East Valley couple realize dream with help of home program

Virginia and Adam Lazaravich applied for the Home in Five Advantage Program, and in September 2017 they moved into their new Chandler home. (Submitted photo)

After years of living in apartments, Adam and Virginia Lazaravich dreamed of buying a home in Chandler to be close to their jobs.

Like many couples, they thought prices were too high for their budget, and they assumed they would never qualify for assistance.

That is when Mr. Lazaravich’s lender told them about a program. He applied for the Home in Five Advantage Program, and in September 2017, after three years of dreaming, the couple moved into their new Chandler home.

According to a study prepared by Applied Economics, the Home in Five Advantage Program created an economic impact of $400 million on the economy throughout the past five years since it started by helping approximately 17,000 home buyers. The study also concluded that program home buyers increased their consumer spending by approximately $72.9 million and accumulated $419 million in wealth.

“When we started the Home in Five Advantage Program in 2012, the housing market was in the early stages of recovery and there were good deals to be had, but many people simply couldn’t take advantage of them because the down payment was too large,” Shelby Scharbach, executive director of the Maricopa County IDA, stated in a release.

“The Maricopa County and the Phoenix IDAs recognized that by providing some upfront assistance, we could get more people in homes and strengthen the local economy at the same time. This economic impact study shows just how successful we’ve been in helping low- and moderate-income individuals and families improve their lives,” he stated.

The study analyzed the economic and social benefits of the program. Impacts are based on fees generated within the real estate and finance industries, increases in consumer spending from the reduction of housing costs (mortgage payments compared to renting), and wealth accumulation through principal repayment and appreciation, according to the release.

“Home ownership gives individuals, families, and communities measurable financial and social benefits – from the equity they build in their new home, to improved educational futures for their children,” Phoenix IDA CEO Juan Salgado stated. “The study demonstrates the power of helping those who may have thought home ownership was beyond their reach.”

Through the Home in Five Advantage Program, qualified home buyers receive down payment/closing cost assistance of up to 3 percent of the loan amount. An additional 1 percent assistance is also available to K-12 teachers, first responders, U.S. military personnel, veterans and income-qualified borrowers.

As a first responder, Mr. Lazaravich received additional assistance toward his down payment and closing costs when he bought a home through the program last fall. “We were thrilled when we found our perfect dream house and learned that the Home in Five Advantage Program would make it possible for us to buy,” he stated.

The Maricopa County and the Phoenix IDAs established the Home in Five Advantage Program in 2012 to provide down payment assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and families to purchase new or existing homes.

Additional information about the program, including a list of approved participating lenders that can help determine if a buyer is qualified, is available at www.homein5advantage.com.


The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 24,000 homes.

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