HANDS of Central Florida,Inc. - FAQ

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HANDS Most Frequently Asked Questions
1- What is Hope for Homeowners?
HUD Secretary Steve Preston today announced that the HOPE for Homeowners (H4H) Board of Directors has approved changes to the program to help more distressed borrowers refinance into affordable, government-back mortgages. The changes will reduce the program costs for consumers and lenders alike while also expanding eligibility by driving down the borrower's monthly mortgage payments. Click Here for More Info
2- Can HANDS help me clean up my credit?
Yes. During a mostly free One-on-One Counseling session, HANDS will pull a free credit report for our clients, teach them how to read it, and assist with negotiating payoffs with their creditors. HANDS does not take any money from clients for payment to creditors. When possible, our clients pay off their debts directly. This and all HANDS services are mostly free.
3- Does HANDS of Central Florida give homebuyers a loan to purchase a single-family home?
No. HANDS loans no money. Potential homebuyers must qualify for a home loan with a bank or mortgage company. HANDS provides the required homebuyer education course for local downpayment assistance to eligible clients. After taking the homebuyer seminar, participants receive a certificate of education that must to included in their loan package and sent to the City or County providing the downpayment assistance. HANDS certificates of education are accepted in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the Cities of Orlando and Deltona.
4- Will HANDS go out and find me an apartment?
HANDS is not a realtor or apartment searcher. We can provide you with a list of affordable complexes that you can call yourself to check availability or you can search from this website for any apartment by zip code by selecting Search then Apartments from the main navigation bar. Clients may also schedule a One-on-One Counseling session and a counselor will help you search our extensive database of affordable complexes. Clients should bring with them the zip codes of their children's school district, their work or key interest areas for this private counseling session.
5- Will HANDS build me a house on my own lot?
Generally not. HANDS can give clients a list of affordable builders who they can call to contract with for building services.
6- Does my credit matter if I rent?
Yes. The leasing agent at any apartment complex will pull your credit when you apply for an apartment. They will be looking for steady and on time rental payment history. If you have had a prior eviction it can affect your ability to rent again. Payment of outstanding rent can better your credit score.
7- What if I need HANDS help after the free Homebuyer Education seminar?
Anyone may contact HANDS for mostly free private counseling. A Certified Housing Counselor will then be able to look at your personal household income, current debts and help you understand what level home mortgage you may qualify for at a bank. If you have credit issues that must be resolved before a lender will give you a loan, our counselors will identify those and help you with a written Action Plan to begin resolving those issues.
8- What if I need many One-on-One (private) counseling sessions in order to get ready for homeownership? Do I have to pay after the initial session?
Currently all of HANDS counseling services are mostly free for as many sessions as you need. You and a HANDS Housing Counselor will determine through a written Action Plan the benchmarks for additional counseling sessions. HANDS is a HUD-certified and HUD funded Housing Counseling Agency and also receives funding from Orange County. HANDS is paid for our services from these sources so that our counseling is mostly free to our clients.
9- I am currently seeking assistance for rent. I am only working part-time and looking for more employment. Rent is now over $900.00 a month at my complex. Need assistance.
Unfortunately, HANDS does not provide financial assistance of any kind. Our rental apartment services are to help Central Floridians find an affordable apartment based on the zip code in which they work or frequent. Also on HANDS' website at www.handsorlando.org, under the affordable apartment search button (after you give information on your household) you will see a search tool. At the bottom of that page there are two lists. One of homeless shelters and the second is a list of emergency housing assistance resources. Look at that second list for different agencies that could help you with rental funding assistance.
10- Does HANDS offer or have information pretaining to grants for first time homebuyers?
Yes - this information on Orange County's homebuyer downpayment assistance program is reviewed at our homebuyer seminar. There is also City of Orlando downpayment assistance and Osceola Co. assistance. It depends where you are looking to purchase. Each of these municipalities have a good website that reviews their programs. Search in these sites for housing, first-time homebuyer or downpayment assistance. Orange County - www.ocfl.net City of Orlando - www.cityoforlando.net Osceola County - www.osceola.org You may register to attend a HANDS' homebuyer education seminar on our website at www.handsorlando.org. Each of these municipalities accept HANDS' certificate of education necessary for their downpayment assistance.
11- A friend got a home through the HANDS' program. How do I get started?
There are two ways to begin: 1) If you think your credit is good and could go to any lender and get pre-qualified for a home loan, go back to HANDS' website and click on the button "Homebuyer Education Seminars" and read through the screens to register for an upcoming class. The certificate of education will be good for 12 months and you will need to close on a home within 12 months. At the same time, go see a lender of your choice and get pre-qualified for a loan plus begin looking for homes for sale or work with a realtor. If you are buying in the City of Orlando, they have an Approved Lender list. You may want to check list of lender's first on the City's website Cityoforlando.net. 2)If you think you need help reviewing your credit first, HANDS' offers mostly free private counseling. In Pre-Purchase Counseling we will pull your credit report, anaylize your monthly budget, and pre-qualify you for a proposed home loan. In this way you can see what price home you can afford. HANDS can also teach you how to work on your credit issues and what credit issues may prevent you from getting a loan at this time. Click on the One-on-One Counseling button and request the type of counseling service you need. A Housing Counselor from HANDS will call you and set an appointment.
12- How do I go about purchasing a HUD home?
When purchasing a HUD home you need to contact a real estate agent (see any realtor). They have a HUD foreclosure list or you can go to www.hud.gov for a list. The real estate agent is placing a bid on the home in your behalf for so much $. You will need to get approved by a mortgage company first to determine whether or not you can afford the home you want to bid on. Usually HUD will sell the home to the highest bidder. There are fees involved. The real estate agent will know what they are. HUD home purchases are not always good buys. Some need repairs. FHA has a mortgage program where the repair fees can be included in the mortgage and repairs are done after the closing. The title company can hold up to $35,000 in an escrow account for the repairs. (see any lender). Several years ago all the HUD homes went to FEMA for those who lost their homes during hurricane season.
13- Are realtors allowed to post homes that qualify for the down payment assistance on your website?
Yes, if the home has a sales price less than $219,000 the home can be listed on HANDS' website. Please read the info. we need to develop the "cut sheet" to post on the website. The instructions are on our web site under the "Homes for Sale" button on the home page. To begin the process - HANDS will need a $100 check for each home mailed to the address below. We will then need the info. on the home + .jpeg photo to send to our web developer who we pay to put info. into the "cut sheet". The web listing is for 90 days and we love to hear status so we can change to "Contract Pending" or "Sold".