Foundation: Home buying can be cheaper than rent

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - There is a new foundation on the coast aimed at helping first time home buyers.

The Mississippi Home Ownership Foundation opened its operation three weeks ago. The goal of the operation is to walk potential buyers through the process of becoming homeowners, beginning with providing assistance in cleaning up credit reports.

The Smith family recently moved into a brand new three bedroom home in Hancock County's Bayside Park community.

"It's pretty. I love it," Varnalisi Smith said.

Smith never dreamed she and her husband could afford to purchase a house at this point in their lives. That is until she discovered the Mississippi Home Ownership Foundation.

"Giving us a chance to rent it and own it at the same time. It's giving you a chance to build your credit and in the future be able to own it," Smith said.

The foundation caters to first time home buyers. It has partnered with a home building company, Gulf Coast Builders, as well as insurance and mortgage companies to make home ownership affordable.

"So when you add the three together, where the builder can give a $20,000 grant off the value of their home. And a lot of people are not aware that you can get into a home as a first time home buyer with a 100 percent financing. It allows affordable homes. And this is what the foundation is all about, work force housing," said Patrick Hutton with the Mississippi Home Ownership Foundation.

The homes, which come with custom built features, range from $103,000 to $122,000.

"What a first time home buyer means is, if you have not owned a home in the past three years. In the eyes of the federal government, these are federally insured mortgages that we're using, you're considered a first time home buyer. Within the first two weeks of launching the program, we have 23 people already in the system."

Hutton volunteers with the foundation. He says conditions are right for people wanting to purchase a home.

"With the interest, taxes and insurance payment, putting up no money is below $800 a month. And in most cases it's cheaper then rent. So people can actually own a home cheaper than rent. It's time for Mississippians to get back into homes."

For more information about the first time buyers program, call (228) 865-4474 or visit