Federal program makes students homeowners

Owning a town house in Tallahassee has taught Cortney Surrency, 21, a third-year pharmacy student from Jacksonville, a lot about responsibility. “It is my house and I really appreciate that,” Surrency said. Surrency lives in a town house she co-owns with her aunt. Surrency splits the payment of the mortgage with two other roommates, who are also college students. “I decided to buy a home so I could earn interest off the house and receive a profit when I decide to sell,” she said. Surrency said she and her aunt purchased their home with assistance of the Federal Housing Administration’s Kiddie Condo Loan Program. According to the FHA Web site, www.fhainfo.com, the Kiddie Condo Program is available to college students or recent graduates. It is a type of mortgage program that allows a person to co-borrow with a blood relative, using their relative’s credit history and scores. The program allows the title of the property and the loan to be in both of the owners’ names. While in college, most students rent units from apartment complexes, or rent rooms in privately owned homes. It is easier to get approved for these types of rentals than to purchase a home. The FHA in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development ensures the mortgage through this program, but it does not actually finance the mortgage, explained an operations specialist for HUD. There are many benefits to purchasing a home through the FHA Kiddie Condo Program. One of the benefits that makes this program affordable is that participants only have to pay a minimum three percent of the purchase price as a down payment. Tax benefits include deducting mortgage interest and real estate taxes on the Federal Income Tax return. Typically, the houses purchased through the Kiddie Condo Program are resold. Layla Dotson is a recent graduate of FAMU who purchased a home through the Kiddie Condo Program while she was in college. Dotson sold that home to help put a down payment on her new condo in Cincinnati where she is currently employed. “Owning the home while in college helped build my credit, which in return helped me receive a mortgage loan for my new home with lower interest rates than most recent graduates my age,” Dotson said. Surrency said she may consider selling her home after graduation like Dotson did, but for right now she plans to keep the home she purchased even after graduation. She said she would try to rent it out to family members and friends that will be attending college in this area. The FHA Kiddie Condo Program is a national program sponsored by the federal government that has helped many students like Dotson and Surrency become homeowners. “It (the program) is a well-kept secret,” Surrency said.