You are eligible to purchase a GFCLT home when you meet the following criteria:
- Residency: Applicant must be an adult (18+) resident, or intended resident of Grand Forks County.
- First-time Homebuyer: Applicant must fall into one of the following categories:
- Individual/family has never previously purchased a home.
- Individual/family has not owned a home in the past three years.
- Previous homeowner no longer owns home due to divorce, death, domestic violence, or other major change in composition of heads of household approved by GFCLT.
- Previous homeowner has been displaced by a natural disaster within the last 5 years.
- Individual/family has never purchased a trailer permanently located on family-owned land.
- Income: Your total household income cannot be above 120% of the area median income. We may be able to provide additional assistance to households earning at or below 80% of area median income. Please note household size is based on the number of full-time (over 50%) household occupants regardless of age and income.
Grand Forks County 2020 Area Median Incomes
- Ability to qualify for a mortgage: GFCLT does not provide financing of homes but refers buyers to local participating lenders. Though highly subject to change, in order to qualify for a mortgage you typically need to meet the following criteria:
- Credit: You should have a good credit rating (620 or higher) with no recent bankruptcies. We can help you determine your current credit score and discuss ways to improve it.
- Debt: Lenders determine your allowable total monthly housing payment including the principal, interest, taxes and insurance on a home mortgage (typically restricted to 25% of your gross monthly income). On the back end, buyers are restricted to a 36% debt-to-income ratio. Debt includes your monthly minimum credit card payments, car payments, student loans and your new housing payment. GFCLT staff can help you calculate this percentage during your initial meeting. Generally, monthly debt of more than 10% monthly income in addition to housing costs may make qualification more difficult.
- Employment: You should have proof of steady employment or income for at least the past year.
- Assets: If you have net assets exceeding $20,000 in value, they must be used toward income determination. Assets include savings, land, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, boats, etc. This doesn’t include household possessions, cars, IRAs, pensions or any investment that would have a penalty for withdrawing the money early. This also means you cannot continue owning any other real estate.
- Cash contribution requirement: GFCLT requires a minimum cash contribution from households of $2,000. Depending on subsidy available at the time of purchase, you will also be required to pay some or all of your closing costs. GFCLT will be able to give you a better picture of the cash you’ll need to have to purchase during our initial meeting.
- Willingness to own a home through our program: GFCLT homeownership is very similar to market-rate homeownership, but it’s also different in very important ways. Community land trust buyers agree to receive a portion of the home’s appreciation at resale, limiting their equity in the home. CLT owners also agree to inform the CLT of any significant changes made to the home (those that require a permit). When considering the spectrum of housing, community land trusts fall between renting and ownership. GFCLT staff will work with you to ensure your understanding of the unique aspects and goals of our program.