Frequently Asked Questions for Shared Equity

Application and Eligibility Questions

The Shared Equity Program application can be filled out online or by downloading the pdf version. We require many supporting documents to verify your income and assets. Those may be submitted to our office at 88 King Street in Burlington or via our secure file upload. Please email us for this link.

Click here to submit the application online

Download the Shared Equity Program Application here

There is no flexibility regarding the income limits. Applicants’ income is determined based on current gross income (before taxes). However, if your income varies paycheck to paycheck, we can look at your average pay to determine your current income. If you are not sure if you would qualify, feel free to talk to us and submit your income information for us to review

Applicants can have up to $60,000 in liquid assets (cash, or assets that can be converted to cash easily). This does not include retirement funds. If you have over $60,000, you are welcome to speak with us about getting an exception.  Exception requests are reviewed and sent to our funder for approval or denial. 

In general, anyone that will be living in the home with you, should be included on your application. For further details, please see our Household Member Definition here.

There is no minimum credit score requirement to be eligible for the Shared Equity Program. However, you must be able to get a mortgage from a lender. Most lenders do have minimum score requirements.  You should speak to your lender to determine if you would qualify.   CHT’s financial counselors can provide advice on how to improve your credit score after you have taken Homebuyer Education. 

We have a list of lenders that are familiar with the Shared Equity Program and have loan products that can be used to purchase CHT homes. We are happy to speak with other lenders that are not on our list to see if they would be able to provide a mortgage on Shared Equity Homes as well, but many lenders are not able to work with homes that have resale restrictions on them.

View the list of lenders that work with CHT here.

Yes. You can be eligible for our program (under the income and asset limits) but may not be ready to purchase a home. Eligibility for our program is just one step in the process. A lender will be able to tell you if you are able to be pre-approved for a mortgage. This is required to purchase a home through our program.

When a home first comes on the market, buyers that have completed the following steps by the deadline will be included in the buyer selection for the property.  CHT chooses from these buyers using a points system. You can download the selection criteria below. To be included in the buyer selection, you must complete the following by the deadline:
  1. Submit a complete application for the Shared Equity Program and meet the income and asset eligibility requirements.
  2. Submit a pre-approval for the home from a lender that works with CHT.
  3. Submit your credit scores that were pulled within 60 days of the deadline.
  4. Must have attended a Shared Equity Informational Meeting within the last year.
SEP Buyer Selection Process Document

Buyer selections can be frustrating when you enter many and do not win. There are several different aspects to the selection process, but only a few that applicants have control over. Here are a few tips to ensure you are accruing all the selection points you are able:

  • Improve your credit score: If your score is less than 720, you can work with your CHT counselor on improving your score to get this point.
  • Complete your education: To gain the selection point for education, you must have attended a Shared Equity Informational Meeting within the last year; completed the Homebuyer Education workshop within the last three years; and have completed a CHT counseling appointment within the last year.
  • Complete your application early: You earn points by how long your application has been on file with us. Also, keep your application documents up to date.

Keep in mind that every buyer selection is different depending on how many households are included. 

Purchasing Questions

Availability of homes changes often and depends on when our current homeowners choose to sell their homes. We find that our market is similar to the traditional market in that spring and summer months tend to be busier with more homes available for purchase.

The Shared Equity Program process timeline will vary for everyone. Although the application process takes about two weeks, the search for the right home can take much longer. This depends on a number of factors including, how many homes are marketing at the time, how many people are actively searching, and where you are in your personal process of being ready to purchase.

Once you sign a purchase and sale contract on a home, it will take about 8 weeks to purchase the home and be able to move in.

It is important to know that buying a home is expensive and you will need to be prepared to pay $8,000-10,000 dollars in closing costs. CHT requires a $2,000 deposit check when you go under contract on a home. Included in that $8,000 – $10,000 estimate is a transaction fee to CHT of $1,200. This helps us pay for the cost of our attorney during the sale of the home. There are also fees, such as the appraisal, building inspection and attorney. Some of these costs will be paid prior to the closing and others collected at closing.

Once you are under contract for a home, you will hire and pay for a building inspector. You have a set amount of time to cancel the contract if something at the inspection is alarming and not something you are comfortable taking on.

Ownership Questions

Yes.  Once you own a home, if you want to have a roommate you are welcome to, as long as you still live in the home as well.  You are not allowed to move out of the home and rent the home entirely.

The ground lease is in place so that you cannot sell the home outside of CHT’s portfolio. It protects our right to continue to provide lasting and affordable homeownership. However, you will have the right to use the land for your enjoyment as long as you are following your town or city’s rules.

Once a home enters CHT’s portfolio, an owner cannot buy out the program to remove the restrictions. Our mission is to preserve affordable homeownership and in order to do so we need to keep our homes in our portfolio and affordable to all future buyers.

CHT does not continue to monitor your household size or income after you purchase a home. The home needs to be your primary residence, but you can exceed the income eligibility limits and make changes to your household.

Yes, you will continue to pay your monthly membership fee to CHT as long as you own the home. This helps to sustain our Shared Equity Program and gives you access to our homeownership stewardship counselor who is available to you as a resource with questions or concerns through your homeownership.

When you purchase a home, you have an incredibly valuable asset. You should make it a priority to create a will. You can designate anyone to inherit the home.  If that person is not income and asset eligible for the program, then they will have to sell the home through CHT. However, if the person has been living in the home for a year or more prior to your death, that requirement is waived.  Please reach out to us if you have questions about this when you are creating your will. We are happy to talk through your specific situation.

Contact Us for More Information:

Phone Line: 802-861-7373
Email: [email protected]