single Family Housing Guarantee Program provides local lenders repayment guarantees should the buyer default on their loan. This program allows 100% financing which eliminates the need for a down payment. Their Direct Single-Family Housing Loans are designed for low-income families. More information about these programs, sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture, can be found at the HomeOwnership Center.
Burlington Community Land Trust www.bclt.net
179 South Winooski Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
The BCLT provides a number of affordable housing opportunities, including grants to help with the purchase of a Burlington home. To take advantage of their programs you must attend a HomeOwnership Center workshop. Grants of $20,000 and more are available to help purchase homes costing no more than $230,000. BCLT may help with a home purchase by purchasing the land the home sits on and then leasing it the back to the home buyer. In turn, when you decide to sell, they may request the right of first refusal or put limits on the amount you can resell your home for. BCLT also provides shared-housing and cooperative housing opportunities like those of the Hazelnut Hill Co-housing Community.
18 Pearl Street
Burlington, VT 05401
As Vermont’s only Community Development Credit Union, Opportunities offers several grant programs through down payment assistance to eligible applicants, including special programs for low-to-moderate income Vermonters. Their signature counseling-based lending provides homebuyer education throughout the home purchase process. They also offer tailored services, including their unique Tracker Loan, to help individuals develop a down payment savings plan, as well as to build or rebuilt credit. They work to find the best loan to fit their borrowers’ specific needs, including VHFA and Fannie Mae loans.