Joliet housing Expo deemed a “big success”

Brock A. Stein | 4/13/2016, 1:56 p.m.
250 people attended the housing expo in Joliet on Saturday which included everything attendees needed to know to become first ...

158 families and around 250 people attended Joliet’s housing expo on April 9.

For many of the attendees, the show, with its 36 vendors and myriad resources, was a first step toward the purchase of their very first homes. The show included the most up to date lists of the homes available in the area as well as information on community amenities like schools, libraries, and public transportation.

Gideon Blustein of the Three Rivers Association of Realtors, called the event a “big success” noting many who attended came away with a better idea of what questions to ask and “how to be a prepared and educated home buyer.”

The event’s partners included the city of Joliet as well as the Will County Center for Community Concerns.

The event included representatives from several local realty offices and banks with presentations from housing experts and opportunities to ask questions.

“I think the highlight though was the housing tour after the expo,” he said.

He said a group boarded a bus and toured several areas including the cathedral district in Joliet and saw homes ranging in price from $130,000 to 196,000.

He said, “It was clear we had accomplished the goal of giving people the tools they needed,” when he heard the questions people were asking afterward.

“They were asking really, really smart questions, informed questions about the home purchasing process,” said Blustein.

This past fall, the city committed just over $650,000 for the Joliet Down Payment Assistance Program to help low-income home buyers looking to purchase a home within the city limits. The amount is enough to potentially help up to 40 homebuyers.

The program covers all of Joliet, including those parts in Kendall County as well as parts in Plainfield, Lockport, and New Lenox.

The program helps families with assistance on their overall, long term payments for a home and includes loan forgiveness options that last 5, 10, and sometimes 15 years, depending on the amount of the loan.

The program gives first-time home buyers a zero interest, deferred payment loan secured by a second mortgage, note and recapture agreement with assistance ranging from a $1,000 minimum to a maximum based on 17% of a home’s total price.

A homebuyer is required to contribute $2,500 of their own funds toward the purchase.

Properties eligible for the assistance program include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and manufactured housing on a fixed foundation.

The maximum purchase price for an existing home in Joliet in Will County is $209,000 and $171,000 in Kendall County. The limit for a new home in Will County is $250,000 and $234,000 in Kendall under the program.

The subsidies available for home buyers include up to $15,000 that can be forgiven over the course of 5 years and up to $40,000 over 10 years.

A single person household making $42,000 per year can qualify for the program up to an 8-person family making up to $80,000.