Your Guide to Affordable Homeownership in Orange County


With housing prices seemingly on a never-ending upward spiral, the phrase affordable homeownership takes a more significant role in the real estate and housing industry. Similar trends across the country have even spurred democratic nominee Hilary Clinton to emphasize the need for more options for families. 

We’re here to let you know that there are options in Orange County for affordable and sustainable homeownership.

Many times, it involves buying smaller and then over time moving up in homes. Other times come down to purchasing in a more affordable area of town. Currently, single family residences in Santa Ana, West Anaheim, and Stanton range between $430,000 to $460,000.

Every day at NeighborWorks Orange County we partner with individuals and families just like you to make the dream of owning a home a reality. Affordable homeownership is possible.


Assistance Programs

Perhaps the biggest opportunity individuals and families have when pursuing affordable homeownership is taking advantage of one of the many different assistance programs.  

Did you know there are down payment assistance programs, forgivable grants, and loan programs specifically designed to help first-time homebuyers bridge the gap to homeownership? Several of these programs have 3 to 1 matching programs, meaning that if you save a $1,000, the program will match $3,000 toward your closing costs.

These funds go a long way in helping families purchase their first home.

Eligibility is based on income. Don’t let that deter you. Many families qualify who think thought their income would disqualify them. For example, a family of four making $116,000 would qualify for several of the programs.

Additionally, at NWOC we have invested in creating more affordable housing opportunities in the area. We purchase foreclosed homes needing repair. Once fixed up, we limit the sale to individuals and families in our First-Time Homebuyers Club. These homes are priced to appeal to families looking for affordable options. Additionally, buyers can explore two different assistance programs set up specifically for these houses.

Check out the full guide to loans and programs available.


Biggest Misconceptions

The most common misconception is that you are only a “first-time homebuyer” once. In reality, you are reclassified as a first-time homebuyer after three years of not being on a property title. This means that many individuals who lost their home after the 2008 recession, underwent a foreclosure, or have not owned a home for several years can qualify for the assistance programs.

The other common misconception is that the buyer pays a realtor’s commission fee. This means many new buyers forego using a realtor in an attempt to do it on their own. This puts them at a disadvantage in the process. From determining fair market value to directing you to communities in your budget to negotiating terms to walking you through the buying process, realtors play an important role.

Sellers pay the realtor commissions following the sale of the property. There is no need to not utilize a realtor when home hunting.



Market Competition

It’s a seller’s market. In short, the current market offers fewer properties than interested buyers. Homes move a little quicker and often see multiple offers. For buyers, there will be less flexibility in negotiating a price or getting the seller to cover closing costs. Often times, you will see buyers offer more than the asking price.

That does not mean that it’s not a good time to buy.

Many buyers shy away from searching once they hear the news define current real estate conditions as a seller’s market. While market conditions do play a part in the availability of affordable housing, the most important aspect is if you are home-buying ready. Working with an experienced realtor, you can find properties in your budget. 


Where to Start 

Know you aren’t alone in this process. At NWOC we provide free homebuyer coaching, affordable homebuyer education, assistance in applying for the various first-time buyer programs, experienced realtors to help with the home searching process, and a lending department offering competitive interest rates.

Not only can we help you become home-buying ready, we can help you find affordable options all across Orange County.

No matter where you are in the process, we are here to help. Contact us today to see what options are out there for you and your family.