Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: Getting on Track to Purchase a Home

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: Getting on Track to Purchase a Home

Article excerpt

Christina Pirtle wanted to buy a house. She had moved back to Topeka with her 12 year-old son after a divorce and secured a job at the Washburn University financial aid office. Even though she was renting a home, her ultimate goal was home ownership.

To make Pritle's dream a reality, she signed up for help through Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. Founded in 1972, HCCI provides financial counseling, homebuyer services, educational programs, and tenant/landlord counseling to area residents. Chief Operating Officer Marilyn Stanley said, "Most people seek us out because they are looking into buying a house. We work with them to help them pay off credit debt or to establish credit."

Pirtle contacted HCCI to get her credit in good standing so she could qualify for the Topeka Opportunity to Own (TOTO) program. Designed to help low and middle income residents become homeowners, the TOTO program provides educational, financial and home rehab assistance.

Those in the TOTO program will receive a mortgage through a participating lender, either Capital City Bank or CoreFirst Bank and Trust, with the Federal Home Loan Bank covering the closing costs. The City of Topeka Housing and Neighborhood Development provides up to $20,000 towards home repairs and purchase costs, or up to $30,000 for a house located in one of four "opportunity areas" in the city.

To qualify for TOTO, potential homeowners must:

- Have $500 to put towards the down payment.

- Buy a home in the Topeka city limits.

- Choose a house with a sale price less than $65,000.

- Own no other real estate at the time of closing.

- Have good credit.

- Go through a budget evaluation to determine if they can afford to buy the house.

- Attend 12 hours of home buyer and maintenance training. …

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