Coronavirus in Oklahoma: State Housing Finance Agency says ‘Say Yes to Homeownership’ during National Homeownership Month
Just a month or so before the coronavirus pandemic sent students and teachers home for the semester, Erin Francis closed on her first home.
For the first-year teacher, the timing couldn’t have been better.
“It was really a huge adjustment,” Francis said. Teaching from home, she said, "would have been much harder to do from an apartment instead of having a whole house to do this.”
Francis moved into a 1970s-era home in south Oklahoma City with fiancé Jason Pucciarelli after renting an apartment. The couple found their mortgage to be just as affordable as rent.
Utilizing the OHFA 4Teachers loan product offered by the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, she received 3.5% down payment assistance at closing. The OHFA 4Teachers loan also provided a 1/4-percentage-point reduction in her interest rate.
Francis shared her homeownership story as part of the OHFA's “Say Yes to Homeownership” video series. Videos have been premiering during National Homeownership Month as a way to answer questions commonly asked by potential buyers.
Also participating in the series were Francis’s mortgage lender, Ellie Wade with First United Bank in Moore, and her real estate agent, Debra Penrod with Metro Brokers of Oklahoma. Shia Sumpter, a real estate agent with eXp Realty, shared inspection tips.
Videos may be viewed at these sites online:
The goal is to educate potential buyers. The videos offer a way to learn about OHFA’s down payment options and buying a house, yet still practice social distancing.
While OHFA has remained open and operational, the agency has been practicing social distancing and stopped face-to-face meetings during April and May. Zoom was used to shoot footage in the video series.
“It’s a great time to say yes to homeownership,” said Lee Ann Smith, OHFA director of single-family programs. “Interest rates are good and OHFA down payment makes it even more affordable.”
OHFA offers 3.5% down payment assistance statewide. Products are available for first-time and repeat buyers. The agency offers special rates to teachers like Francis and to state employees and first responders.
Topics and participants in the video series include:
•Lee Ann Smith, OHFA director of single-family programs, giving an overvide of OHFA home buyer down payment assistance.
•Erin Francis, teacher and new homebuyer, telling her story of becoming a homeowner.
•Ellie Wade, loan officer with First United Bank, offering guidance on qualifying for a loan.
•Debra Penrod, real estate agent with Metro Brokers of Oklahoma, giving tips on working with a Realtor to purchase a home.
•Shia Sumpter, real estate agent with eXp Realty, explaining the importance of inspections and home warranties.
For more information about the OHFA Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance program, go to www.ohfadownpayment.org or call 405-419-8207.
OHFA offers nine housing programs ranging from down payment assistance for home ownership to housing development and rental assistance. For more information about OHFA and its programs and services, go to www.ohfa.org.