RICHMOND (WRIC)—Many first-time homebuyers are depending on grants to purchase their houses, but funding for those programs is in limbo; Tuesday's government shutdown means they'll have to start over from scratch.
First-time homebuyer Kelly Mateo and her twins are house hunting. She qualifies for what's known as a home loan to help with closing costs. The government shutdown could mean the difference between Mateo owning and renting a home.
"My concern is that I will not be able to purchase a home for me and my children," Mateo said. "I am a first-time homebuyer. I am a divorced, single mother, so I do need help. I mean, I don't have $10-, $15-, $20,000 just sittin' around."
Mateo's real estate agent says most of her clients are first-time buyers, but they aren't the only ones who could lose out. For those considering a VA or FHA loan, no budget for the federal government means no loan money.
"It's not fair because these homebuyers, if they have a lease, it'll affect their leasing situation," said Joie Boykins of East Coast Realty & Relocation. "If they have to tell their landlord, ‘I was going to be out the end of the month, but being to the government, I can't be out in time.'"
Boykins says those who have already been approved for grants or certain loans don't have to worry, because the federal government has already put the necessary funds aside. But for everyone else, even just a one-day shutdown could create a major backlog.
"Me personally, I would tell the lawmakers to come and walk a day in my shoes," Mateo said. "Maybe they would realize what it's like to struggle in America and still try to achieve the American dream."
"As a real estate agent, we don't get paid until the deal closes," Boykins said. "I think that's what we need to do—make the government work on commission sometimes."
Another potential downside to the government shutdown is if buyers are locked into a low-interest rate and their grant money falls through, they could end up with a higher rate if they have to start the process all over again.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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