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Long Beach’s First-Time Homebuyer Program: Your Path to Homeownership

Long Beach’s First-Time Homebuyer Program: Your Path to Homeownership

Jeanette Lem

Embarking on the journey to homeownership is a momentous step towards building a stable future. The First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program offered by the city of Long Beach assists low- and moderate-income families, aiming to make the dream of homeownership a reality. The city has workshops for individuals interested in learning more about the application process, with the next one occurring Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Long Beach Energy Resources Auditorium (RSVP here to attend). In this article, we’ll go over some of the program’s guidelines, eligibility criteria, and the steps involved in applying for this opportunity.

Program Overview

Through the First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, eligible first-time buyers can receive grants of up to $20,000 to cover down payments and closing costs. The goal is to support families who have historically been underrepresented in homeownership, thereby fostering a foundation for multi-generational wealth.

Grant Awards and Eligibility

Grant recipients have the flexibility to allocate the funds towards essential costs, including the down payment, non-recurring closing expenses such as loan, title, and escrow fees, as well as loan points or fees to lower mortgage interest rates. The grant amount can reach up to $20,000 or the actual expenses, whichever is less. It’s important to note that this award functions as a grant, not a loan or mortgage service, and will be disbursed directly to escrow.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the program, applicants must meet several key qualifications:

  1. Income Criteria: The gross annual household income of all residents 18 years or older should not exceed 150% of the Los Angeles County Area Median Income (AMI) adjusted for household size. This calculation adheres to guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  2. First-Time Homebuyer Status: Applicants must not have owned a principal residence in the past three years, according to HUD’s definition.
  3. First-Generation Homebuyer: This includes individuals whose parents or guardians never owned a home during the applicant’s lifetime, or who experienced a foreclosure or short sale, and do not currently own a home. Additionally, those who have lived in foster care are also classified as first-generation homebuyers.
  4. Residence in CDBG-Qualified Area: Applicants must currently reside in a Community Development Block Group (CDBG) qualified area in Long Beach.
  5. Mortgage Pre-Approval: Applicants need to be pre-approved by a lender for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan. Cash purchases are not eligible.
  6. Liquid Assets: After the home purchase loan closes, the household must not possess more than double (2x) the grant amount in liquid assets, excluding retirement accounts.

Eligible Properties and Home Purchase Requirements

The grant can be applied towards the purchase of a single-family home, townhome, or condo within Long Beach. Mobile homes and multi-family residences do not qualify. Additionally, qualified applicants must agree to occupy the purchased property as their primary residence for a minimum of five years.

Application Process and Qualification

Households interested in the program must complete an application and submit supporting documentation to demonstrate eligibility. This includes:

  • Driver’s license or photo ID
  • Income documents: tax returns, pay stubs, and/or proof of public assistance
  • Asset documents: bank statements and other asset statements (excluding retirement accounts)
  • Credit report verifying first-time homebuyer status
  • Mortgage pre-approval letter
  • Attestation form confirming first-generation homebuyer status
  • Utility bill or official mail from the past month, verifying current residence in a qualified area of Long Beach
  • Homebuyer Education Course completion certificate

Here is a video explaining how to apply for the program: How to Apply to the Long Beach First Time Homebuyers Assistance Program – YouTube. For further help completing the application, you may contact the City’s program partner, FORWARD, at 855.582.3973 or FirstTimeHomebuyer-support@livestories.zendesk.com

The City of Long Beach’s First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program is an initiative that opens doors to homeownership for those who may not have had the opportunity otherwise. With careful planning, eligible applicants can take the first step towards securing their own homes and a brighter future. Learn more about the program by visiting LBHomeGrant (longbeach.gov).

Links to program guidelines in multiple languages:

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program Guidelines (English) (longbeach.gov)

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program Guidelines (Spanish) (longbeach.gov)

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program Guidelines (Khmer) (longbeach.gov)

First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program Guidelines (Tagalog) (longbeach.gov)

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