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Remodelers in Chicago Working to Finish HomeWise Renovation in Time for Thanksgiving

On hand last month to recognize a HomeWise renovation project in Chicago, representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and NAHB were among those who toured a home that will be sold to a deserving family after it is remodeled.

More than 20 Chicago families, who had entered their names in a lottery for the house, participated in the tour, which was led by the builder who is remodeling it, Dan Griffin, chairman of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago.

“This is the beginning of something great,” said NAHB President Bobby Rayburn. “This home in Chicago is one of the first to be renovated and sold at a discount as part of the HomeWise program.”

Other visitors to the home in Chicago included Doug Sutton, Sr., chairman of the NAHB Remodelors™ Council; Dennis Shea, HUD's assistant secretary of policy development and research; and Jim Linnane, a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage division manager.

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Under the HomeWise program, the National Housing Endowment is purchasing 10 HUD homes across the country and then working with local NAHB Remodelors™ Councils on their renovation using in-kind donations of labor and materials as well as donations of $100,000 from both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Included in the improvements to the three-bedroom house in Chicago, said Griffin, will be new exterior siding, new carpeting, a new kitchen, new bathroom fixtures and a fresh coat of paint throughout the interior.

“It might seem like an easy thing to do — to renovate an older property, spiff it up and get it into the hands of a deserving, counseling-certified family, but let me assure you, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes,” Rayburn said.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the help of all the HomeWise partners, especially the ones at the ground level — the people you will see at work: the participating members of the HBA of Greater Chicago’s Remodelors™ Council and Remodelors™ Council member Dan Griffin,” he said. “Dan and his company, Griffin & Associates, are to be commended for taking on this project. These folks are the experts at taking a property and making it into a true home for the family that’s fortunate enough to move in here.”

To be eligible for the program, families must be first-time home buyers who have completed an approved housing counseling course and earn 80% or less of their area’s median income. Once selected, buyers will be required to sign a 15-year mortgage that is at or below the market rate, for an amount that is one-half of the home’s appraised value. They will also be required to sign a lien for the balance of the appraised value, which will be forgiven if they remain in the home and make timely payments for five years.

According to Griffin, his group hopes to complete the project in time for the winning family to celebrate Thanksgiving in their new home.

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