Home Ownership Program

Education and counseling have been at the heart of Salem Housing CDC's Homeownership Program since 1985 with a steady expansion in response to client's needs. These workshops and counseling services are FREE to the class participants and are sponsored by Chase, the Ruth Moth Foundation, United Methodist Churches and many individuals. Pastors, agencies and landlords may choose to refer renters who are considering purchasing a home or those who need to develop some additional skills to improve their current housing.

As part of the Homeownership Program each family completes Homebuyer Education and Mortgage Preparation Workshops and works as a part of the team that makes decisions about the home they plan to purchase while the repair process takes place. The family and volunteers work on the Second Saturday of each month to enhance the affordability of the home for the homebuyer. In addition, Salem Housing CDC partners with mortgage lenders to provide technical guidance for each homeowner-in-training while Maintenance Workshops teach homeowners how to take care of a home after it has been purchased. Grant sources provide down payment assistance when that is necessary to assure that a house is affordable. Finally, hands-on counseling continues to prepare the homeowner to develop the skills needed to turn a house into a home while one-on-one counseling walks families through the process of developing and protecting a positive credit history and developing a money management action plan. As a result of the Homeownership Program families become invested in their home through work, education and decision-making.  
Chase Bank Salem Housing CDC provides counseling, services and education needed for homeowners and those families that dream of someday owning a home. Our services include:

  • Mortgage Preparation
  • Budgeting & Credit Counseling
  • Lease-to-Purchase Homeownership Programs
  • Home Repairs Skills Workshop
  • Funding Sources for Home Repair
  • Rental Housing

The Home Buyer's Workshop
Topics include:

  • Developing a budget that will help you buy or keep that "dream" home.
  • Discovering how a credit report can "make" or "break" a home purchase.
  • Learning how to choose the right financing option.

The Homeowner's Workshop

Topics include:

  • Finding ways to finance costly home repairs.
  • Discovering how to choose contractors and manage a construction project.
  • Learning more about credit and money management for repair and remodel projects.

The Home Maintenance Workshop

Topics include:

  • Discovering how to stop annoying faucet leaks.
  • Learning how to effectively winterize a home.
  • Learning how to paint, patch and get great results every time. 

How the Program Works
Salem Housing exists to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for families with low and moderate incomes. The core service area for housing development is N. Saginaw Street on the East, Dupont on the West, Pasadena Street on the North, 9th Avenue on the South.* Salem Housing CDC buys vacant and deteriorated houses and brings the houses up to city and state code. The work involves the family that will live in the house, volunteers both local and from many parts of the state, contracted construction companies and the staff of Salem Housing CDC.
The process in which Salem Housing CDC provides houses to new home owners is as follows:

  • Salem Housing CDC obtains financing for purchase and rehab of the house.
  • Salem Housing CDC buys house.
  • Salem Housing CDC construction department writes specifications and gets bids from contractors.
  • Salem Housing CDC approves bids and supervises contractors.
  • Salem Housing CDC offers the house to approved families. Family then chooses the home and signs a commitment to:
    • 1. Complete the Maintenance Workshops

    • 2. Participate in decision-making on the preparation of their home

    • 3. Work at least 10 hours on the home they have chosen in preventative maintenance, cosmetic repairs, painting, or landscaping with Salem Housing CDC supervision to "learn" about their new home. **

  • House is then completed to state and city code regulations.
  • Family obtains mortgage and becomes homeowner OR
        1. Family signs lease-to-purchase agreement with plan to purchase;
        2. Family pays monthly lease payment;
        3. Salem Housing CDC reserves $50 each month for down-payment and closing costs.
        4. Family completes ownership preparation and obtains mortgage.

*A partnership in Mt. Morris Township has completed the first home and welcomed its future owner. Plans are to continue to work in this community.

** Sweat Equity is a choice for many homebuyers. Family works on the team of Salem Housing's employees, contractors & volunteers to upgrade the house; Homebuyers may choose to accelerate their down payment and closing cost account or dedicate dollars toward credit repair by assuming specific repair tasks (ex. prepare and paint a bedroom to Salem Housing standards and $20 will be added to escrow account.)

Eligibility Requirements
In order to participate in the Salem Housing CDC Homeownership Program, participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must be willing to work hard.
  • Must have a working income of at least $12,500 and within HUD guidelines based on family size.

Application Process

  • Complete intake interview (application filled out and returned).
  • Complete all required pre-purchase workshops.
  • Complete 10 hours of preventative maintenance in workshops and hands-on experience in a house under construction.
  • Review credit report and develop an action plan. The goal is to have good credit history to successfully apply for a mortgage. An action plan will include a payment plan for any credit problems and the development of a budget and money management plan.
  • Each family works with the homebuyer coordinator in preparation to buy a home. A family that is mortgage ready will purchase a home immediately. A lease-to-purchase option is available if the family and Salem Housing CDC agree that a realistic plan will prepare the household for a home purchased within 18 months.
  • Evidence that you will be able to obtain utilities in your name.
  • Approval to be matched with a house can be made before maintenance workshops are completed.

How to Apply to Purchase a House
The first step is to meet with the Homebuyer Coordinator for an intake assessment. Salem Housing CDC Intakes are on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. by appointment only with Louise Johnston, Salem Housing CDC Homebuyer Coordinator.  To learn more about the program, schedule an intake or to obtain an application call (810) 785-5340 ext. 21. At the assessment you should bring the following items:

  • Last year's tax return
  • This month's pay stubs
  • Information about all other sources of income
  • If you are pre-qualified for a mortgage, bring your "good faith estimate" or letter of qualification.
  • Two years of landlord contact information

Pre-Purchase Workshops
The Pre-Purchase Workshops prepare new homeowners to obtain a mortgage and to successfully manage their home. The classes are open to everyone whether they are interested in purchasing a home through Salem Housing CDC, purchasing a home they are renting or adding the necessary skills for maintaining their own home. Workshops are held the Second Tuesday of every month at 10:00 a.m. and require pre-registration. To register call (810) 785-5340, ext. 21 to reserve your space.  Child care is available if requested in advance. 

Just Interested in the Workshops?
Those interested in just participating in the mortgage preparation and/or maintenance workshops are welcome to attend. These workshops and all counseling are FREE to participants and are sponsored by Chase, the Ruth Moth Foundation, the Flint District United Methodist Churches and many individuals. Pastors, agencies and landlords may choose to refer renters who are considering purchasing a home, or those who need to develop some additional skills to improve their current housing. The workshops run year round. For information call Louise Johnston at ext. 21, or by email at: ljohnston@salemhousing.org.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Homeownership Counseling Certification
A person may have found a house already and been approved for a mortgage but their lender requires homeownership counseling in order to complete the process. In that case, Louise Johnston, a MSHDA Certified Homeownership Counselor, will provide the information and certificate necessary to complete the educational classes required for the mortgage application process. Following the three hour counseling session the buyer will be ready for the process of "closing" on their home.  To make an appointment call (810) 785-5340 ext. 21.

© 2011 Salem Housing
Community Development Corporation