Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you offer the FHA Back to Work Program?
The counseling and education services offered by the Portland Housing Center do meet the requirements of the FHA Back to Work Program. This program was designed to help homebuyers who previously experienced a foreclosure or a pre-foreclosure event as a result of a severe reduction in income. This program allows borrowers who meet certain requirements to apply for an FHA mortgage. Please note that the counseling requirement of the Back to Work Program must be completed no less than 30 days prior to applying for a mortgage. For more information on back to work, read HUD's Mortgagee Letter on the program. To get started with the Back to Work Program, please register for services. Please indicated in the "Additional Comments" section that you are seeking Back to Work counseling.
How do I register for Portland Housing Center services?
Registration is the first step in accessing Portland Housing Center's services. Registration can be done online, or by printing our registration form (in English or Spanish), and returning it to our office. There is a non-refundable $99 due at registration. Once you complete your registration we'll ask you some questions to help determine your next step in the homebuying process, which could include scheduling a class or a one on one meeting with a HomeBuying Specialist.
Where can I find out about money to buy a house?
At Portland Housing Center! Financial assistance to buy your first home can take several forms: grants, assistance in the form of low rate loans, and matched savings programs. Learn more about these types of programs.
Isn’t 20% down required to get a mortgage loan?
No. Portland Housing Center has down payment assistance programs that make 100% financing an option. Other loan programs require as little as 3.5% down payment. We'll help you evaluate what you can borrow, and connect you to the loan program that makes sense for you.
Don’t I need top-notch credit to qualify for a mortgage loan company?
Though the industry overall has tightened credit criteria, our lending practices have not dramatically changed. Talk to us and see where you stand. If your credit is a challenge, Portland Housing Center will work with you to help improve it, increasing your options and eligibility for a mortgage loan that meets your home-buying needs.
Are down payment assistance programs still available?
Yes. Portland Housing Center has down payment assistance programs that range from a matched savings grant program (the Individual Development Account, or IDA) to the Mortgage Assistance Program. That means 100% financing is still an option for Portland Housing Center customers.
What is the Individual Development Account (IDA) or Matched Savings Program?
The IDA program helps eligible buyers save for down payment and/or closing costs. To be eligible borrowers must be at or below 80% of the Portland area median income, complete the Financial Fitness class and schedule an appointment to discuss eligibility. Please call (503) 282-7744 for more information.
How do I order a new credit report?
When you register, Portland Housing Center will obtain your credit report as part of your initial home buyer assessment. If you ask us to do so while participating in our program, we will obtain another copy of the report. However, we will charge you for the cost associated with obtaining the new report.
Does Portland Housing Center work with lenders and Realtors™?
Yes. Portland Housing Center has a panel of “Participating Lenders and Realtors™.” These are financial and real estate professionals who have been thoroughly screened by Portland Housing Center. All panel members have demonstrated a passion for working with Portland Housing Center’s first-time buyers.
Where can I get a list of Portland Housing Center Participating Lenders & Realtors™?
The list is available here.
How can a professional become a Portland Housing Center Partner?
Portland Housing Center collaborates with select lenders, real estate agents, and home inspectors. We have the highest quality standards for our partners, and reserve our partner relationship for professionals who can demonstrate that they are committed first-time home buyer experts who will take the time to meet the needs of our buyers. Please email questions about Portland Housing Center Partners to the Deputy Director, or call her at (503) 797-4023. Annually Portland Housing Center accepts applications to join the Partner Realtor list. When the application process is open these applications are available here.
Don’t see your question? Contact us at (503) 797-4010 to get your questions answered.