By Mike Colpitts
While most home builders are struggling to survive or have already gone out of business, one company is flourishing as it sells homes for just $99 down, taking advantage of a government program that provides the financing.
Homebuilder Highland Homes sales are booming as it helps home buyers move into new Central Florida homes in six counties through the USDA no money down program, which requires just $99 for a credit check. Payments for the first time home buyers program can be as little as $578 a month on a 3-bedroom, two bathroom single family home.
Highland Homes has been in business just ten years, but focused on first time home buyers in the lower price range of the housing market, which has made them an exception among new homebuilders that has kept them in business in the troubled economy.
“These are pre-construction homes,” said Kathie McDaniel, Highland sales and marketing director. “When they (buyers) consider the quality construction, well planned designs and company integrity they find value that can’t be beat.
“We’ve sold 100 homes since the beginning of the year, and are averaging about eight sales a month in two communities alone. The USDA program is keeping us in business,” McDaniel said.
About 70% of buyers come from rental properties, who don’t have to come up with expensive deposits like they would to rent, often requiring the payment of the first months rent, damage deposit and last months rent. The minimum credit score required through the federal loan guarantee program is just 580 with no outstanding collections.
The company constructs new homes in 17 developments scattered throughout six counties in Central Florida, including the Tampa and Orlando areas. A 1250 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths with a two-car garage is priced at just $109,000. Buyers are able to choose from a variety of carpet colors and floor coverings for the kitchen and baths. Purchasers also select cabinetry, fixtures, appliances, counter tops and lighting features.