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Financial Adviser | How to apply for an NHT open market loan

Published:Friday | November 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMOran Hall
National Housing Trust headquarters at Park Boulevard, New Kingston.

QUESTION: I would like to know the requirements for applying for a loan from the National Housing Trust. I am a single young lady who would like a small apartment for myself — nothing too big and preferably a two bed room, one bathroom in the Montego Bay region. I have been a contributor for quite a while. — Georgia

FINANCIAL ADVISER: It seems that you are interested in an open market loan. If you are a qualified contributor, you may apply for a National Housing Trust (NHT) loan, not only to buy but to build, or repair/improve your home.
To qualify for an NHT Loan you must be currently contributing to the trust; have made at least 52 weekly contributions of which 13 must have been made in the last 26 weeks just before the date of your application; have paid up with interest any outstanding contributions due in the last three years; be between the ages 18 and 65; and be earning an income which allows you to repay the loan.
The Open Market Loan is one whereby the NHT lends contributors money to buy a house being sold on the open market by an individual or agency other than the NHT.
This is a loan for persons who do not own a home.  Nevertheless, contributors who have previously received a loan from the NHT may still be able to access funds to buy their own home through the HOPE Loan product.
Through the open market loan you can borrow as a single applicant or you may co-apply with one other qualified NHT contributor to access a higher loan limit to purchase a house.  If you need — and can afford — to borrow more money, you may seek additional funds from another lending institution that is willing to enter into a joint finance mortgage with the NHT.

Before applying for the open market loan, you should ensure that you meet the minimum requirements.  To know if you do, you should answer the following questions:
• Have you identified the house that you wish to buy?
• Have you agreed on a price with the seller and drawn up a formal sale agreement?
• Is the Registered Certificate of Title for the property available?
• Have you made at least a 5 per cent deposit on the property? Do you earn an income that allows you to repay the loan? 
• Are you now contributing to the NHT?
• Have you made at least 52 weekly contributions, 13 of which were made during the last 26 weeks?
• Are you able to account for your contributions and have paid up, with interest, any outstanding contributions due in the last 3 years?
• Are you between the age of 18 and 65 years?

If you answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions above, you would have met the minimum requirements for applying.  Your next step is to contact the NHT office nearest to you for a list of the documents that you will need for your loan interview.

Once you have all the required documents and information, you should call and schedule an appointment with the NHT for your loan interview.
You must have present at the interview the deposit receipt, sales agreement, a copy of the registered title, the surveyor’s identification report and the valuation report. 
Note, however, that the NHT will not award an open market loan for a property with a Common Law Title or a Facilities for Titles Act (FTA) title – which is an interim document issued by the Titles Office while it prepares the registered title – as both are unregistered titles.

- Oran A. Hall, principal author of ‘The Handbook of Personal Financial Planning’, offers personal financial planning advice and counsel.