North County Times (California)
By: Ray Huard
November 14, 2010
Oceanside resident Luz Breceda yearned for a house where she could care for her 90-year-old mother in clean air and sunshine.
"I wanted her to have a place to live in her old age rather than living in an apartment." Breceda said. She said she and her mother were living in a small apartment where her mother couldn't get out during the day.
"It was really hard for her," Breceda said. "She didn't need to be cooped up in a little apartment at her age."
On the money she makes as an administrative assistant, Breceda, 55, said she thought there was "absolutely no way" she could do much about it.
But two years ago, Breceda's dream came true when she and her mother moved into their new home in the Peacock Hills neighborhood, thanks to some help from a first-time home buyers program run by Oceanside Neighborhood Services Department.
Now, the city is looking for other people of modest means like Breceda who need a little help to fulfill their goal of owning a home, said Frank Grana, city housing program manager.
The program, CalHome First-Time Homebuyer Program, offers loans of up to $36,000 which buyers can apply to the purchase of a single-family home, townhouse or condominium, reducing their costs, Grana said. Buyers then get a loan from a bank or mortgage company for the balance of the home's price, he said.
The program loan doesn't have to be repaid until the house is resold and is not included in calculating monthly mortgage payments, Grana said. He said the city has $480,000 available for such loans.
To qualify, a family of four must have an annual income of at least $54,950 but no more than $62,800. Income restrictions vary, depending on family size.
Buyers cannot have owned a home or condominium within the past three years and they must have lived in Oceanside for the past three years or been employed in the city for the past three years.
The loans can be used to buy a single family house for up to $380,000 or a townhouse/condominium for up to $270,000.
Breceda cautioned that anyone who applies for the program should be prepared for tons of paperwork and there's a mandatory class on what it takes to be own a home.
"It's a lot of proving income, proving this, proving that," Breceda said, but she said her experience "went very well." She said the class on homeownership also was helpful, telling prospective buyers to be prepared for the inevitable repairs.
"When you go into a home, you're ready. You're not going to be surprised by it," Breceda said.
And even after two years living in her home, Breceda said she can't get over her good fortune.
"It's really nice there, the neighborhood," Breceda said. "I'm going to stay there. I'm going to die there. I don't need to move anywhere else."
To apply for the program, Grana said people should call city housing technician Barbara Lindsey at 760-435-3389.