As the housing market in the Bay Area continues to increase in price, low-income families rarely experience the dream of homeownership. In order to help low-income families realize this dream, OHA is pleased to offer the Section 8 Homeownership Program to eligible Section 8 families.
See the S8 Homeownership Program Brochure for OHA's program description.
What are the eligibility requirements for the S8 Homeownership Program?
Do I have to be on Section 8 to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program?
What if I'm not on Section 8 but I want to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program?
Can I participate in OHA's S8 Homeownership Program if I have a Voucher from another Housing Authority?
Do I have to be working full-time to buy a home?
If I'm elderly or disabled am I eligible for the S8 Homeownership Program?
How do I get started with OHA's S8 Homeownership Program?
How long will it take me to buy a home under the S8 Homeownership Program?
Do I have to have savings to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program?
Do I have to attend homeownership counseling?
Will I have to do annual re-examinations of my income?
How do I get a mortgage loan?
How does credit affect my ability to purchase a home?
Do I need a downpayment?
I'm having a hard time saving money towards a downpayment, is there anyone
that can help me?
Are there downpayment assistance programs that can help me?
Do I need extra money in addition to a downpayment?
How much money will I receive from OHA?
Do I have to buy a home in Oakland?
Do I get to choose the home I buy?
Am I guaranteed a home under the S8 Homeownership Program?
What's the Next Step?
See the S8 Homeownership Program Brochure for eligibility requirements.
Yes. You must be a participant of the OHA Section 8 program to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program.
Unfortunately, you must already have a Section 8 Voucher in order to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program. How can I apply for Section 8?
You should contact your current Housing Authority first. Your Housing Authority may offer a S8 Homeownership Program but their requirements may be different from ours. If you are interested in buying a home in Oakland, you must first port to OHA before you can participate in our S8 Homeownership Program.
If you are not elderly or disabled, you must be employed full-time* for one year before you are eligible for the S8 Homeownership Program. In many cases, banks and lenders will be looking for at least 2 years full-time work experience to qualify you for a mortgage loan.
If you are not working full-time but you want to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program, consider joining OHA's Family Self-Sufficiency Program to get help finding full-time employment. Additionally, the Family Self-Sufficiency Program can help you with savings, another requirement under the S8 Homeownership Program.
*Note: Full-time employment = at least 30 hours/week.
Yes. Elderly and disabled clients are able to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program. If you are elderly or disabled you do not have to be working full-time but you are required to have savings up to the amount allowable under social security guidelines. Click here for Social Security guidelines.
Note: You are considered elderly if you are 62 years or older. You are considered disabled if you meet the federal definition in Title 24 Section 5.403(b) of the Code of Federal Regulations. Click here for the federal regulations.
If you are not able to print the S8 Homeownership Program Questionnaire, call 510-874-1540 to receive the questionnaire by mail.
Each client will achieve homeownership in his or her own time. Each client has different financial histories, credit, debt, savings, and family circumstances. For this reason the S8 Homeownership Program does not have a specific timeline for you. If you are eligible, you will work with the homeownership coordinator and a homeownership counseling agency to become pre-approved for a mortgage loan through a bank.
Here are the basic steps in the S8 Homeownership Program:
- Read the S8 Homeownership Program Brochure
- Fill out and mail in the S8 Homeownership Program Questionnaire
- Orientation: based on your eligibility to participate in the S8 Homeownership Program, you will be invited to an orientation. Orientations are held approximately once every 2 months. The orientation is a chance to learn about the program and ask questions.
- Homeownership Counseling: once you have completed the orientation, you will be referred by the S8 Homeownership Program Coordinator to a homeownership counseling agency that works with the S8 Homeownership Program.
- Education: the homeownership counseling agency will work with you on credit, budget, savings, and getting prepared to be approved for a mortgage loan. You are required to complete a homebuyer education workshop. If you need time to work on your credit, debt and savings, it may be necessary for you to participate in a financial literacy course in addition to a homebuyer education workshop.
- Mortgage Loan: after completing the education course(s), your homeownership counselor will work with you on preparing documents for a mortgage loan. Once you are deemed mortgage ready by the S8 Homeownership Program Coordinator, you will be able to go to a lender to get a mortgage loan pre-approval.
- Housing Search: once you have your mortgage loan pre-approval you will be able to work with a real estate agent to find a home in Oakland.
Yes, you must have at least 3% of the purchase price of a home in Oakland for a downpayment. 1% of the purchase price must come from your own savings and cannot be a gift or a grant. The other 2% can come from a gift or grant.
Note: 3% of the purchase price is the minimum amount of savings you must have. You will have a better chance of purchasing a home in Oakland if you have more than 3% saved.
Example: If you are trying to purchase a home for $300,000, you must have AT LEAST $3,000 saved towards a downpayment and $6,000 from other resources.
Purchase price: $300,000
1% of Purchase Price: $3,000
2% of Purchase Price: $6,000
Total 3% of Purchase Price: $9,000
In addition there may be other expenses that you will have to pay. For example, it is necessary under the S8 Homeownership Program to get an inspection of the home as well as an appraisal, each of which cost about $350.
Note: Elderly and disabled families who receive social security benefits must save the maximum amount allowable under social security guidelines. Click here for Social Security guidelines.
Yes. Homeownership Counseling is a requirement for the S8 Homeownership Program. Once you are a participant of the program you will be referred to a local homeownership counseling agency. If you would like further information on Oakland Homeownership Counseling agencies, click here.
Yes, because we calculate the homeownership assistance in the same way as under the Section 8 program, it is necessary for OHA to re-examine your income annually.
You will be responsible for securing your own mortgage financing. This means that you will have to be pre-approved for a mortgage loan by a lender/bank. The lender will look at income, credit history, employment history, debt and savings. Homeownership counselors will assist you in preparing to be approved for a loan.
Good credit is a critical part of getting approved for a mortgage through a lender or bank. Lenders want to see that you have demonstrated that you can pay your bills, credit cards payments, and any other loans on time. Click here for credit counseling and money management resources.
Yes. You need a minimum of 3% of the purchase price of the home. Click here for information on savings requirements.
Homeownership counselors and/or credit counselors can help you with budgeting. Click here for credit counseling and money management resources.
Also, if you are not working, feel like your job does not pay very well, or want to get training for a new job, check out OHA's Family Self Sufficiency Program. In addition to helping you find a job or get training, the FSS program can also help you with savings that can be used as a downpayment on a home.
the S8 Homeownership Program Coordinator will help you find downpayment assistance programs that are appropriate for you. Downpayment assistance (loans and grants) are not a substitute for personal savings. You must also have personal savings that can be used towards a downpayment. Click for information on savings requirement.
Yes. You will most likely need money for additional fees, called closing costs, that must be paid at the time you purchase a home. These fees include loan fees, title and escrow fees, insurance costs, etc. These fees usually cost a few thousand dollars. You will also need money for an appraisal and a home inspection, each of which cost about $350.
OHA's monthly homeownership assistance is calculated in the same manner as the assistance under the Section 8 program. The homeownership assistance is based on the difference between 30% of your total household income and your homeownership expenses.
You must purchase a home in the City of Oakland if you are participating in OHA's S8 Homeownership Program. If you wish to buy in another city you must first port to the Housing Authority for that area. Keep in mind that other Housing Authorities will have different the S8 Homeownership Program requirements.
Yes, you are able to choose any home in the City of Oakland as long as your mortgage loan is large enough to afford the purchase price. You are required to get an appraisal and an inspection of the home you are purchasing to make sure it is worth the price. OHA does not have houses for sale-you are responsible for finding a home in Oakland that meets your needs.
Please keep in mind that because of the very high cost of housing in the City of Oakland, you may be eligible for the S8 Homeownership Program but you may not be able to afford a home, even with the homeownership assistance. If you are interested in the S8 Homeownership Program, OHA encourages you to work to fix any credit and debt problems, increase your savings, and, if you haven't done so already, sign up for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
Click here to find out about OHA's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program.