Many home buyers think the house they really want is simply out of reach financially.
Some local families are finding out they can buy more house than they thought they could afford.
In this Money Alert - Paula Toti tells us about a program that helps buyers take advantage of money trickling down from the federal government.
It's called CHIP money ... Community Housing Improvement Program.
It's aimed at first time home buyers ... but in this case it means someone who hasn't owned a home in three years ... or a single parent.
It was perfect for the Taulbee family of Lebanon.
A big yard for the kids to play ... new bedrooms ... and just a great home for a military dad ... and his family of five. After a tour in Iraq and nine years in the military Charles Taulbee was having a tough time finding a job in civilian life that paid enough to afford the Warren County housing market.
"They give you a pat on the back and appreciate your service, but that's as far as it goes."
But the Taulbees got more than a pat on the back from a program in their county that helps low to moderate income families.
"Who need a hand up, the program is not a hand out, it's a hand up."
It's for families that are having to stretch to get a mortgage. The county provides a second mortgage to help them get a home ... gap financing ... the difference between what they can afford and what the house costs.
"It's a zero percent interest loan, deferred payments up to about $30,000."
Programs like this benefit the whole neighborhood. A lot of homes are in foreclosure right now. Programs like this help families come in, fix them up and stay.
In fact often the houses need fixing up ... and families have the option of doing some of that work themselves.
"We replaced all the flooring in the home, minus some linoleum, all the carpet, some hardwood."
That sweat equity helped lower the cost of that second mortgage. The federal government will finance programs like this for homes up to $200,000. In Warren County the limit is $165,000.
"It's a fantastic program."
The Taulbees agree ..
"We didn't think we'd get anything near this house."
If you're interested in a program like this, ask a lender in your area if there is a CHIP program available ... or any special programs for first time buyers. Each county can choose to administer the program with slightly different requirements. for the program we just saw you have to live or work in Warren County. The program is administered by a group called Warren County Balanced Housing. For more information, call 513-695-2266.