The nation's largest home mortgage lender is trying to jump-start the housing market by offering up some serious cash to help potential buyers make their down payments.
While it may sound too good to be true, community leaders say the NeighborhoodLIFT program is the real deal. Wells Fargo has set aside $9 million to help potential home buyers in the Twin Cities, and those who act fast could be eligible for $15,000.
Despite low mortgage rates and home values, many would-be buyers still can't take the plunge because of limited income in a strapped job market.
"With credit tightening, people have the credit scores in most cases, but they may not have the cash for the down payment that is now being required," explained Glennis Ter Wisscha, of Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis -- which helps people find assistance. "The idea is that this money will help stimulate the housing market."
Now, community leaders say they are encouraged by the new program, which is being offered in several cities that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. Qualified home buyers are eligible for a $15,000 grant to use as a down payment.
"NeighborhoodLIFT was designed to help people buy homes, whether they're first-time home buyers or whether they're re-entering the market," explained Dave Kvamme, CEO of Wells Fargo, MN. "It gives homeowners the opportunity to leverage, to help move inventory."
To qualify, a family of four would have to earn less than $100,000 a year, and the grant may be forgiven if they stay in the home for five years.
The program is already raising hopes for many who put their dreams of buying a home on hold, and Wells Fargo urges anyone who is interested in the program to attend a free workshop on Friday and Saturday at the Minneapolis Convention Center to find out if you qualify. So far, more than 600 people have already registered.