Using Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers to Purchase a Home

Calendar Icon Updated January 15, 2019
Section 8

Some Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) administer a Homeownership Voucher program. Through these programs, families can use Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers toward mortgage payments on a home. The home being purchased must meet the same standards as a home being rented under the Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program as well as pass an independent home inspection to be covered.

To apply and move, a family must uphold the guidelines of a current lease agreement and give their landlord proper notice before moving. This means you are not allowed to break a lease before its end date in order to move into a newly purchased home.

In addition to meeting eligibility requirements of the Housing Choice (Section 8) program, Homeownership Voucher program applicants must meet additional eligibility requirements before being enrolled. Families must be first time homebuyers and attend homeownership counseling. Topics include: money management and budgeting, home maintenance, financial literacy, credit, how to find a home and more. The program is tailored to meet each families needs.

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In addition, to be eligible, the potential homeowner’s yearly income must be equal to or greater than 2,000 times the federal minimum hourly wage ($14,500 as of 2015) and be employed full time. Local PHAs have the authority to increase this income limit and implement additional legibility requirements for the Homeownership Voucher program in their area.

The family purchasing a new home is responsible for securing the home loan. Your PHA may be able to refer you to a partner lender. They may also establish certain guidelines regarding lending, including screening potential lenders, prohibiting certain types of loans, setting minimum down payment standards, etc. If a PHA determines a family cannot afford the debt associated with the purchase of a new home or refinancing of a current home within the program, they can reject the proposed financing.

The Homeownership Voucher program includes an assistance time limit of 15 years for homes with a mortgage of 20 years or more. In all other instances, a 10-year time limit is implemented. These limits do not apply to families whose head of household is elderly or disabled. The amount of voucher assistance available through the Homeownership Voucher program is equal to that given through Housing Choice (Section 8) Voucher program as — the payment standard (based on average market rents/mortgage payments of similar homes) minus 30% of the household’s income.

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