Four Programs to Help You Buy a Home in Howard County

  • Published: March 15th, 2010

In today’s economy, it might seem like a real challenge to find the home of your dreams, especially one in an area where the schools are top-rated and the community is diverse. Fortunately, the Howard County Housing Department has a variety of programs to help you buy a home. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned home shopper, Howard County offers programs to help you. Here are five of our most popular programs:

1. Settlement Downpayment Loan Program (SDLP)

Howard County’s newly revised SDLP program offers a variety of loan products to assist homebuyers with financing for settlement/downpayment costs.  All loans will be deferred, due upon sale of home, refinance, or default.  Low interest rates – 2 points below primary mortgage rate.  Properties must be owner occupied.  For more information and borrower requirements, please contact Linda Phillips, SDLP Coordinator, 410-313-6328.

2. Moderate Income Housing Unit

The MIHU Program is an inclusionary zoning program that requires developers of new housing in certain districts to sell or rent some of the dwelling units built to households of moderate income. This program offers quality new homes at reduced prices and rents to eligible families. Sale prices range from approximately $110,000 for a condominium to $225,000 for a single-family home. Prices vary depending on the size and amenities of the unit.

See our three-part series on MIHU:

Part I: Redefining Moderate Income Housing
Part II: 10 Myths about MIHU
Part III: How to Qualify for an MIHU

3. Housing Choice Voucher

The Housing Choice Voucher for Homeownership Program offers loans of up to 95% of the property value. Howard County Housing issues Choice Vouchers for this program.

Families participating in the Homeownership Program must be in good standing, and have been a program participant for at least 2 years. The family must also have participated in the Family Self Sufficiency Program for a period of at least 6 months prior to the date of settlement.

4. Live Howard County

This program promotes the benefits of living and working in Howard County such as greater job satisfaction, shorter commute times and a sense of community.  The program provides affordable homeownership opportunities for individuals and families that live or work in Howard County.  Assistance is provided in the form of a second mortgage held by Howard County Housing and known as a Permanently Affordable Housing Covenant.

You must apply to the Department to determine if you (i) are income eligible, and (ii) qualify for a mortgage. Your household income may not exceed 80% of the Howard County median household income

You will have the right to live in the home with all of the rights and responsibilities of a homeowner. When you decide to sell your home, you must first offer to sell it back to the Commission at the permanently affordable price.

RIGHT OF FIRST PURCHASE: The Buyer agrees to grant to the Howard County Housing Commission a right of first purchase in the Property. The right of first purchase will be contained in the deed or other instrument and recorded among the Land Records for Howard County.

COVENANT: Contract would be contingent upon the Buyer executing a Permanently Affordable Housing Covenant for the benefit of the Howard County Housing Commission. The Permanently Affordable Housing Covenant will provide, among other things, that the Property shall not be transferred to anyone other than an Eligible Purchaser. The Permanently Affordable Housing Covenant shall be recorded prior to the first mortgage.

For more information, please contact:

Kelly Cimino

MIHU Coordinator