Milwaukee’s Department of City Development is rolling out a new lending program later this month to help homebuyers rehab foreclosed properties purchased from the city.
The city’s new Homebuyer Assistance Program would provide forgivable loans of up to $20,000 to help buyers of tax-foreclosed properties rehab those properties. City officials say that buyers could couple this program with an existing public-private partnership between PyraMax Bank and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to help finance and renovate their buildings.
The PyraMax/WHEDA Home Improvement Loan Program provides rehab financing of up to $50,000 in a revolving loan program, and is not restricted to purchasers of foreclosed properties. Both the PyraMax program and the forthcoming city program are intended for owners who occupy their properties. Those who want to participate in the city’s rehab program can seek mortgages from any lender.
Sam Leichtling, program director of the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Development Corp., praised the PyraMax program’s flexibility. Other similar programs target people with certain income levels or first-time homeowners but the PyraMax program is not restricted to those buyers.
According to Gary White, community development manager at PyraMax Bank, “It’s not as arbitrary as some programs might be, but we want to make sure that you have a financial situation that’s stable enough that you can become a successful homeowner.”
Added White, who oversees the bank’s affordable lending programs, “We look primarily at your credit history in the last two years. So if you’ve had credit issues and you’ve righted the ship, so to speak, you’re a good candidate. (However), if you’ve got outstanding delinquencies and serious credit issues, we don’t want to put you in a situation where you’re going to fail.”
PyraMax and other banks offer accounts to build up potential borrowers’ credit scores regardless of previous credit history. Select Milwaukee and ACTS can also work with individuals to improve their credit scores.
More than $900,000 will be available through the city’s Homebuyer Assistance Program to help at least 40 homebuyers who purchase city-owned properties. Of that amount, about $266,000 comes from a Federal Home Loan Bank grant and city funds make up the rest.
WHEDA is holding $8 million in a revolving fund, which is expected to assist approximately 320 households. As loans are repaid, the proceeds may be loaned out again to other borrowers, said Geoffrey Cooper, WHEDA’s director of single-family homeownership.
Another city program, funded through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), helped more than 100 families acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed homes from 2009-2013. Many of these families got a first mortgage through PyraMax.
The city holds titles to more than 1,000 foreclosed properties, with about 500 expected to be demolished this year. As time goes on, the number of foreclosed properties in Milwaukee is expected to rise. As of last year, there were more than 3,000 properties going through the foreclosure process.
For more information about the program, contact Gary White at (414) 747-0894 or ACTS at (414) 933-2215.
Clarification: The original published article left the incorrect impression that the Homebuyer Assistance Program and the PyraMax/WHEDA Home Improvement Loan Program are directly connected. They are separate programs.