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 Author: lisajimenez
PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:19 pm 
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Vistas de Plata Subdivision Helps Bring the American Dream Closer to Reality With 30-Plus Donated Lots Available to Qualified Applicants

Nothing is more symbolic of the “American Dream” than home ownership, and for 45-year-old Chris Arellano, the Vistas de Plata subdivision on Silver City’s east side was central to making that dream a reality.

“I’m living like a king,” he said recently, smiling broadly as he looked out over the vast view of Silver City, from his home atop Camino de Sueños, the main street through Vistas de Plata. “I really got lucky. I love this place.”

Arellano was able to afford his energy efficient three-bedroom, two-bath home, thanks in part to a housing program offered by the Rural Housing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program helps working people like Chris become homeowners by providing subsidized home loans of up to $153,200, eliminating down payments (unless the applicant has pre-retirement assets of $15,000 or more) and offering low-interest mortgages, typically around 3 percent. These USDA-direct loans may be written for up to 38 years to help lower monthly payments, and some applicants may qualify for payment assistance. Credit is given for each dependent, which helps increase the amount that a person can qualify for.

Successful applicants generally need to have a two-year work history, a credit score of 640 or higher, and demonstrated means to make their mortgage payments. But USDA rural housing staff will work with people who either don’t have an established credit record by considering bill payment history, rental agreements and other indicators of credit worthiness, says Patsy Villalobos, loan specialist at the USDA office in Las Cruces.

Applicants may also be able to qualify by applying together with another household member, or with the help of a co-signer. Some applicants need time to straighten out their finances, and Villalobos will refer potential applicants to other resources to help them repair their credit history or pay down existing debt.

The guaranteed loan program is another affordable housing option offered by the USDA, which helps USDA-approved lenders offer home loans to low-income residents by guaranteeing 90% of the loan amount. In Grant County, these lenders include numerous mortgage companies, as well as First New Mexico and First American banks.

Once a Grant County resident qualifies for the USDA rural housing program, the next step is to find affordable housing, which can, as Arellano learned, be tough. He saw his current home more than a year before he actually moved in, but decided to look around to see what else might be available in his price range of around $140,000. “I looked at dozens of houses in that price range, and they all needed too much work, so I ended up right back where I started. I couldn’t believe my house was still available.”

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has provided 206 home loans to Grant County residents, totaling more than $23 million. However, the direct loan program which helped Chris Arellano become a homeowner has been eliminated in President Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget, and will not be funded unless Congress acts to save it. The guaranteed loan program remains intact.

The beauty of building a home in Vistas de Plata is that the land is free to qualifying home buyers. Once a home loan is approved, the land is included with the loan closing.

The Town of Silver City donated the land in 2010, and the first home was built in 2012. The Town has continued to develop the subdivision infrastructure, and this spring completed $993,000 in state-funded road improvements to the development, which included drainage, new paving, curbs and gutters, ADA-compliant sidewalks and ramps, lighting improvements, signage and pavement striping.

“Vistas de Plata is an important resource that the Town Council made available to help provide quality affordable and safe housing to our local work force,” said Jaime Embick, Silver City Community Development Director. “When families have stable housing, it benefits everyone.”

Another affordable home option is new construction on one of the 30-plus home sites available in Vistas de Plata. A local affordable housing developer, Real People Homes, offers a unique, passive solar home construction method known as Flex Homes, which are made of food grade expanded polystyrene (EPS) and galvanized steel. The pre-fabricated walls and trusses are delivered to the home site on a flat-bed trailer, and generally the home is erected in three to four days.

Jim Keel, who retired to Silver City from Oklahoma City in 2012 and relies on social security income, bought his two-bedroom, two-bath 1,100 square-foot Flex Home for $133,000, and located it in Vistas de Plata. Keels recommends this type of construction, which is highly energy efficient and affordable. His most recent utility bills totaled just $67.

“It’s really really nice for me,” he said, “I still can’t believe I was able to make this happen. The metal roof sounds wonderful when it rains, and the views are terrific. You can almost see all the way to Lordsburg.”

For more information about Vistas de Plata or USDA Rural Housing loan programs, contact Priscilla Arredondo, Silver City planner and zoning administrator, at (575) 534-6372 or parredondo@silvercitymail.com.

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# # #
Lisa Jimenez
(575) 574-5473
lmjimenez13@gmail.com


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Silver City & Southwestern New Mexico Monthly Community Calendar

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Community Events
Week of December 12, 2017

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12
Hapkido Class
Tai Chi at Lotus Center
Wine & The Word @The Toad Brewery
ToSC Council Meeting- Agenda
Our Paws' Cause Thrift Store
13
Hapkido Class
Wednesday Evening Al-Anon Family Group Meeting
Tai Chi Chuan
Insight Buddhist Meditation
Forest Plan Revision Technical Meeting
Knit Hat Storytime
Gin Rummy
Gila Back Country Horsemens Association Meeting
Our Paws' Cause Thrift Store
14
Volunteer at The Bike Works 3-7pm
Tai Chi at Lotus Center
Blooming Lotus Meditation
Guadalupe Montessori School Festival of Trees
Grant County Rolling Stones Gem and Mineral Society Meeting
Pet Central Thrift Store
Our Paws' Cause Thrift Store
15
Guadalupe Montessori School Festival of Trees
Women's Al-Anon Meeting: Women Embracing Recovery
Pet Central Thrift Store
Community Bike Ride @ The Bike Works
Hapkido Class
Our PAws' Cause Thrift Store
16
Tai Chi Chuan
Guadalupe Montessori School Festival of Trees
Andy Mason - A Brief History of Christmas Music
Permaculture Silver City - Monthly Meeting
Ecstatic Dance
17
Guadalupe Montessori School Festival of Trees
Silver Chorale Handel’s Messiah Sing-Along
18
Hapkido Class
Tai Chi Chuan
New Hope Al-Anon Family Group
Laughter Yoga at 1 p.m. at the Lotus Center
Global Sisterhood New Moon Tele-Circle
Silver City Rotary Club Meeting










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