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County is now taking applications for its first-time homebuyers program

The Maui News

The County of Maui currently is accepting applications for its First-Time Home Buyers Down Payment Assistance Program.

The program was established to assist low- to above-moderate income first-time homebuyers with down payment and/or closing cost assistance. The county’s Housing Division will administer the program. Applicants will be selected through a lottery drawing process.

Applications are available online at mauicounty.gov/fthbapp. Those unable to access an online application may call 270-7351 or go to the Housing Division office at 2065 Main St., Suite 108, Wailuku, to request further assistance.

A credit preapproval (not pre-qualification) letter from a mortgage lender that is authorized to do business in Hawaii must be turned in with the completed application. The credit preapproval letter must be for the applicants listed on the application. No application will be accepted without the preapproval letter.

The completed application and credit preapproval letter must be received by 4:30 p.m. Aug. 30.

The lottery drawing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 7 at the J. Walter Cameron Center auditorium at 95 Mahalani St. in Wailuku.

All applications will be drawn during the lottery. The applicants of the first 66 cards drawn will be notified that they must complete and sign formal applications to submit with signed tax returns for the last three years, which must be returned within 10 calendar days of the date of the letter.

Applicants also will be asked to complete a short survey to help the county collect data about housing needs. The remaining applicants will be alternates prioritized in the order that their names were drawn should any of the first 66 applicants fail to meet their obligations or grant qualification criteria or should additional funds become available.

Program assistance will be made available to eligible applicants in the form of a grant for eligible properties within Maui County.

The following are basic provisions of the First-Time Home Buyer’s Grant Program:

• The maximum grant amount under this program shall not exceed $30,000. The maximum assistance amount to any one borrower shall not exceed 5 percent of the purchase price or appraised value of the residential property or the amount stated above, whichever is less. The actual amount of assistance will be determined by demonstrated need on a case-by-case basis.

• Eligible properties include the following: single-family detached dwelling; multifamily dwelling; residential lot with plans to construct a single-family detached dwelling; homestead leasehold property under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

• Grants will be secured by a lien document in favor of the county and shall run in perpetuity.

• Grants must be repaid if one of the following events occurs: grantee refinances the first mortgage loan and takes cash out; grantee no longer uses the property as the borrower’s principal residence; or grantee sells the property.

To qualify for a grant, the applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria:

• Be a resident of Maui County at the time the application is submitted; be a U.S. citizen or resident alien; be at least 18 years of age.

• Agree to occupy the eligible property to be purchased as the applicant’s principal residence.

• For the taxable year preceding the application and for the duration of the application process, have a household income of 140 percent or less of the county’s median annual income (currently $117,320).

• Shall not have a 50 percent or greater interest in fee simple or leasehold land suitable for dwelling purposes, as determined by the director of Housing and Human Concerns, for a period of at least three calendar years prior to the date the application is submitted.

• Shall not have assets amounting to more than $75,000, including cash (on hand, checking, savings, certificate of deposits, etc.), securities, stocks or bonds. Retirement accounts and pension funds will not be included in determining an applicant’s total assets.

For more information, contact Jessica Crouse of the Housing Division Administration office at 270-1741.

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