THDA touts first-time homebuyers program

Posted 7/11/19

Representatives of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency are visiting communities across the state to promote availability and opportunities for potential first-time homeowners.THDA Executive …

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THDA touts first-time homebuyers program


Representatives of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency are visiting communities across the state to promote availability and opportunities for potential first-time homeowners.

THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey was joined by Katie Moore and Wes Bunch in a stop to the offices of the Cleveland Daily Banner Wednesday afternoon.

Perrey was stressing the fact the state agency has become an advocate for home-buyers in the state, and has changed its focus as a service/assistance administrator for all three geographical areas of Tennessee.

Previously, 64% of THDA's services were centralized in the mid-state area around Nashville. Since then, Perrey has spread representatives, and services, to East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee.

Most recently, East Tennessee has obtained 38% of THDA's business, with a healthy chunk of that service in Cleveland and Bradley.

THDA provides loans to potential first-time homebuyers, and provides assistance in maintenance of the borrower's maintenance of the loan and other contributing finances.

"It is a pleasant surprise to many people on how we can help, and the fact they may qualify with one of our lenders," he said.

THDA has pulled all of its lenders in-house, for simplification of process, and the ability to obtain a mortgage loan. 

Perrey added that THDA officials currently see Cleveland and Bradley County as a definite growth area, when compared to other areas across the state.

"We've seen a nice uptick here, as well as some other sections of Tennessee," he said.

He pointed out the state agency attempts to educate potential homebuyers to enable them to be able to own their own home.

Perrey emphasized that becoming a first-time home purchaser can be an intimidating process, and a mission of THDA is to simplify that process and lessen stress.

"Anyone with an interest can go to our website,, and review what we have to offer," said the executive director.

THDA will provide 5% of the purchase price of a new home with one of its mortgage lenders. That's $7,500 on a $150,000 home.

The website also provides information on qualification requirements for potential homeowners, and minimal earnings. Most buyers will be in the $50,000 to $60,000 income bracket for the combined household.

With three or more wage earners, you would need to make approximately $76,000 in annual income to qualify.

"In many instances, you would be paying less on your monthly mortgage than you would be paying in rent," said Perrey.

He added that the statewide average on THDA loans is $58,000 in earnings.

The THDA representatives said the state agency issued about $18,000 in home loans last year (2018) in Bradley County. This was 54% percent more than in 2017.

"We're on pace to do more this year," said Perrey.

Statewide, THDA has 60 to 70 loans in service, which is more than three times the number of mortgage loans the agency was servicing five years ago.

"East Tennessee is now 38% of our service, when it was only 22% percent five years ago," Perrey said in stressing the fact that Southeast Tennessee, has greatly increased in assistance.

"The trend line is good, and we are helping more people purchase their first home," he continued. "We are helping with competitive-rate loans, for 30 years, with no gimmick."

Another emphasis is that THDA continues to service these loans over the ensuing years.

"That's been important to us," Perrey added.

In response to an inquiry, the executive director said THDA also has a specialty product for veterans. He said a rate discount is provided, and the requirement of being a first-time buyer is waived for active and retired military veterans, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserves.

"This is a way for us to pay back for their service to our country," Perrey said.

In closing, the THDA visitors repeated the request for anyone with an interest in a THDA mortgage loan, to go to greatchoice, and review available information. 



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