Thursday, July 15, 2010

10 Percent Down Payment Assistance Is Here

This particular house recently sold, but there are many other attractive homes available for purchase in San Bernardino. Buyers making up to $78,000 for a family of four can purchase homes like these with up to 10 percent down payment assistance through a program offered by the San Bernardino Economic Development Association.  Photo by Chris Sloan

(San Bernardino, Calif.) Families making up to $78,000 for a family of four, and more for larger families, qualify for down payment assistance and a low-interest loan from the City of San Bernardino’s Economic Development Agency.
“The best way to get rid of foreclosed homes in San Bernardino is for families to buy them and live in them,” said Emil Marzullo, director of the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency. “ It seems simple, but with home prices down to an average of $70,000 there has never been a better time for families to buy a home.” 
The Homeowners’ Assistance Program provides first time homebuyers with up to 10 percent of the home purchase price. For a $100,000 house that amount would be $10,000; for a $200,000 house the amount is $20,000.
The down payment assistance is a forgivable loan, offered at 3 percent interest.  The loan, plus a portion of the equity, would be due and payable if the homeowner sold or transferred title to another buyer, refinanced to cash out equity, or converted the home to a rental.
Some qualifications are:
1.     Purchase a home within the city limits of San Bernardino.
2.     Make a cash investment of $1,000 towards the purchase price of the home.
3.     Earn less than $78,000 a year for a family of four (120 percent of the Area Median Income adjusted for family size).
Those who can meet the qualifications may attend Homebuyer Education courses offered monthly.
The courses are open to everyone. All or part of the courses are required for borrowers with FHA loans, and for participants in other cities and San Bernardino County’s down payment assistance programs.
“Even if you are not participating in a down payment assistance program, you will want to know the process if you are buying a home,” said Linda Jackson, manager of the Inland Empire NID-Housing Counseling Agency. “Buying a home is probably one of the most important decisions you will ever make.”
With the down payment assistance, the lower cost to potential homeowners can make the difference between affording a home and remaining a renter.
“Lower home prices make housing more affordable,” Marzullo said. “A family making $35,000 a year can afford to buy a $140,000 home.”
 According to Bank of America, with a $7,000 down payment and a 5.298 percent annual interest rate, on a 30-year fixed interest rate loan the payment would be $724.17 monthly.
The San Bernardino County Housing Authority says market rent for a three-bedroom apartment is about $1,425 a month.  That means buying a home with a fixed mortgage so that monthly payments never increase can save a homeowner thousands of dollars a year over rent payments. 
“We also know from experience that this housing price drop won’t last forever. Home values in San Bernardino will appreciate again at a more normal 1 to 3 percent a year.  That increase in home value builds family wealth that can be used in the future for children’s college education or retirement,” said Marzullo.

For more information on the Homeowners’ Assistance Program call the NID-Housing Counseling Agency at (909) 887-8700 or the Neighborhood Housing Service of the Inland Empire, Inc. at (909) 884-6891.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

San Bernardino Celebrates Bicentennial Extravaganza

 A drummer with the band Delayne, James & Friends beats out a tune at the Bicentennial Extravaganza, held July 4, 2010 to celebrate San Bernardino's 200th year. Photo by Matt Sloan

Priscilla Becerra, a winner of the San Bernardino’s Got Talent show in June, entertained again at the Bicentennial Extravaganza with belly dancing. Photo by Chris Sloan

The Inland Empire 66ers Dance Team, which normally entertains at the minor league baseball team’s home games, performed patriotic dance numbers for the Bicentennial Extravaganza. Photo by Chris Sloan

Joe Banuelos, a winner of the San Bernardino’s Got Talent show in June, entertained at the Bicentennial Extravaganza with an impersonation of Elvis Presley. Photo by Matt Sloan

Sinfonia Mariachi Youth  Academy entertained with trumpets and dance at the Bicentennial Extravaganza. Photo by Matt Sloan
Mayor Patrick Morris in a duet with San Bernardino’s Got Talent Winner Joe Banuelos. Photo by Chris Sloan

Naomi Slotkin, a winner of the San Bernardino’s Got Talent show in June, entertained vocally at the Bicentennial Extravaganza. Photo by Matt Sloan
Hindsight 20/20 is a band with local connections and success on the national scene. It returned to San Bernardino for a Bicentennial Extravaganza performance. Photos by Chris Sloan

 San Bernardino ignited a fireworks display the likes of which had never before been seen in the city as the culmination of the Bicentennial Extravaganza celebrating its 200th year. Photo by Matt Sloan

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) – The City of San Bernardino and local businesses hosted the Bicentennial July 4th Extravaganza held at the Arrowhead Credit Union Park. The event was open to the public and featured live music, dance performances, food from local restaurants and a fireworks show.

The entertainment included Sinfonia Mexicana Mariacha Youth Academy, Delayne, James and Friends (R&B Grammy artists), the San Bernardino’s Got Talent award winners (Nadia Bell-Stowers, Joe Banuelos, Kelly Muller, Naomi Slotkin and Priscilla Becerra), Hindsight 20/20, 66ers Dance Team and Austin Law.

 The gates opened at 5 p.m. and guests were able to view a bicentennial slide show of pictures while they awaited the first act, and throughout the night.

Kids were able to enjoy jumpers, slides, a tee-ball carnival game and face painting all provided free of charge.

The Extravaganza was one of many events sponsored by the Bicentennial Committee to help to celebrate San Bernardino’s 200th birthday.

“We were excited to welcome everyone to the Extravaganza and provide a day of fun for the whole family,” said Erin Brinker.

Local sponsors included San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Stater Bros., the Matich Corporation and Vanir Development Company.

Upcoming Bicentennial events include the Stater Bros. Rendezvous, the Western Regional Little League Tournament and the Think Together Bicentennial celebration.

Rabbi Hillel Cohn is the chairman of the Bicentennial Celebration Committee, and Erin Brinker is the chair of its Public Relations & Marketing and Independence Day Extravaganza committees. Other Bicentennial Celebration Committee members are Jim Smith (chair of the Community Engagement committee), Cheryl Brown (chair of the Youth Council, Intergovernmental and Arts committees), Beverly Bird (chair of the Legend of the Arrowhead committee), Steven Shaw (chair of the History committee), David Smith (chair of the Finance committee), Jane Sneddon (chair of the Parade committee) and Martha Pinckney (chair of the Gala committee.) The mayor and members of the San Bernardino Common Council appointed these members.

Additional community volunteers who have taken on leadership of other committees are: Trudy Freidel (Festival of Faiths), Edward Martinez (Leadership Cabinet), Peggi Hazlett (Mayor’s Run), Dr. Charles “Skip” Herbert (Coloring Books for Schools), Karen Blanco (Media) and The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire (Design).

For additional details, contact Erin Brinker at (951) 323-9337 or go to