Buyer Driven Program

Champlain Housing Trust is pleased to announce that funds for our Buyer Driven Program are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited funding is available through our Shared Equity Program to help qualified customers purchase a home from the open market. Buyers who use these funds will share their appreciation with future buyers, helping to keep the home permanently affordable.

Download a printable reference sheet here.

Steps to Utilize the Buyer Driven Program 

Step 1: Buyer Eligibility

  • Complete the HomeBuyer Education Workshop (within the last 3 years)
  • Attend at least one counseling appointment (within the last 6 months)
  • Be deemed “mortgage ready” by your CHT HomeOwnership Counselor
  • Attend a Shared Equity Program Informational Meeting (within the last year)
  • Complete a CHT Shared Equity Program application and be certified as income and asset-eligible
  • Submit a copy of a current pre-approval letter from a lender on our list (within the last 60 days)
  • Have the ability to pay closing costs, which can range from $8,000-$10,000, ($3,000 minimum of your own personal saving is required) A $1,200 transaction fee to CHT is included in this estimate.

Once you have completed the above steps, contact [email protected] and we will provide you with a Buyer Driven Pre-Approval Letter.

Step 2: Property Eligibility

Search for a home that fits the program criteria. Using this program in the current real estate market will be challenging. We strongly recommend working with a local real estate agent. Any commission fee must be paid by either the seller of the property, or you as the buyer. CHT staff is not able to help buyers negotiate with sellers or pay a commission fee to a real estate agent.

Purchase Price Limit: $280,000. This is the maximum price you could pay the seller for the home.

Maximum CHT Investment: $80,000 or 35% of the purchase price of the property, whichever is less.

Home Type and Location:

  • Single Family Homes in Chittenden County or Fairfax, Georgia, St. Albans, Swanton, South Hero, Grand Isle 
  • Condos in Chittenden County
  • Not Allowed: manufactured homes, multi-unit homes, foreclosures, or senior-restricted housing.

Quality: Home must not show any imminent major system failures or substantial defects, determined by:

  • A home inspection with a written inspection report from a qualified inspector
  • A septic inspection and water quality test (if septic and water systems are private). 

Future Marketability: CHT must approve the future marketability of the home, including, but not limited to, location, price, size layout, and general condition.

Homeowner’s Association: If the property is part of an HOA, a thorough review of the HOA will be completed to determine eligibility.

Value: CHT must review the bank’s appraisal at least 10 days prior to closing. The appraised value must meet or exceed the purchase price.

Approval: Our funders (the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board), must approve all details of the purchase, including, but not limited to, your financing terms, your debt to income ratios, the home inspection and appraisal. 

Step 3: Check Availability of Funding Before Making an Offer

Because funds are limited, it is important that you (1)check on the availability of funds before signing a contract to buy a home and (2)include contingencies in your contract that will allow you to exit the contract and keep your deposit if CHT is unable to invest in the home.

Essential information for drawing up a contract: 

  • You will give the seller a deposit (also called “earnest money”). DO NOT write a check directly to the seller. Ask the seller who his/her attorney is, and make the check out to that attorney’s trust account or to a realtor’s trust account. 
  • Be sure to include the following contingencies:
    1. The purchase is dependent upon you obtaining financing with reasonable terms
    2. The property is dependent upon a home inspection satisfactory to the buyer
    3. The property must appraise at or above the purchase price specified in the contract
    4. The purchase is subject to participation by the Champlain Housing Trust.
  • Set a closing date at least eight (8) weeks from the day the contract is signed.

Step 4: Reserve Your Funding

Immediately send the signed and accepted contract to the Shared Equity Program Team. CHT will review the contract and reserve the investment. After the proper inspections and financing are approved, you will get a final confirmation of acceptance. 

If you have questions about the requirements or the process, please contact us at (802)-861-7373 or [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions 

CHT highly encourages buyers to work with a real estate agent.  Buying a home in the current market is extremely challenging and real estate agents know how to navigate the current market. They also may have access to additional information or properties that you could not find on your own.  They are also just a great support through the whole process.  Make sure to talk to your agent about real estate commission fees.  Before signing any documents with an agent, be sure to talk about what happens if you find a home directly through CHT instead of through the Buyer Driven Program.

The current market is very limited in availability for everyone.  Patience and persistence is key to finding the right home for you.  While shopping on the regular market, make sure to keep an eye on CHT’s website and our available homes that are already part of our program. 

CHT requires an inspection on a home before we can approve it to be brought into the portfolio. This cannot be waived.   We need 3rd party confirmation that the home is in good condition and free from major concerns.  This protects you as much as it protects CHT’s long-term investment in the home.

We cannot increase the maximum purchase price at this time.   Our funding is limited by the maximum amount that our funder is able to contribute to each home as well as the affordability of the home itself.

Even if you put additional funds into the deal to reduce your mortgage loan, the maximum purchase price is still $280,000. 

Our funder, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, puts the limit on the amount of investment they can provide for any one home.  At this time, that amount is not able to be increased. 

CHT staff are not able to help talk to the sellers of the property regarding negotiations around pricing or inspection items.  We encourage you to work with a real estate agent to do this.   We are happy to provide your pre-approval letter for the Buyer Driven Program to your real estate agent or seller and explain the overall process for the program.