Buying a Home FAQs

  1. Complete an application and submit all required documents to determine if you meet the basic criteria of the homeownership program.
  2. Find a home that fits your needs.  You must also qualify to purchase this home based on your income and other subsidy requirements.
  3. Attend or schedule Program Orientation, Financial Counseling, and Homebuyer Education classes.
  4. Visit an approved lender to get pre-qualified for a mortgage.
  5. Sign an offer-to-purchase contract.

The Home Trust Sales Department has three licensed real estate agents who represent the Home Trust but will provide her professional assistance throughout the home buying process. Buyers may have their own representation, but the cost of that commission is the sole responsibility of the buyer. As with the buyer, the Home Trust Sales Team will assist the seller, but represents the interests of the Home Trust. Sellers may have their own representation, but the process and guidelines for reselling a Home Trust home remain the same.

CHT requires a buyer’s total housing costs to be a maximum of 30% of their gross monthly income.  We target 28%, when possible.  Housing costs include: principal, interest, taxes, insurance, HOA dues, and ground lease fees.

You pay two monthly fees to the Home Trust for the entire time you own your home.  The first is a ground lease, or use fee, which is a small monthly charge that is payable to the Home Trust.  The second is the Stewardship Fee, which is explained below. You might see these two charges combined into one deduction from your bank account on an automatic draft.

The Stewardship Fee is dedicated to replacing specific capital systems (or major components of those systems) such as: the roof, siding, air conditioning/heating system (HVAC), hot water heater, and flooring. For our single family homes, the fee also covers an annual termite inspection and warranty. These funds stay with the property and are only used to cover the replacement of those “big ticket” items listed above.  The fee varies for different homes, so please ask our Sales Team about the fee on the home that interests you.

The Home Trust will provide assistance based on need as determined by a thorough review of income and employment documentation. There may be additional criteria, steps and documentation required dependent upon the source of funds. Our goal is to ensure that buyers are not over-extending themselves.  We will apply subsidy to reduce a buyer’s first mortgage amount such that the monthly costs are approximately 28% of the household’s monthly gross income. We will not allow a buyer to purchase a home if the total monthly housing expenses exceed 30%.

In most cases, down payment assistance is often available to our buyers in the form of a no interest, no payment loan.  This means, typically a buyer is not required to have a down payment to purchase one of our homes.  Of course, you may choose to have a larger down payment if you wish. If your monthly housing costs exceed 30% of your gross monthly income after all subsidy has been applied, you may be required to add a down payment in order to qualify to purchase that home.

Closing costs typically range from $4,000-$5,000.    $1,000 of this is due in the form of earnest money when you sign your contract.  The remaining amount is due at the time of closing.

Gifts are allowed up to $10,000.  Exceptions to this policy may be requested under very limited circumstances.  We do not allow for co-signers.

Once you are certain you qualify for our program, you locate a home you wish to purchase.  You then must qualify to purchase that home.  Once you qualify, you can reserve the property for up to 7 days while you attempt to get your pre-qualification letter.   Due to the complexity of our land trust model, you must visit one of our approved lenders.

Many of our financial institutions require a minimum credit score of 640.   There is one credit union that may allow a lower score, depending on your individual circumstances.

If you are thinking about buying a home, we recommend you getting your application in as soon as possible so you can begin receiving updates on available properties for sale.

We offer free financial counseling services to help you put together a long-term plan to increase your credit score or save money for closing costs.  Please contact our office to set up an appointment.

Home Trust Orientation—detailed overview of the homeownership program touching on some highlights of the process of buying, owning, and selling a Home Trust property.

Financial Counseling—one on one counseling session with one of our certified financial counselor to help you establish, review or revise your budget as well as acquiring, reviewing and repairing your credit report.

Homebuyer Education—an extensive 8 hour class that instructs first-time homebuyers in the process of buying and owning a home. This class must be taught by a certified housing counselor and you must attend at least 7 of the 8 hours to obtain your certificate, good for 12 months.

Home Maintenance—a 3-hour class taught by our Property Manager and Construction Manager about the basics of maintaining your home.  Simple and inexpensive preventative maintenance can save you money in the future.

A resale packet can be provided to you by the Sales Team or you can download the documents off the website. It is important to remember that the process will take more time than selling a private market home. Although most homes sell within 90 days, you should allow up to 6 months to sell your home.   Since you are responsible for maintaining all costs associated with the home until it sells, we strongly advise not purchasing another home or signing a new lease until your home closes.  This will prevent you from having to financially maintain two properties.