The Home Buyer's Korner

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November 16th, 2014

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Down Payment Assistance


Wells Fargo is offering $15,000 in down payment assistance to 235 Cincinnati home buyers who are willing to purchase a residence, as part of a program the bank and the city hopes will revitalize neighborhoods hit hard by the recession the 1% helped to create.  The programs are called NeighborhoodList and was developed in response to the 2012 settlement with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s a effort between Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and NeighborWorks America, an independent nonprofit organization to offer soft seconds, as part of Well Fargo’s required actions for it abusive behavior inflicted on the 99%, that contributed to the real estate bust beginning in 2008.

Although Wells Fargo is required to sponsor NeighborhoodLIFT programs, you can seek mortgage financing for the remaining balance of a home purchase from any qualified lender who accepts the NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance program.

In light of new allegations coming out about the big banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and their bad behavior inflicted on you the 99%, this blogger hopes all its readers would seek out local community banks and small shop mortgage lenders to participate.

The NeighborhoodLift program is designed to provide down payment assistance and homebuyer education programs across the county, most impacted by the financial crisis big banks like Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. (formerly GMAC) created. The Neighborhood LIFT is available to home buyers who qualify for a mortgage and income eligibility standards.

The income eligibility requirement is 120 percent or less of your census tract area’s  median income. For example, a single people in Cincinnati who make $57,000 or less or a family of four with an $82,000 annual income qualifies.

The $15,000 is a forgivable loan or what is more commonly referred to as a soft second and is forgiven as long as the home buyer lives in the home they purchase for five years. Twenty percent of the loan is forgiven for each year the buyer lives in the home. An additional down payment may be required if homebuyers have liquid assets of more than $20,000, but with millennials struggling with paying off student loan debts and stagnant wages in America, whose got $20,000 laying around these days?

Although Wells Fargo calls it an unprecedented event,” said by J.R Huber, area manager for Wells Fargo in Southwest Ohio, the banks an others like it are lucky that none of its executive have never faced jail time for the theft.

About $170 million in down payment grants will be distributed nationwide, with $4.2 million being doled out in Cincinnati, minus administrative costs. Well Fargo bank officials, Mayor John Cranley, the Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati and NeighborWorks America announced the programs recently at Cincinnati’s City Hall recently.

The program limits home buyers to homes within Cincinnati city limits, but does not limit which neighborhood in which they choose to live. Home buyers must take a home owner education course and have a purchase contract within 60 days of being approved for the grant. The program will have a two-day event Nov. 21 and 22 at Duke Energy Convention Center’s ballroom. Registration and more information are available at

If you are a would-be first time home buyer or a Cincinnati resident who hasn’t owned home in the past three years and needs assistance coming up with a down payment I strongly encourage you to attend the event and participate in what is owed by Well Fargo, as part of its settlement with the U.S Justice Department.

To find out if funds are available for the $25 Billion Settlement in your city Wells Fargo has been required to share information on its website


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