First-time Homebuyer Reaps Benefits of DSHA Flexible Mortgage Programs

First-time Homebuyer Reaps Benefits of DSHA Flexible Mortgage Programs
Laurie Stovall
Posted By: Laurie Stovall

Hector Pena-Avendano came to the United States from Venezuela in 2017 at the age of 19. He played major league baseball briefly before starting a career making windows for commercial buildings in Southern New Jersey.

In 2023, Pena-Avendano decided he was ready to explore the possibility of buying his first home. In April, he met Jennifer Flores, a Century 21 Gold Key Realty realtor, and they began looking at properties in Wilmington’s West Side. Flores also introduced him to Natalia Barker, a Spanish-speaking loan officer with Main Street Home Loans, to obtain financing.

Barker suggested housing counseling for Pena-Avendano and referred him to NeighborGood Partners, where a counselor worked with him to shore up his finances and credit score.

After Pena-Avendano completed the housing counseling program, he applied for Delaware State Housing Authority’s homeownership loan programs. Besides qualifying for a first mortgage of $160,000, Pena-Avendano was approved for DSHA’s Home Sweet Home down payment and closing cost assistance program, which provided $12,000 at zero interest and is forgivable after ten years with verification that the homeowner has resided in the property as their primary residence.

At the end of July, Pena-Avendano signed a contract to purchase a Wilmington townhouse, and closing was scheduled for the end of August. During the walk-through, it was discovered that central air conditioning mentioned in the home’s listing did not exist. Although an agreement was reached to compensate for the missing air conditioning, the homeowner ultimately pulled out of the sale for other reasons unrelated to Pena Avendano.

Flores immediately began finding other properties for Pena-Avendano to consider. However, they were concerned that he would lose his DSHA financing commitment before closing another property. But as it turned out, they had no reason to worry. DSHA assured them that the financing commitment was transferable to another property since the sale fell through due to no fault of Pena-Avendano.

As Eileen Palmer, DSHA Business Development and Lender Specialist, explained, a lender locks in financing for 60 days. Once financing is reserved, if a sale falls through, the interest rate lock can be extended one time for 15 or 30 days. “The financing stays with the buyer, not the property,” Palmer said.

By the end of September, with Flores’s help, Pena-Avendano signed a contract for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom townhouse on Wilmington’s West Side and closed on the property on October 20.

Flores said Pena-Avendano is “beyond grateful” for DSHA financing. “He would not be a homeowner now if it hadn’t been for DSHA’s homeownership programs.”

Flores added that as a realtor serving the Latino community, she educates her clients about the assistance available to homebuyers like Pena-Avendano. “There is a lack of knowledge. They don’t know that programs like DSHA’s are available. I’m glad they are there for them.”

Media inquiries

Laurie M. Stovall
Director of Public Relations
Toll-Free (888) 363-8808

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