WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Galesburg Program Helps First-Time Homebuyers

Aug 30, 2016

People without much money and/or a poor credit history might find it difficult to buy a home.  A new program in Galesburg gives them a chance to have a place to call their own.

The program, Project Rebound, completed its first rehab job: a three bedroom, one-and-a-half bath, two story single family house on Grand Avenue.

Carrie McKillip of the University of Illinois Extension, which is running the program, was on hand for a ceremony to mark the occasion.  She called the program a win-win.

“We have properties going back on the tax rolls, people getting into home ownership, and hopefully we're rehabbing some neighborhoods,” McKillip said.

Contractors approved by Project Rebound renovate dilapidated houses to bring them up to code.  They're sold for less than $50,000 to qualified buyers.  Those who are eligible for the program must be first-time homebuyers, have less than perfect credit, and have a low to moderate income.

The homebuyer receives a loan from one of two banks to purchase the house from the contractor. There is no down payment.  Project Rebound estimates homebuyers will have monthly payments of around $400, which includes the mortgage, insurance, and taxes.

The city will  conduct free inspections of the houses. 

McKillip said the program can help younger people find a path to home ownership.

“A lot of our young people that are getting jobs, paying rent, making $12-14 an hour, it’s hard to save money for a down payment. Especially if they’re paying rent at five or six hundred dollars a month,” McKillip said.

McKillip said Project Rebound's goal is to sell at least two houses a year. The program has five people signed up and waiting to find out if they're eligible.