Jul 14, 2011 8:51 AM

Program helps families into remodeled forclosed homes

TUCSON - Hoping to buy a home in Pima County but not sure you have the money to make it happen? This may be your lucky break.

The City, County and Federal Government are now teaming up to turn foreclosed houses into affordable homes.

There are some important requirements if you want to qualify for what is called the Pima County Community Land Trust. However, if you are in the market for a new home, you will likely not have to dip into your savings account to get started. The down payment is one $1 thousand.

"I really loved it. When I saw this one, I just thought, oh, this is my house," Erica Luzanilla said on a tour of her new home.

Luzanilla and her three kids have spent the last month soaking up every moment in their new house, the kind of home Luzanilla never thought she would be able to find.

"I needed at least a two bedroom apartment. And everything was even more than what I pay for now for the house," Luzanilla said.

When Luzanilla found the Pima County Community Land Trust, it changed everything about her search. She discovered her newly remodeled dream home, valued at more than $90 thousand. She also learned qualifying for only a $60 loan would be enough.

"It was very exciting to know that I could get for that amount without having to put extra into it," Luzanilla said.

Here is how the program works:

The City of Tucson uses federal stimulus funds to buy and remodel foreclosed homes in Pima County. Buyers sign a 99 year land lease at $25 a month and must qualify for at least a $50 thousand mortgage. The trust absorbs the difference between the loan and the amount the home appraises for.

"It increases your purchasing power," said Maggie Amado-Tellez, the Incoming Manager of the Pima County Community Land Trust.

So far, the trust has helped more than a dozen families find ways into new homes.

"The purpose of the Land Trust is to bring affordable housing to our community and to have a permanent inventory of homes available, of affordable housing available, to low to moderate income families," Amado-Tellez said.

Qualified buyers must earn between 50 and 80 percent of area median income for Pima County.

If you are interested in the program, there will be an informational meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight in the El Banco Building of the Pima County Housing Center (801 W. Congress).

For more information, click here.


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