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Making It in San Diego: Program turns 'sweat equity' into down payment

Posted: 5:31 PM, Nov 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-27 02:32:30Z

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - An enhanced federal mortgage program called Home Possible could turn into an early Christmas present for frustrated home buyers.

Elias Delgado and his wife Margaret rent a home in Normal Heights, and have been on the hunt for their first home for about two years. As they save for a down payment, they've been outbid time after time. 

"I've almost deleted all the real estate apps. It's frustrating. It feels like we're done," said Delgado.

Or maybe not. Enter Freddie Mac and a just-announced boost for home buyers. The expanded Home Possible mortgage program allows buyers to roll up their sleeves and turn their sweat equity into their down payment. The program allows borrowers to buy materials and do work themselves on the property before it closes, turning the appraised value of the makeover costs into the down payment. 
    
There are income restrictions, but there is no limit to the amount that can be applied to the down payment. The program targets low-to-middle-income areas and aging homes.

"Anytime you can get someone into a home and fix it up they take pride in ownership. It helps other people on the block just brings values to more communities," said Dwaine Smith of Lepe Tendwell Properties.

One potential buyer planning to sign up is Delgado. "I'm handy enough. I've done tiling, roofing, drywall. The Great American Dream is getting harder and harder. Anything that can help us finally own a home - that'd be great," said Delgado.