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First Time Homebuyer Assistance for County Employees

The First Time Home Buyer Program provides up to $50,000, fully amortized secondary mortgage financing at below-market rates to assist eligible employees to purchase a home.

Sonoma County entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 in order to fund one or more programs to assist represented employees with housing cost issues. Since July 1992, County employees who work in SEIU-represented job classifications have had one penny ($.01) per each hour of their compensation paid into a Housing Assistance Fund. Effective July 5, 2016 the employee contribution paid into the Housing Assistance Fund increase to two pennies ($.02) per hour. The County provides a dollar for dollar match for all employee deposits into the Fund. 

A joint labor/management Housing Assistance Committee (HAC) meets quarterly to monitor the operation of the Housing Assistance Fund, formulate and implement occasional program changes. The Fund finances three programs, the First Time Home Buyer Program, Rental/Mortgage Assistance Program, and Housing Assistance Rehabilitation Loan Program. Repayments for all loans are made through payroll deductions. 

Application Materials

Please call the SEIU Housing Assistance message line at (707) 565-7549 if you have questions during your review of this material.  Please note that there is a $25.00 non-refundable application fee for this loan. The completed application should be forwarded to the CDC upon acceptance of an offer on the home of your choice.

It is highly recommend that you educate yourself on the home buying process.  There are many web sites you can access that offer free booklets which are very informational. (Two such sites are www.hud.gov and www.fanniemae.com ). Fannie Mae also has a toll-free number for free booklets, which is 1-800-611-9566.

Your second step should be to make an appointment with a real estate lender to determine the amount of loan for which you qualify and minimum down payment requirements.

You will then be fully prepared to begin the process of looking for a home with a real estate agent. Calls from your real estate lender and/or real estate agent are most welcome.

Please be advised that funds for this program are limited and the availability of funds is subject to change without notice.  No commitment can be made to fund a loan unless the loan has been approved in writing.

Details and Eligibility

Loan

  • Thirty (30) year second loan with fully amortized payments. The loan balance is due at maturity, upon refinance without an approved subordination, sale, transfer of title, or conversion to a rental property.
  • 3% simple interest per annum.
  • Up to a $50,000 maximum loan amount.

Employee

  • Must have 2088 hours of contribution to Housing Fund.
  • Must be in a SEIU Local 1021 represented job classification.
  • Cannot have owned a principal residence within the past 3 years or have a current ownership interest in any real property. A single parent, who, under a decree of dissolution of marriage or legal separation, has custody of one or more minors need not be a first time homebuyer to be eligible for assistance.
  • Must be full time, part time or extra help county employee.
  • Must contribute a minimum of 5% of total purchase price in cash from personal resources (this may be applied to the down payment and/or closing costs)
  • Cannot have more than $50,000 in personal property. (includes motor homes and boats, excludes cars for transportation, home furnishings, life insurance, deferred comp. assets, IRAs, and any funds to be used for down payment and/or closing costs for the home purchase.)

Property

  • Must be located in Sonoma County.
  • Single Family Residence, Condo, PUD or mobile home on a permanent foundation or own property.
  • Maximum primary mortgage amount is single-family loan limit set annually by FNMA/FHLMC. Contact the CDC for current amount.
  • Loans for the purchase of legally sited mobile homes are allowed. The loan amount is 6% of the sales price up to a maximum $10,000, at 3% interest. The loan will be fully amortized over 15 years.

Purchase Process

  1. Applicant shops for a primary mortgage to determine the maximum loan for which he or she qualifies. Applicant should, at this time, provide the primary mortgage lender with the County of Sonoma / SEIU Housing Assistance Committee (HAC) First-Time Homebuyer (FTHB) loan program information and obtain a pre-qualification letter from the lender
  2. Applicant shops for a home located within Sonoma County.
  3. Applicant makes offer to purchase a home and offer is accepted by seller. Buyer and seller execute a purchase agreement and an escrow is opened at a title company of the buyer’s choice
  4. Applicant obtains a mortgage from a primary mortgage lender and provides the Sonoma County Community Development Commission (SCCDC) with a loan commitment from the lender showing the purchase price, maximum loan amount, interest rate, and terms. Primary Loan amount may not exceed maximum single family loan limit as set annually by FNMA/FHLMC. Contact CDC for current amount
  5. Applicant completes the HAC FTHB loan application and submits a non-refundable $25 application fee and a copy of the primary mortgage lender’s pre-qualification letter to the SCCDC
  6. Primary mortgage lender provides the SCCDC with a complete copy of the borrower’s loan file including all verifications, reports, appraisal and documentation necessary to obtain primary loan approval. SCCDC utilizes this information to verify property location, purchase price, amount of down payment and in underwriting the HAC FTHB loan. The loan also requires a pest clearance, a satisfactory roof report, a satisfactory well/septic report, if applicable, and, at the SCCDC’s discretion, a building condition report
  7. SCCDC provides applicant with statement of loan approval or denial
  8. Primary mortgage lender, real estate agent or applicant notifies SCCDC of projected loan closing date (allow 10-15 business days for SCCDC to process loan from date of receipt of data in item # 6 above).
  9. SCCDC prepares the HAC FTHB loan documents, sends documents to title company and requests funds for the loan to be wired to the title company.
  10. Applicant signs all loan documents (primary and second mortgage) simultaneously at title company. Title company records documents.
  11. Applicant takes title and possession of home

    The amount of the HAC FTHB second mortgage is up to a maximum $50,000. The mortgage is a fully amortized 30-year loan. The interest rate is 3% per annum. The loan is due and payable at the end of thirty years or at the time the property is sold, transferred, converted to rental property, no longer used as the borrower’s principal residence, or in some cases if the first mortgage is refinanced.

Contact Information

Maria Contreras

Affordable Housing Finance Specialist

Sonoma County Community Development Commission

Contact us by Phone
Address
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday
Closed
1440 Guerneville Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.456899, -122.733918

For County Employees