Dear Paula and Liz,
I am a local resident in the Vail Valley and interested in buying my first home. I have heard there are some local funding programs to assist buyers such as myself. I have also heard of a deed restricted funding option and wondering what that means. Do you know what is available and what the criteria is to qualify?
Buyer Seeking Local Funding Sources
You are wise to be inquiring about funding options. There are a number of different local funding programs in the Vail Valley that offer down payment assistance for buyers locally and from out of town. These include Eagle County Down Payment Assistance and two deed restriction programs, MiCasa Avon and Vail InDEED.
A deed restriction is basically an agreement between the property owner and the entity offering the deed restricted program that restricts the property in some way. The restriction is recorded by the entity and remains on the property. For example, the Town of Vail (InDEED) and Town of Avon (MiCasa), both place a deed restriction on properties where they provide funding.
There are different levels of deed restrictions. They can range from having heavier criteria such as a price cap on selling price, to who can purchase, to a more lenient option with the only restriction being the property must be occupied by an Eagle County employee.
The primary objective for all local programs is to provide support and long term housing for the local workforce. Current funding options include:
Eagle County Down Payment Assistance (DPA) – Eagle County offers several options with the common tie that the buyer must live and work in Eagle County and the property must be their primary residence. The down payment loans vary based on different qualifications and requirements.
DPA support ranges from $10,000 to 4.5% of the purchase price depending on the program. Applicants work with an Eagle County lender through the Vail Home Store program to determine which DPA option will work best to fit individual needs.
MiCasa Avon Deed Restriction
This newly developed program provides financial assistance to help 8-10 buyers purchase homes in Avon by end of 2020. Any residential property in the Town of Avon is eligible for support, regardless of price or location, with the caveat the home must be occupied by an Eagle County employee.
Properties can be purchased by local or out-of-market buyers as long as they or a renter is a 30+ hour per week Eagle County employee. Buyers cannot own any other residential property in Eagle County and must be able to come up with a minimum 3% down payment. The total contribution amount from the Town of Avon is between 8% to 12% with a maximum $75,000 contribution.
The Town of Vail’s new deed restriction program was created to incentivize current homeowners, real estate buyers and sellers to deed restrict their property to help the Town meet its 2027 Housing Strategic Plan of acquiring 1,000 deed restricted units by 2027. The goal is to maintain and sustain homes for residents within the community.
This program is open to local and investment buyers who either want to live in the home or rent it as long as it is a primary residence for individuals who work a minimum of 30 hours per week in Eagle County. Funding amounts vary by property and range from 14% to 17% of the value or purchase price. The deed restriction remains with the property for all future property sales.
The Vail InDEED is the most lenient of the three programs for a local buyer seeking funding with no price cap on the value of the home and anyone can apply – an existing homeowner, buyer or investor. The funds can be applied to the home purchase or other use if given to an existing homeowner. The property also becomes exempt from the 1% real estate transfer tax (RETT). Down payment assistance is a percentage off the current value through a process the Town of Vail uses. The property must not already have a deed restriction and it cannot have a first right of refusal for any future sale before it goes on the market.
No matter which program is selected, a local lender familiar with these programs is the best way to go. For more information, a local home buyer seeking funding should see the resource links below.
Best wishes in your funding and home purchase search.
Paula & Liz
Paula Fischer and Liz Hasley are longtime Vail Valley residents and award-winning broker associates with locally owned Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties. Their expertise spans all of Eagle County, from Vail to Gypsum, including micro-market knowledge to assist everyone from first-time buyers to second homeowners to the resort/luxury investor. Liz also brings property management and land acquisition experience. Paula can be reached at 970-376-8400 or paula-at-vailhomes.properties and Liz at 970-401-0071 or liz-at-hasleyrealestate.com.