San Jose housing program welcomes first buyers

July 23, 2010 12:54:28 AM PDT
Federal stimulus money has funded a plan in San Jose to buy and rehab foreclosed properties. The city has purchased 12 homes so far and the first buyers are finally moving in.

Maria Sandoval is a full-time worker, single mom of two boys, and by on Friday will be a first-time homeowner.

"Now I have them to look up to me and say, 'Hey, my mom, she did it.' It's awesome," says Sandoval.

Sandoval is buying the very first bank-owned property the city of San Jose bought, fixed up, and sold with the help of federal stimulus money. There are two grants totaling $30 million. The immediate impact is a much needed boost to the construction industry.

"With the program, we have 12 homes right now, about five under construction so we are able to get a lot of folks back to work," says Don Gross, a city building rehab inspector.

Over the next three years, the neighborhood stabilization program hopes to rehab 200 foreclosed properties in four target zip codes.

"It's good. It is good for the neighborhoods, so it doesn't look as bad as before," says Daniel Rodriquez, a neighbor.

One of the properties on Huran Drive looked terrible four months ago and today it is all fixed up.

One house is now up for sale for $293,000 and a qualifying buyer can get help with the down payment and closing costs. The debt-to-loan ratio must work for a traditional home loan so a family of four can earn up to $124,000.

"So once they get into the property, they can stay in the property. That's a big focus here," says Weda Gray from Community Rehabilitation Partners.

All of the homes are sold at a fixed price to a deserving family so there is no bidding war. Sandoval and her family couldn't be happier with her purchase and the help she got.

"It didn't go to someone who didn't need it. It's going to go to someone who made a dream come true," says Sandoval.


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