In the midst of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Housing Department has received a total of 1,043 applications for the federal Direct Buyer Assistance (HBA) program, of which they have been eligible 955, reported the secretary of the state agency, Luis Fernández Trinchet.
“Three cases have been closed, which have been three nurses and in the next two or three weeks we should be closing the next 20 cases approximately, which are those that are quite close to their closing stage. It is very important to emphasize that the loan process is run in a cooperative or a bank and not in Housing, nor does it work in the Housing Financing Authority ”, stated Fernández Trinchet.
Although there would be 932 pending applications – when the calculation is made by subtracting the three cases already closed and the 20 that are close to completing the procedures – the secretary said that he does not consider the process to be a slow one. “I don’t think it’s slow,” he added.
“For example, one of the cases that is closer to closing, the person files his application in the mortgage house on August 14 and it is not until September 28 that the appraisal is received, which is the second time that the information in the system. He still lacks some documents that the institution has to file so that the person can sign his case, “he said.
Pandemic hinders process
Although in this case 20 days elapsed from the moment the application was filed until the appraisal was received, Fernández Trinchet mentioned to EL VOCERO that he does not consider it to be the fault of the financial institution, of Housing or of the Financing Authority of the Housing (AFI), but attributes it to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have a pandemic. How many appraisers are comfortable or comfortable going to visit a house or how many people are there who want to receive them? You also have to see which documents in a normal mortgage process are obtained faster or slower. There are institutions that are bigger than others, they have more employees, so honestly everything will depend on each institution, “he added.
With an allocation of $ 350 million in CDBG-DR funds, the HBA program provides financial grant assistance to families to cover the difference between the closing and early costs of the first mortgage obtained from a financial institution and the price of buying a home.
The program can provide up to $ 25,000 for low- or moderate-income families and up to $ 35,000 for low- or moderate-income families with members who are part of the essential recovery staff for the acquisition of a main home that does not exceed current FHA mortgage limits. nor the value indicated in the appraisal.
“This is one of the programs that can help with the housing problem in Puerto Rico. It could help 10,000 families. Interest rates are at the floor right now, ”said Fernández Trinchet.
In terms of the procedure to be followed by the person interested in receiving the subsidy, he mentioned that the application to the program is made through a financial institution. The list of participating institutions is available on the CDBG-DR digital platform.
“So a person who is interested in the program goes to one of them — cooperatives or mortgage houses — and says he wants to participate in the program. There are typically two options when the person goes: one, that they already have an identified home, or two, that they don’t. There are times when they simply go because they want to know if they are eligible for the program, they leave and eventually return with an identified house that they want to buy, ”said the official.
After that, the process of a normal mortgage loan begins. This information is sent by system to the AFI -which is the entity through which PRDOH manages the program- to corroborate that the family or the person is eligible and determine if the subsidy they are giving the applicant is the correct one. , explained Fernández Trinchet.