I am frequently asked: “Did Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) work for you?”
NACA is a company that I first learned about from a credit counselor my husband and I were seeing. We sought out credit counseling to improve our finances in order to purchase a home. A credit counselor can tell you which debts to prioritize or how to help improve your credit – but they seldom advise you on how to properly budget. This will be important later.
I researched NACA online and saw they were hosting a seminar about 20 minutes away that would take place in about 2 weeks. (At the time, my husband and I were not married yet and were living with our respective families.) It is crucial to sign up for those workshops, as you cannot begin the NACA process without attending a seminar.
My husband (should I call him fiancé? That’s what he was at the time. Fiancé. Let’s do that…) My fiancé and I arrived a couple minutes late. I’ll be honest… I gave him hell, as I despise being late, especially since I had NO idea what to expect. The seminar we attended was held in the summer of 2013. We signed-in and several NACA volunteers wearing BRIGHT yellow shirts handed out large booklets to everyone. The seminar was held in a gymnasium. Folding chairs and portable bleachers were set-up in the middle of the court, as well as a screen for a presentation. The poor acoustics in the gymnasium made it difficult to hear the short video clips that were played, and I’m sure it was worse for those sitting in the back. Additionally, the projector was not designed for such a large space and the presentation was difficult to see. I recommend, if you are attending a NACA seminar, get there early and sit close to the front!
The presentation began with the creation of NACA and who they are. I’ll admit—it was a bit cheesy and “cheerleadery.” (Cheerleadery. Cheerleader-y. I know it isn’t a word, but it fits people! Just stay with me here…) Anywho. Then, they got into the guts of the program: the requirements, how their mortgage plan works, and the steps to qualify. This is not your normal mortgage program. It is EXTREMELY structured. EXTREEEEEMELY. Yet, the benefits, if you work hard enough to qualify, are absolutely worth it. I mean it.
Now, while you are there, don’t you DARE think about leaving early and that you are slick enough to sneak out and still get credit for attending. Yes. I said credit. You cannot begin the NACA process without having attended the workshop in full. How will they know you left early? Easy… you must complete a registration form that is given only at the end of the seminar to receive your NACA ID number and this is required to initiate the NACA process. And no, you cannot arrive late either. I believe they close registration about 15 minutes after the presentation begins. Without turning in that registration sheet you will not have proof that you attended, and that form is collected at the VERY end of the presentation.
“So what, Angie? I can sit for a quick presentation. It isn’t a big deal.”
Well, the seminar wasn’t exactly quick. When I registered for the seminar it was scheduled for FOUR hours on a Saturday morning. Yup. FOUR hours. Saturday morning. It was a sacrifice; however, my husband and I very much wanted a home of our own and we felt it was well worth the investment if it got us to our end goal.
The seminar we attended did not last the entire four hours. The presenters were organized, limited the number of questions they answered in front of the group and asked for those with further questions to save them for the end of the seminar.
Now, remember that booklet I mentioned? Crucial. Vital. I can’t stress this enough. About 95% of all questions are answered in that booklet. It described, in detail, the mortgage product NACA offers. It also has all of the requirements and rules including: “What if I have had a previous foreclosure?”, or “what if I have current medical debt?”
I don’t remember all of the specifics; that is what the workshop is for. But I can tell you, that while there are rules, they are not as restrictive as most FHA/conventional type mortgages.
Some BENEFITS of the NACA Program are listed below. (Please keep in mind that this post is being written as of May 2015. All of these items are subject to change, and I insist that you visit the NACA website for more information. I am only sharing with you what I learned through my own personal experience.)
So, I’m just going to bullet point these for you. Why? Cause they are so major that they will speak for themselves.
- No Down Payment
- No Closing Costs
- Ability to Buy-Down Your Rate
- Fixed Interest Rate
- Interest Rate Tends to be Below the Industry Average
- No Application Fees
- No Membership Fee
- No Private Mortgage Insurance
- Your Credit SCORE is Not Used to Determine Eligibility, Only Your Report Information
I know you are thinking, “What’s the catch?” There aren’t any “catches” per se. There are, however, requirements and a very structured process. Here is a breakdown of some of the items that come to mind:
- Your credit report is reviewed. Any collections accounts, late payments, etc. are reviewed. This, however, is not a deal breaker. Your mortgage consultant will review your report with you and tell you what items need attention. They give you time to handle those issues or to provide a longer good payment history.
- Your budget, bank statements and monthly savings are reviewed. You must stick to a budget that you discussed and planned with your mortgage consultant. NACA has a set formula of how much money you need to be able to save each month in order to show that you will be able to handle the monthly expense of being a homeowner.
- Volunteer work is required. You can volunteer at NACA events or the NACA office. Your volunteer work is logged and you must meet a minimum number of volunteer hours in order to qualify.
- Volunteer work is required after your home purchase in order to help support the NACA program.
I’m sure you have a TON of more questions, and I am by no means finished telling you about my NACA experience. I am preparing more posts on my experience with this program. Part 2 will be all about budgeting, qualification and the application process. Part 3 will be about the approval and house hunting process. Each phase is different with NACA, as it is with any other mortgage provider.
If you have any questions or areas you’d like me to address in subsequent posts, make sure to either comment or email me. I will do my best to help as many as I can!
Note: Being that I have gone through the NACA process, I highly recommend you read ALL parts of my NACA experience before making any decisions. You may also consider attending the workshop to simply become more informed before making your decision. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Email me at NotSo30s@gmail.com )