FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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What is affordable home ownership?

Affordable homeownership is housing that is set aside for buyers with household income that is 80% or less of the Area Median Income  (AMI) for Barnstable County. Properties will be subject to resale deed restrictions to assure continued affordability.


Who is considered an affordable home buyer?

A buyer who has not owned a home in 3 years. (Certain exceptions apply)*

A buyer who is income and asset eligible.

A buyer who can qualify for a mortgage that complies with the Deed Restriction.

A buyer who is 55 years of age or older.


What affordable housing opportunities are available?

New Construction - Developers who apply for density relief through 40B or Special Permit are required to set aside a percentage of their new homes as affordable.

Resales - When owners decide to sell an affordable home, they are required to sell it to an affordable buyer. We work with these owners to find an eligible buyer. Just like a Realtor does!

Lotteries - We work with housing developers to market and find buyers for the affordable homes within their developments all over Cape Cod and Massachusetts.

Ready to Buy List - We use this list to find qualified buyers to purchase resales.

Lottery Mailing List - We use this list to find qualified buyers for the lottery homes built by the developers.


What are the eligibility requirements to purchase an affordable home?

Applicants must not exceed the current maximum allowable income limits, adjusted for household size. Applicants must not exceed $75,000 in household assets. Net cash value from retirement accounts do apply. 

With certain exceptions, applicants must be a first time homebuyer(s). A first time homebuyer is defined as an applicant whom has never owned or not owned a home for a period of three years prior to the time of application.

*The following are exceptions to this rule:

Displaced homemakers, (an adult who has not worked full-time, full-year in the labor force for a number of years but has, during such years, worked primarily without remuneration to care for the home and family), while a homemaker, owned a home with his or her partner or resided in a home owned by the partner.
 
 A single parent, where the individual owned a home with his or her partner or resided in a home owned by the partner and is a single parent (is unmarried or legally separated from a spouse and either has 1 or more children of who the individual has custody or joint custody, or is pregnant).
 
Households where at least one member is 55 or over.

Households that owned a principal residence not permanently affixed to a permanent foundation in accordance with applicable regulations.
 
Households that owned a property that was not in compliance with State, local or model building codes and that cannot be brought into compliance for less than the cost of construction a permanent structure.


How do homes stay affordable and what are the selling restrictions?

When purchasing an affordable home, you must sign a Deed Rider at closing. This is a legally binding document which states the home stays affordable permanently and outlines the steps taken if you decide to sell.

Deed restrictions are used to ensure the homes are affordable for future buyers and are attached to the property permanently. If you choose to sell your home, there will be a limit on the price you can re-sell it for in the future. Generally, the median income levels at the time you are planning to sell the home will dictate the homes re-sale price. When selling an affordable home in the future, there is a program administrator and Monitoring Agent who will establish the re-sale price for you.


Is pre-approval required to purchase an affordable home?

Yes, pre-approvals are required for all participants in lotteries as well as other resales. Standard sellers also usually require a mortgage pre approval before they will commit to accepting your offer.


What are the mortgage guidelines to purchase an affordable home?

The loan must have a fully amortizing fixed interest rate mortgage.

The mortgage must be from an institutional lender (no mortgages from individuals)

The loan must have a current fair market interest rate. (Not more than 2 percentage points above the current MassHousing Rate.)

The buyer must provide a down payment of at least 3%, 1.5% of which must come   from the  buyer’s own funds.

The loan can have no more than 2 points.

The buyer may not pay more than 38% of their monthly income for housing costs.

Non-household members shall not be permitted as co-signers of the mortgage.

FHA and VA loans are not acceptable for program guidelines.


How does family size effect lotteries?

In general, a household which maximizes the number of bedrooms in the unit receives preference over a single person household in a lottery. However, if all larger households are offered the unit and are unable to purchase, the home is then offered to one person households based on their lottery rank.

For new construction lotteries, homes are distributed based on lottery ranking as well as household size.

Home distribution preferences are:

There is at least one occupant per bedroom.

A husband and wife, or those in a similar living arrangement, shall be required to share a bedroom. Other household members may share but shall not be required to share a bedroom.

A husband or wife shall not be required to share a bedroom if a consequence of sharing would be a severe adverse impact on his or her mental or physical health. Reliable medical documentation is needed to substantiate the adverse impact.

Household may count an unborn child as a household member. All households must submit proof of pregnancy with their application.