Attention Texas Realtors: Tarrant County Aids First-Time Home Buyers with Mortgages

Real Estate Agent with DFW Fine Properties


If you haven't seen or heard this yet, it is a new program in Tarrant County, Texas.

First-time home buyers throughout Tarrant County can tap into a $15 million home mortgage program starting Thursday that helps cover down payments and closing costs.

The program is also available to people who have not bought a house in the last three years.

The home loans, however, must be generated between Thursday and Oct. 1, 2008, by eight mortgage lenders that can draw from the pool administered through the Tarrant County Housing Finance Corp., county officials said.

"This helps young families that don't have the savings to get into their first home," said Patricia Ward, the county's community development director. "It's important to maintain stable communities through homeownership."

The Single Family Mortgage Revenue Bond Program offers several advantages, including:

Low interest rates. The county mortgages are all for 30 years at a fixed interest rate of 6.38 percent, Ward said. That's below the market interest rate of about 6.75 percent, said Judith Smith, one of the participating lenders.

Financial help. Home buyers are given a closing cost and down payment assistance grant of 4.5 percent of the loan, said Brian Cramer, the county's assistant community development director. On a $100,000 loan, for example, the buyer would receive $4,500.

Low down payments. The required down payment is generally between 1 percent and 3 percent of the home's cost, Cramer said. The down payment for a regular market mortgage can range from nothing to 20 percent and sometimes more, Smith said.

To be eligible, a family of two can earn no more than $63,400; a family of three or more, $72,910. And the homes cannot be valued at more than $237,031, officials said.

Residents in Arlington and Grand Prairie are not eligible because those cities don't participate, Ward said. To assist qualified first-time home buyers in Arlington, the Arlington Housing Finance Corp. has been issuing bonds since 1997. Last year the corporation backed $8 million.

The Tarrant County program was last offered in 2005, Ward said. Since then, 111 families have participated. The program is typically offered once every two years, she said.

For more information, call 817-850-7940 or go to

Staff writers Patrick McGee and Susan Schrock contributed to this report.

Home loans

The mortgage companies participating in the program with the Tarrant County Housing Finance Corp.:

Countrywide Home Loans,

Home Loan Corp.,

Judith O. Smith Mortgage,


WR Starkey Mortgage,

DHI Mortgage Co.,

Market Street Mortgage Corp.,

CTX Mortgage Co.,

Comments (6)

Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator
I don't work in Tarrant county anymore, so I was unaware they were bringing this back.  However, what are the payback terms?  Many grants in the different cities have rules that if you're not in the house for 15 years, you have to pay a prorated amount back.  Others are that if you're not in the house for 7 years, you have to pay the entire amount back, not prorated.  There has to be a catch with the amount of time in the house.  Do you know what it is?  Even going through NACA, you must be in the house, owner occupied for at least 4 years before you could turn it into a rental, but you must own it longer, but I forget the amount of time it must be owned.
Jul 10, 2007 03:10 PM
Chris DeSimone
DFW Fine Properties - Southlake, TX
CRS, GRI, Realtor


I have not checked on all the terms yet.  The info was passed along through my broker, and I thought other Tarrant County Realtors would benefit knowing the program is back.  I have gotten on the Tarrant County website where there is more detailed info, but it does not give the answers to your questions.  When I find out more, I will post the additional information.


Jul 10, 2007 03:22 PM
Tom Burris
NMLS# 335055 - Baton Rouge, LA
Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience

I did one of them bond program loans a while back with Tarrant County.

Pain in the behind, but the buyer got a great deal!


Jul 11, 2007 03:32 AM
Chris DeSimone
DFW Fine Properties - Southlake, TX
CRS, GRI, Realtor
Thanks for your input, Tom.
Jul 11, 2007 03:41 AM
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Thanks Chris.  I look forward to learning further detail for the occational lead I get in Tarrant county, so when/if I refer them off, I can point out the program to the other agent as well.

Jul 12, 2007 11:31 AM
Chris DeSimone
DFW Fine Properties - Southlake, TX
CRS, GRI, Realtor


As soon as I get a chance to learn more, I will definitely let you know!!

Jul 12, 2007 11:54 AM