Homebuyer Help | Urban Living
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Homebuyer Help

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If you haven't heard of Ivory Homes, you'd have to live on the dark side of the moon. The developer has been building homes in this state for 30-plus consecutive years, with more than 20,000 homes built and sold, 70 or more communities established, over a hundred home designs and 45 or more model homes to choose from. The CEO, Clark Ivory, has been obsessed with trying to get affordable housing into the mix of options for Utah's homebuyers. He's certainly not alone because politicians, bankers, business leaders and developers statewide are working on this damnable housing problem.

As we know, this state is undergoing unpreceded growth with more people moving here than leaving, and all are needing a place to live that they can afford. Sadly, Ivory and his minions have come head-to-head with local communities in trying to increase density where traditional zoning laws make it challenging to build anything other than single family homes on large lots. We aren't building any more land, and the future is grim for homebuyers if we don't start revamping how many dwellings can go on one lot. Ivory is attempting to bring more housing options into our future, with plans for homes with ADUs (accessory dwelling units) and homes on smaller lots in some subdivisions where allowed.

Ivory Homes is offering "workforce housing" for owner-occupied homes (not rentals) to first-time homebuyers, first responders, teachers, veterans and military, nurses, construction workers, police officers and public employees. Rules to qualify for Ivory's special affordable housing are simple: Use their preferred lender (you can't use your own Realtor because they don't offer any commission to your agent). But you, of course, can pay for your own representation.

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors is currently offering a limited number of $5,000 grants to single parents who are first-time homebuyers. The deadline for applications is April 23. Applicants can contact gavin@slrealtors.com for more information.

Other assistance can be found through the Utah Housing Corp., which offers mortgage loans around the state to qualified first-time homebuyers and homebuyers who have previously owned a home. There are more than 50 banks and lenders who can help you navigate the loan process for a Utah Housing loan.

It may be hard as hell to find a property to buy these days but with perseverance—and maybe five or ten tries at offers—you can put a home, condo or townhome under contract. Sellers these days are getting multiple offers and are not inclined to pay the 2-3% of the purchase price toward your closing costs, so, if you haven't saved enough, you'll need help.

But there is help: Do your research and talk to a good lender who can lay out all the data about loan options and programs offering help with down payments and closing costs. Community Development Corp of Utah is another place to look for assistance for first-time home buyers, too. Go to fha.com for ideas.