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Behind affordable homes, financing package at work

Judith Harlan

Developers of a new, affordable subdivision in north Reno are looking for a few good buyers with incomes low enough to qualify for loans.

The 47-home subdivision Highland Vista will soon be under construction on Emery Drive, off North Virginia Street.

“We’ve been working for a year with the city of Reno,” says Ann Harrington, a principle in Bonanza Homes, LLC, an entity formed with fellow investors CSA Development Corp.,Robert Nielsen, and John Gezlin to develop the property.

A great deal of the work has been lining up a financing package for entry-level buyers.

The package being offered to qualified applicants (but not required) includes down payment assistance with the Washoe County Home Consortium,”patient second mortgages” through Charles Schwab Bank (gap mortgage assistance), along with mortgages through Charles Schwab and mortgages with Wells Fargo.

Of the 47 homes slated for development, 30 are restricted by income and went into a lottery release on Saturday.

This is the first time the group of investors is stepping into single-family homes, says Harrington.

The group’s experience is heavy on apartment packages, and includes development of the Sierra Crest Apartments on Pyramid Highway at Prater Way.

It’s also in development on a senior apartment complex on South Virginia Street near California Ave.

This is the first time it’s run a lottery, but with expectations of as many as 200 applicants for the 30 affordable homes, says Harrington, the group sought to reduce the possibility of buyers camping out on the doorstep.

Doors opened to the lottery on Saturday, from 8 am to noon, and plans were drawn to pull names from a hat today, then to assign numbers.All who sign in get a number and will be notified of their numbers.

“We expect the buyers to be younger,” says Harrington,”first-home buyers in their 20s and 30s.”

All will be required to qualify for loans through conventional, good-credit routes as well as to meet the income restrictions.

The price points on the houses range from $195,000 to $199,250 on the first, restricted release, of the units.

They include three-bedroom homes from 1,399 square feet to 1,510 square feet, and four-bedroom homes at about 1,600 square feet, all on lot sizes that range from 5,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.

After the first restricted release is complete, then the other 17 will go on the block at market rates.

Probably, says Harrington, in the fall.

Meanwhile, building is expected to begin in early fall,with a U.S.

Bank construction loan, designs by Architect George Trowbridge of Reno, and construction by Reno-based Groves- Fischer Inc.

The style of the homes is functional, according to Harrington, and conventional, chosen with an eye to keeping costs under $200,000 for the first round of buyers.