Howard County

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Homeownership Opportunities

PRE-PURCHASE COUNSELING

We can provide information and guidance for households thinking about the purchase of a home. The Howard County Housing staff will explain credit ratios, credit score, mortgage financing and other factors related to the purchase of a home.

Howard County Housing (HCH) offers a monthly Homebuyer Education Workshop. Individuals and families interested in purchasing a home in Howard County are invited to attend. The Fannie Mae Certificate program provides information to first time home buyers regarding the home buying process and the responsibilities of homeownership. Completion of the course complies with counseling requirements for the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) and the Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) program. Please call to reserve your seat (410) 313–6320.

Howard County has sought to maintain a balance of housing types and housing prices to serve the profile of Howard County residents. Most of the housing is constructed by private entities with no government involvement other than zoning and subdivision regulations.

The County does attempt to directly influence design and price decisions by limited involvement in special homeownership programs. Programs offered:

1. Rehabilitation Loans

Howard County provides loans to homeowners to repair their homes or bring them up to current standards. Loans can be made for sewer and water extensions, new roofs, heating systems or other uses to make a unit decent, safe and sanitary. The program is not funded at this time.

2. Settlement Downpayment Loan Program (SDLP)

Howard County offers loans of up to $40,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance for first-time homebuyers. The interest rate on the loan is 2% below the first mortgage interest rate. Maximum income limits apply. The program is not funded at this time.

3. Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU Program)

The MIHU Program is an inclusionary zoning program that requires developers of new housing in certain districts to sell or rent some of the dwelling units built to households of moderate income. This program offers quality new homes at reduced prices and rents to eligible families. In some instances, County employees receive a preference for the purchase of these homes. Sale prices range from approximately $135,000 for a condominium to $249,000 for a townhouse. Prices vary depending on the size and amenities of the unit. Rents range from $1,147 to $1,774 including utilities. Anyone wishing to purchase an MIHU must fill out an application form during one of the four open enrollment periods held throughout the year – January, April, July and October. MIHU rentals are available throughout the year.

4. Housing Choice Voucher

The Housing Choice Voucher for Homeownership Program offers loans of up to 95% of the property value. Howard County Housing issues Choice Vouchers for this program.

Families participating in the Homeownership Program must be in good standing, and have been a program participant for at least 2 years. The family must also have participated in the Family Self Sufficiency Program for a period of at least 6 months prior to the date of settlement.