SC Housing offers down payment assistance to frontline workers buying 1st home

South Carolina News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority has officially launched its 2021 Palmetto Heroes Program, which offers low rates and thousands of dollars in financial assistance for frontline workers looking to buy their first home.

“They do the job every day to protect and serve South Carolina’s residents,” said SC Housing’s Media and Market Engagement Manager Chris Winston. “Either as teachers, or police officers, or firefighters or members of the military, or veterans, or corrections officers, licensed medical professionals… And we have this program to help them move into homeownership.”

Winston said many frontline workers meet the need to make the mortgage payments but don’t necessarily have that large chunk of money set aside for down payments or closing costs.

“What this program does is guarantee a fixed-rate low-interest loan,” Winston explained. “Our loans assure at 2.75% which are historic lows, just like the rest of the industry is seeing. And $12,000-dollars in forgivable down payment assistance to help folks with those closing costs and that down payment to let them move into a home.”

The program is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Mortgage loans are for 30 years, and you have to meet SC Housing’s first-time homebuyer requirements and income requirements based on location and household size.

However, everything about the application process is just like buying a home.

“You pick out someplace to live, you work with an agent or a lender, and then what happens after you close, SC Housing buys that loan, guaranteeing that support to the homebuyer,” said Winston.

That’s where businesses like On Q Financial come in, as they originate the mortgage loans.

“Effectively we offer that loan program, we underwrite,” said Billy Davis, branch manager for the Greenville office. “We approve loans subject to those conditions, for people to meet the criteria and then we effectively sell it or place it with state housing.”

If you’re not a frontline worker, SC Housing still has plenty of assistance for everyone.

“Even if you don’t qualify as one of these particular occupations, there are a number of homebuyer programs available that we have, that do have $7,000 to $8,000 in down payment assistance,” said Winston.

In honor of SC Housing’s 50th anniversary, the program has set aside $50 million in aid which has helped more than 1m500 homeowners purchase homes over the past 14 years.

To learn more about the Palmetto Heroes program, click here.

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