How to Apply to Whatcom County Housing

  1. Determine your eligibility and willingness to commit to the model.
    You are eligible if you meet the six criteria listed below. Kulshan CLT advises you to read through the entire qualification and application process to determine your willingness to complete all steps, including paying all fees. You are eligible if you meet the following six criteria:
    1. Minimum residency: You must currently live in and have lived in Whatcom County for at least a year OR you must currently work and have worked in Whatcom County for at least or year.
    2. Income: You must earn less than 80% of the median income for the county for your household size. In 2001 the maximum gross income by family size is as follows:
      However, you must also earn enough to pay your monthly mortgage, taxes, utility costs and insurance. Proof of income is required as part of the application to Kulshan CLT.
    3. Credit Rating: You must have a good credit rating showing no significant delinquencies in the past year and no bankruptcy in the past three years. A credit report is required as part of your application to Kulshan CLT. You must supply your own credit report.
    4. Debt: At the time you apply for a mortgage, your total monthly debt payments (including the cost of your house) may not exceed 38% of your income. Debt includes any long-term obligations (a repayment period of more than 6 months), such as automobile payments, child support and student loans, plus the minimum monthly payment for all credit card debts. Kulshan CLT can help you determine this percentage during your initial screening interview. Generally, however, monthly debt obligations of more than $200-$300 in addition to housing costs will make it difficult for you to qualify.
    5. Employment and ability for homeownership: You must have proof of steady employment or income for at least one year. Sources of income include all wages, overtime and tips; interest and dividends; social security, annuities, pensions; unemployment, disability and severance compensation; alimony and child support; and most forms of public assistance. Self-employed individuals must demonstrate proof of earnings with tax returns for the past two fiscal years.
    6. Assets: If you have net assets exceeding $10,000 in value, they must be used toward housing. Assets include savings, land, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, boats, art collections or similar items. Not included in the calculation of asset value are household possessions, cars, tools, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s) or pensions.
  2. Attend an introductory community land trust orientation.
    KCLT staff will explain the land trust concept, the purpose and mission of Kulshan CLT and the resale formula.
  3. Submit application to KCLT.
    Complete and submit a Homeowner Application with membership fee (if you are not already a member) and an application fee. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to request an application.
  4. Attend a Homebuyer Education Class.
    Kulshan CLT offers a 6-hour homebuyer education class. This class will give you the basic tools to move through the homebuyer process with knowledge and comfort.
  5. Receive and acknowledge receipt of a Letter of Intent from Kulshan CLT.
    This letter is a statement of understanding and a declaration of Kulshan CLT’s commitment to work with you. This letter also includes a statement of the subsidy amount that you are eligible for through Kulshan CLT’s HomeBuyer Driven Program. You will pay a commitment fee when you return your letter of receipt. Once your acknowledgment of receipt is received you will be placed on the list of approved buyers.
  6. Meet with a loan officer to be pre-qualified for a mortgage.
    At this point, there are specific banks that have approved the Kulshan CLT model. Although it may be tempting to work with other lenders, it might mean you would have to do this step twice. We are always willing to work with new lenders, but it may take them some time to approve the program.
  7. Review the Ground Lease with a lawyer.
    You will need to meet with a lawyer to ensure you completely understand the Ground Lease Agreement, particularly the resale formula. It is a legally binding agreement. We want to make sure you are protected.
  8. Shop for a home.
    We recommend that you use a realtor, because they are the experts at finding houses. At this point, because you will know your budget, you will be able to look for a house within your price range that meets Kulshan CLT guidelines. As a buyer, you generally pay no realtor fees, unless you are purchasing a home “for sale by owner”. Click here to view Site Selection Criteria.
  9. Make an offer on a house and proceed to closing.
    Complete the necessary paper work and file the necessary fees to purchase a home with Kulshan CLT’s assistance.

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