Category Archives: Purchase-Repair Program

Are You Ready for Homeownership?

Which way leads to the own house

Interfaith Housing Alliance has a fantastic program called Purchase-Repair Homeownership. The program provides affordable homeownership opportunities to families and individuals that wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a traditional mortgage. Do you fit within that category? Do you feel you are ready to take the steps to homeownership? Please reach out to Carol Riggles at 301-662-4225 to gather more information and set up an appointment with her to discuss how IHA can help you achieve your dream!

In the meantime, there are steps you could be taking to be more successful in the home buying process! Maryland SmartBuy is a popular homeownership program which provides a lot of great tips so individuals can be more successful in the process.

To make a successful contract offer when you find your home, you will need to be prepared to move quickly. Having your finances in order could make the difference in submitting a successful contract offer.

Here are some suggestions to follow to put your financial affairs in order:
Set a budget.
Numerous mortgage calculators can help you factor what your monthly payment will be for principal and interest; however, be sure you factor in real estate taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage insurance, if applicable. These costs are paid into an escrow account and distributed by your lender. That total will be your monthly payment, and is what you should build your monthly budget around. Best practice: If you are not currently paying rent, start putting that mortgage payment amount aside monthly

Build your savings. From the moment, you begin to think about buying a house—preferably sooner—start saving money. It will help not only with closing costs and other costs associated with buying a home, but with those unexpected costs that always seem come up along the way. And if they don’t come up, you’ll have additional money in your pocket for a bigger down payment\

Pay off small debts. Paying off credit card debts, car loans, and other monthly installments can make a positive difference in your credit score, which will help dramatically when you seek approval for a mortgage loan. If you can’t pay them off, make sure you pay them on time and consistently. Different lenders may have different criterion, but all will look at your financial and payment history

Get pre-approved. Having a lender review your financial documents, income, and other factors will help you understand how much home you can afford. Having pre-approval for financing also helps sellers evaluate how likely you will be able to execute the offer you have made to buy a home, and thereby their willingness to accept your offer

Take a homebuyer education class. The Maryland Mortgage Program requires loan applicants to have take a homebuyer education course, and lists providers of such courses in each county in the state. Take the course early in the process of your search for a home, so it can help you evaluate homes you are considering for purchase.

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An Affordable Housing Success Story

IHA’s mission is to strengthen communities and improve the quality of life and economic stability for seniors, working families and individuals through the creation and preservation of affordable housing. For Amanda Lambert, an original tenant at Penn Avenue Townhomes in Cumberland, Maryland, these goals have been achieved through homeownership. This is a FANTASTIC success for Amanda and IHA could not be happier to see her achieve this dream.

Pictured below: Amanda and her kids outside of their Penn Avenue Townhome.


Lacy Ames, Special Project Coordinator, had the opportunity to interview Amanda about her experience, her future, and any advice she has for those struggling to obtain affordable housing.

Prior to moving into Penn Avenue Townhomes, Amanda rented a house down the street which was much more expensive and more space than she needed. This left her with virtually no money to cover other routine expenses, let along invest in the future. As a single mother to a little boy named Jameson, Amanda knew she had to find something more affordable.  Penn Avenue Townhomes opened in 2012 and Amanda was one of the first tenants in the community.

During her time at Penn Avenue Townhomes, Amanda was able to begin putting money aside for a home of her own. Amanda stated during our interview that she “didn’t look to stay here forever”. Amanda came in with the mindset that she wanted to prepare for a future home for her family. Working towards this dream, Amanda took advantage of all the resources available. Her son attended community events and various children’s projects. Additionally, Amanda stated she could always rely on the Property Manager and maintenance staff to keep her townhouse well-maintained and running smoothly. She even learned some basic home maintenance along the way. She also utilized resources provided by the Supportive Services Coordinator to learn the specific steps to homeownership.

A piece of advice she has for others who are utilizing affordable housing but would like to own a house of their own in the future, is to be patient. It takes TIME and PERSISTENCE to save enough money. She said she would take notice of the amount of maintenance that would need to be done, even just the need for new lightbulbs, and understand that she would need to save enough money to be ready for all the unexpected, maintenance costs that go along with owning a home. The Cumberland area can be very pricey and owning a home would have been difficult to do years ago as a single mother. However, after 5 years in an affordable townhome, she was able to reach her dreams.

Pictured above: Amanda, her fiancé Michael and their new home

Amanda recently got engaged to her fiancé Michael, who very creatively proposed via  live dance video. Her life has recently been very busy with the engagement, recent birth of her daughter Lily, and of course purchasing the home of her dreams. She is READY and EXCITED to move into her new space, into a place she can call her own.


IHA is honored to have been part of Amanda and her family’s journey. We hope this success story provides those in similar situations the motivation and confidence that their dream of homeownership could come true as well!




Judith Achieved Her Dream!

Judith showing us where her dishwasher will be installed.

Judith showing us where her dishwasher will be installed.

Through IHA’s Purchase-Repair Homeownership Program, Judith was able to find the home of her dreams with a monthly mortgage payment that is lower than what she was paying in rent!

Judith’s new cottage-style home has four bedrooms, one of which will become her painting studio. The home, located just north of Thurmont in Frederick County, Maryland, has a large yard filled with mature fruit-bearing, flower-bearing, and evergreen trees, as well as lovely foundation plants that are well established. Despite its rural location (a requirement to obtain the USDA Rural Development low interest, no down payment mortgage) the home is just a mile or two from Route 15, providing an easy commute to her job as a bus driver for Fort Detrick in Frederick.

Judith is ecstatic to finally be able to find the home of her dreams! She knew exactly what she wanted to buy, but it wasn’t as easy as she had hoped. It seemed every time she found a home that qualified under the program and fit her wants and needs, the home was soon under contract to another buyer. However, Judith would not give up, and with the help of her real estate agents, Peggy Magnanelli and Debbi Lewis, with RE/MAX Results, her perseverance paid off.

IHA’s Vice President of Construction and Development, Ron Morris, will be supervising the repair process. The home needs new siding, the hardwood floors need to be refinished, some bathroom tile work, and a complete interior paint job. Judith has already planned a painting party for this weekend! The cost of the repairs, about $10,000, was included in the mortgage loan from USDA, and Judith doesn’t have to wait until everything is completed before she moves in. In the photo, Judith is showing where her dishwasher will be installed.

In Maryland, this is a brand new type of Self-Help program. IHA is the only nonprofit that has received a technical assistance grant from USDA Rural Development to provide this program in Frederick County, as well as Carroll and Washington counties.

IHA works with program participants to obtain a certificate of eligibility from USDA for a no down payment, 3.125% fixed rate 33-year mortgage. We also provide credit repair and budgeting workshops and one-on-one sessions for those that need help in this area, bundle together all of the documents and verifications required to go out with the application, inspect potential homes for realtors to determine whether a home qualifies for the program, work up a list of required repairs along with a cost estimate, set up and manage supervised bank accounts for the portion of the loan designated to cover the repairs after closing, manage the repair process after closing, and teach new homeowners how to repair and maintain their new home. There is no fee for our services.

Purchase-Repair Homeownership Program

Purchase-Repair Homeownership Program

IHA’s Purchase-Repair Homeownership Program provides affordable homeownership opportunities to families and individuals that wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a traditional mortgage. Program participants receive free technical assistance from IHA through the entire homeownership process, from credit repair and budget counseling, preparation of the loan application, locating and placing an appropriate home under contract, how to repair and maintain their home, as well as on-going post-purchase counseling to eliminate any chance of foreclosure in the future. The entire community benefits by revitalizing neglected communities, reusing infrastructure and preserving existing housing. This program is currently available in Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties in Maryland.