Neighborhood Lift

The NeighborhoodLift is a collaborative program between NeighborWorks America ( a nonprofit organization), Wells Fargo Foundation and Fargo Bank, N.A. The program is designed to assist home buyers in areas that were worst hit by the financial crisis in making down payments and getting home buyer education. The program was developed in 2012.

Depending with the market, the amount of down payment varies. The NeighborhoodLift program is available for families that earn 120% or lower than the median income of the area after adjustments for household size have been done. However, the funds acquired through the program cannot be used in the purchase of bank owned properties that Wells Fargo Premier Asset Services manage.

Despite the fact that Wells Fargo is the main sponsor of the program, prospective home owners can seek financing for the remainder of the home purchase funds through qualified lenders that accept down payment through the program.

So how does one qualify for this program? For one to qualify for the program, one must seek approval from a participating lender for a first mortgage loan. One should also have a sales and purchase agreement for a home. Before the prospective buyer gets the funds, he or she should complete education on home buying from an approved organization.

For prospective borrowers, household income should not exceed 120% of the median income of the area after adjustment for family size. At the time of closing, a person will not be allowed to own another home. If the person currently owns one, it should be sold before getting the funds. The NeighborhoodLift program is only available to people who will use the home as primary residence, and the home should lie within the defined areas.

For the owner occupied homes, the funds are given as a 5 year forgivable loan. Provided that the owner resides in the home, the loan will be forgiven at 20% every year. If the property is transferred or is no longer the principal home of the owner, the remaining funds will be due immediately.

Wells Fargo Down Payment Assistance Program

With the recent economic crisis in our nation, came a decline in home ownership. People who would once take out mortgages and commit to being a part of a neighborhood become transient renters, who are much less likely to contribute to creating a stable community in their area. This is not a desired outcome for most families, but with difficulties in securing a mortgage combined with the near impossible task of finding sufficient money for a deposit, there seemed to be few options. However, the Wells Fargo down payment assistance program may offer hope for some home buyers.

The Wells Fargo company has designated funding for a large number of major cities for their NeighborhoodLIFT program. Essentially, the program targets areas that are traditionally made up of low to mid-range income housing, and aims to secure home-owners in these areas to benefit the families and the communities they purchase property in. There are criteria for entry into the program. Applicants need to meet a certain level of income, which has to be at or less than 120% of the median wage in the area. In Denver, for example, that would be around $92,000 total annual wage for the family. The grant applicants will need to have pre-approval for home financing. There are mandatory home-buyer education seminars, teaching responsible home ownership and financial management. While its not necessary to be a first time home buyer, you must have sold -or be in the process of selling- all other properties at the time of application. Should an applicant meet these criteria, they have the ability to apply for grants from $15,000 to $30,000 to provide the initial deposit.

The down payment assistance program ensures that communities have fixed residents in place, as another part of the criteria is a commitment to stay in the home for 5 years. It has received backing and applause from local councils and governing bodies. More than $5 million has been invested by Wells Fargo. Taking the housing crisis into consideration, it is in the best interests of a company who specializes in financial services if people are able to afford mortgages. If nobody is able to buy houses, the company will suffer far greater financial losses; and they will financially gain over the long term if home-owners borrow from them. Coupled with the mandatory classes to educate borrowers on how to avoid financial difficulties, the finance group helps protect their investment while building strong communities. The mutually beneficial program also gains the company excellent publicity and a chance to team up with governing bodies in the area.

While funding has run out for some areas, many more still have opportunities available for applicants who meet the criteria. The grants help on a personal level by assisting families to buy property, while helping ensure that strong communities are being built. This intelligent program on offer from a major financial institution is helping build neighborhoods and ensuring that a decline in the housing market is halted and hopefully with time, reversed.