NeighborWorks Orange County Announces Boost in Affordable Housing Funds


We are happy to announce that the pool of funds available for affordable housing in Orange County has grown by $500,000 as a result of an investment by Banc of California in NeighborWorks Orange County.

Under a program called California Organized Investment Network (COIN), Banc of California in return will receive a $100,000 tax credit. COIN aims to promote investment in low-income communities.

To qualify for the tax credit, administered by the state Department of Insurance, insurance companies, banks and other entities must invest a minimum $50,000 with a certified Community Development Financial Institution such as NeighborWorks for at least five years at 0 percent interest. The 20 percent tax credit is allocated in the first year.


Glenn Hayes, president and CEO of NeighborWorks Orange County, said that the $500,000 investment is the largest that his organization has received under the COIN program, which launched in 1997. He said that the Banc of California investment would push the level of such funding his nonprofit agency has received to more than $1 million.

“We will invest 100 percent of the money into affordable rental housing,” Hayes said. “All of it will benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and families.”

The investment could enable the agency to provide as much as $1 million in low-cost loans for affordable housing development.

That is crucial in a county where workers often find it difficult to afford a decent place to live.

“This is making possible affordable housing, either getting additional affordable housing or maintaining affordable housing,” Hayes said.

By the end of 2015, the average apartment rent in Orange County had reached $1,834, according to the Orange County Economic Indicators Dashboard. Meanwhile, the median price of an Orange County home recently reached $625,000, The Orange County Register reported in April.

The tax credit was announced recently by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. The department allocates $10 million in tax credits each year to support $50 million in community development investments.

Banc of California is represented on the NeighborWorks Orange County board of directors by Gary Dunn, senior vice president of the bank. Dunn chairs the NeighborWorks board.

Such partnerships are crucial, Hayes said.

“The community really benefits because we get to use those capital dollars for home loans or purchasing or rehabilitating properties, Hayes said.

The mission of NeighborWorks Orange County, with offices in Orange, is to strengthen communities and enhance the quality of life of residents “by promoting housing opportunities, financial responsibility and civic engagement.” It offers first-time homebuyer education and counseling, provides realty services, loans funds to develop quality affordable housing and seeks to build stronger neighborhoods through community-building programs. The nonprofit also owns more than 100 affordable housing units in Orange County.

Steps for Buying a Home if You Have Bad Credit


Are you struggling with bad credit? Do you see your low FICO score as an impossible roadblock on the path to homeownership? At NeighborWorks Orange County, we are here to tell you that homeownership is still possible!  

A low credit score does not close the door on homeownership. 

In fact, we help dozens of families with poor credit successfully achieve the dream of being a homeowner every year. It’s not an overnight process, but there is hope. If you are ready to realize the dream of owning your home, know we have the tools and resources to get you there. 

If you are worried that your credit is limiting your ability to purchase a home, start here:


1) Connect with a Counselor 

Repairing your credit can be an overwhelming process. That’s why we recommend working with our HUD-approved counselors to help you sort through all the pieces. Together, we work through evaluating your credit, and removing errors on your credit report. We also help you avoid making common mistakes that lower your credit, such as opening too many new accounts at once.

Most importantly, we develop a customized credit card action plan outlining your journey to achieving homeownership. This includes specific steps to repairing your credit as well as milestones to reach for your down payment savings. After your session, you will have a clear picture of both where you are today and where you are headed. 


2) Follow the Action Plan 

The biggest take away from your meeting with our counselor will be your action plan. This will establish manageable steps that you can work on over time. But the important thing is to stick to the plan.

When you consistently pay down your bills, you will start to heal some of the damage that lowered your credit score. Additionally, we will help you build in measures to start saving money toward your down payment. It really is a comprehensive plan.

As mentioned, this isn’t an overnight process. Many of the families we work with continue on their plan for 10 to 18 months.


3) Explore Options and Assistance Plans

We offer different mortgage products, grants and programs designed to help families with bad credit realize the dream of homeownership.

To start, we offer the FHA loan. These government-backed loans have less strict guidelines to help our low-to-moderate income clients better qualify for homeownership. This includes lower credit score and smaller down payment requirements.

In addition to the FHA loan, we offer down payment assistance programs. The WISH and IDEA programs match the down payment that a qualified buyer brings to the transaction 3 to 1 for up to $15,000. So if you save $5,000 for purchasing a home, the program will add $15,000 to your down payment. These programs fully forgive all funds after you live in the home for five years.

Our counselors will show you if you qualify for a down payment assistance program.


Start Your Path to Homeownership 

While that may seem daunting today, if you connect with one of our counselors to start your journey, the time will go by faster than you think. When you look at the big picture, it will only be a short time to devote to a very fulfilling goal.

Together we can get you there.

Don’t let the fear of a bad credit score or even a past foreclosure stop you from realizing homeownership. While both are challenges, when you partner with our counselors at NWOC, you can move past them.


Start your journey today


The Ultimate Home Inspection Checklist for Orange County

There’s this euphoric moment for both buyer and seller once the final offer on a home is accepted! You’ve gone through a tedious process until now, as well as several negotiations. You’re ready to close this chapter and transition into the next phase.

Unfortunately, there are a few more steps. Most notable is the home inspection. 

There will be a few more I’s to dot and T’s to cross before it’s all said and done, but this is an important one. Especially if the buyer is financing the home, the lender will require the inspection to process the loan.

Home Inspection Overview

The buyer brings in an inspector, but they will be a neutral, 3rd party evaluating the home for safety concerns. They aren’t looking for cosmetic issues. Their goal is to identify any unsafe issues such as poor electrical wiring or cracks in the foundation of the home.


Overview Checklist

  • Foundation
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Roof
  • Appliances

While going through the property, if the inspector identifies any additions that have been added, they will alert the Realtor®. The Realtor® will then need to verify that the addition has a proper permit. Lenders won’t finalize the loan if additions don’t have the proper permits.

While the home inspection differs from an environmental inspection, the inspector will look for visible health issues such as mold. This also includes that all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working.


For the Home Owner 

When preparing for an inspection, work to make it easy to access all the areas that will be reviewed. This means doing things like removing furniture blocking electrical outlets, making it easy access to the attic, and clearing below the sink.

Hopefully you de-cluttered the home prior to listing, but if you didn’t, now would be a good time to clean out excess items. Additionally, make sure there is a clear path to all the major areas of the home.


For the Buyer

Not every purchase requires a home inspection. Typically, it’s done to fulfill the requirement of the lending company. They want to verify accuracy and condition of the home they are backing through their loan.

Even if your buying situation doesn’t require an inspection for whatever reason, you should still invest in one. For most families, a home is the largest investment you will purchase. Go the extra mile to ensure that it is not only a solid investment; it is also a safe space for your family to be in.

In reality, the inspection is designed to protect the buyer. It’s your professional once over on the property to ensure that what you see is what you get.

As for any issue identified following the inspection, typically the seller is responsible for covering the cost. This can either be them addressing it prior to the buyer moving in or a credit being given at closing.


A Partner You Can Trust

At NeighborWorks Orange County, we are here to be your partner throughout the entire home buying or selling process. We have skilled Realtors® to help you either find the perfect home or to sell yours. Know that by using our services, you not only get the best possible service provider, but the commissions are reinvested back into the community.

If you’re not quite ready to purchase yet, check out our home buying workshops. We work with you at any time during your journey to homeownership.