Clovis News

Low-income Clovis homes require sweat equity

Clovis housing officials are seeking prospective first-time home buyers who can put some sweat equity into a new home -- and qualify financially.

The new houses will be built near Ashlan and Fowler avenues; construction is expected to start in the spring, said Tina Sumner, the city's economic and community development director.

The homes are being built as a joint project with Self-Help Enterprises. To qualify for the program, a family must make less than 80% of moderate income and commit to working 40 hours per week on the home. Income for a family of four must be $45,050 or less.

Families also must qualify to borrow a portion of the sales price and the city's community development agency will carry a second mortgage on the home.

The city has done three other projects with Self-Help dating back to 1991. Two are east of the Clovis Rodeo Grounds, and the newest, which was finished in 2004, is near Herndon and Sunnyside avenues.

The new homes will bring to 77 the number built by the city and Self-Help, said Tom Collishaw, vice president with the Visalia-based nonprofit agency.

Since 1965, Self-Help has built 5,900 homes from Modesto to Bakersfield.

The new homes in Clovis will range from 1,320 square feet to nearly 1,600 square feet. The prices will range from about $180,000 to $210,000 with a 10% discount for sweat equity; homeowners will be able to take out a second mortgage of up to $60,000 through the city, he said.

Owners can sell their homes, but the resale price must remain affordable for new buyers.

The city is now looking for qualified buyers for the Self-Help homes and hopes for a pool of 200 applicants, Sumner said.

Because of the way the rules are written, the city might need 200 applicants to find 17 qualified buyers, she said.

To be qualified, a family must not have owned a home for three years.

Those who do not qualify under the Self-Help rules may be eligible for other city housing programs. The city renovates and buys homes to sell to qualified residents, who in some cases earn 120% of what is considered moderate income, or less than $64,872 annually for a family of four.