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The County of Ocean Consortium receives HOME Investment Partnership Program block grant funding annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create affordable housing for low and moderate income households. Ocean County has allocated funding from the HOME Program to initiate the First-time Homebuyer Program for income eligible households.

The purpose of this program is to assist first time homebuyers with the biggest hurdle to homeownership: down payment and closing costs. The goal of this program is to assist Ocean County residents in achieving the dream of homeownership. The County of Ocean Consortium can provide you the opportunity to afford a home of your own through the First-time Homebuyer Program.

The program features reduced bank fees and closing costs (including no points) and a minimum down payment of three (3) percent (1-1/2 percent of which MUST be from the borrower's own contribution, the other 1-1/2 percent can be from the County’s HOME Program subsidy).

The County offers a down payment assistance program with a contribution from the HOME Program funds in the amount of $10,000. These funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and are subject to availability. Please note that the County cannot guarantee the availability of funds available for the First Time Homebuyer down payment assistance program. The total amount of funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for this program is limited.

The First-time Homebuyer Program brings together County and local governmental agencies, seven (7) participating lenders (Ocean First Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, TD Bank, Franklin American Mortgage, ISB Mortgage and Intercounty Mortgage Network), a state agency, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Agency (NJHMFA), and a non-profit organization, O.C.E.A.N., Inc. in a cooperative effort to increase the opportunity for homeownership for our low and moderate income residents.

These participating lending institutions agree to comply with the Ocean County First Time Homebuyer guidelines and offer equal services to our participants. Applicants enrolled in the program will be assigned to one of the six participating lenders. The list of approved representatives from the participating lending institutions is located on page 7. These representatives will be happy to guide you through the homebuying process in the most efficient manner possible.


Who is Eligible?
First-Time Homebuyers defined as:
  • If you have never owned a house or have not owned one in the past three years, you may purchase a house in Ocean County.
  • A single parent who is unmarried or legally separated from a spouse and has one or more minor children for who the individual has custody or joint custody or is pregnant prior to purchase with Home funds.
  • A “displaced homemaker” or an individual that may have previously owned a home with his/her former spouse, but no longer resides in the home.
Eligiblity Criteria:
  • Must be an Ocean County resident
  • ? Must have three percent (3%) down payment funds (at least 1-1/2% MUST be from your own funds and evidence by over 3 months steady savings account; NO gifts allowed to meet the 1-1/2% down payment requirement; recent lump sums of deposit will also be verified).
  • Meet income limit requirements (see below).
  • Meet credit guidelines – a credit score of 620 or above is required to qualify for acceptance into the program (mortgage ready)**
  • Income to support mortgage payments.
  • Steady employment history.
  • Have an established pattern of savings.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.
  • Attend OCEAN, Inc.’s free eight-hour HUD certified homeownership education program.

** A general credit education/repair workshop will be held for applicants whose credit score is below 620 to assist them in becoming homeowners in the future.


Income Limit Requirements

Your household income from ALL sources must not exceed the income limit set for the Ocean County region shown below. Income from ALL occupants of the household must be included.

Income Limits by Household Size



$ 58,000

 * Based on US HUD, Section 8 income limits, subject to change annually.


Eligible Houses
  • Any single family house, condominium unit, townhouse or manufactured home with a purchase price which does not exceed the maximum limit established for Ocean County (currently $362,790 as of May 15, 2006), which is located in Ocean County. (NOTE: MOBILE HOMES ARE NOT ELIGIBLE.)
  • The first-time homebuyer must live in the house within sixty days after closing on the mortgage loan. (Investors are not eligible for County of Ocean Consortium financing).
  • The home purchased MUST be your primary residence during the entire life of the affordability period and may not be used as a rental.
  • The house must be used as your primary home until it is sold and/or the affordability period of the deferred loan is forgiven (a period of six years for the $10,000 subsidy, and a period of ten years for any subsidy in excess of $10,000). This grant will be secured by a second mortgage on the property. Upon completion of the affordability period of six years, the mortgage will be forgiven and subsequently cancelled.


Loan Terms
  • You will receive a fixed rate mortgage for a thirty-year period.
  • You may obtain a mortgage loan with as little three (3 %) percent down (at least 1-1/2 % must be from your own funds) on the purchase price of the house, provided your income is sufficient to repay a loan according to the County’s FNMA, FHA, VA and USDA programs. If your income does not meet this requirement, your down payment may need to exceed three (3) percent.
  • The maximum down payment/closing cost assistance to be provided at any time from the Consortium program is $10,000 from HOME Program funds with a six year deferred loan.
  • County funds will be first applied to closing costs and remaining funds to be utilized toward down payment. Under no circumstances, will cash payout to the homebuyer be permitted..
  • The loan term is thirty (30) years.
  • ? Mortgage insurance is required on all loans with less than a twenty (20) percent down payment. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) will be provided by each financial institution in conjunction with the FNMA program, as determined by the Lender. Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) is required under the FHA program.
  • ? RECAPTURE PROVISION: If you sell your home (or change ownership) within the first six years of purchasing it, you will be subject to repayment of the full amount of HOME funds awarded to you through a deferred loan from the County of Ocean. The returned funds will be re-allocated into the HOME Program.


See Approximate Standardized Closing Costs Sheet PDF (12KB)


Documents Required

The following documents (photocopies) must be submitted to OCEAN, INC. prior to attending the mandatory workshop:

  • Full 1040 income tax statements from the last two years.
  • Completed and signed IRS Form 4506-T “Request for Transcript of Tax Return
  • Credit report generated within the last 60 days.
  • Recent bank statements (savings/checking/deposit).
  • Four most recent paycheck stubs for each household member.
  • Verification of Assets forms.
  • Notarized letter signed and dated from the donor, for any gift monies receiving.
  • Notarized, signed and dated letter for all Scholarship Awards to include amounts, purpose and duration, from the donor.
  • Copies of social security cards for all household members

These documents will be used by OCEAN, Inc. to verify eligibility according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations. The documents will be retained by the County of Ocean for review by HUD.

The County reserves the right to access all income and asset documentation provided to the Lender. The County reserves the right to verify all income, gift and deposit sources and residency throughout the life of the deferred loan.

Failure to accurately disclose all income/asset information will result in disqualification from the program. Any false or fraudulent information provided will be reported to the United States Government.


Mortgage Loan Process

OCEAN, Inc., the non-profit organization administering the program, will create an initial list of all households seeking assistance under the Ocean County Consortium program from receipt of the pre-application. If initial screening indicates potential eligibility, applicant will be provided a formal application for the First Time Homebuyers Program.

Upon approval of the formal application, receipt of the credit report, and verification of income/asset eligibility, and upon receipt of a fully executed Contract of Sale, OCEAN, Inc. will notify the County of Ocean of the applicant’s eligibility. At this time, funds will be reserved for the applicant.

Please be reminded that funds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is NO GUARANTEE of receiving funds at this point. After completion of the mandatory education workshop, receipt of mortgage commitment from lender and completion of legal documents forwarded to County Counsel for review, the County of Ocean will request the release of funds for closing.

The following steps further detail the process:

STEP 1 - Interested Ocean County residents must complete and return a pre-application form and subsequent formal application to OCEAN, Inc, within the stated time period.
STEP 2 - The non-profit organization will review application and related documentation to determine the eligibility of the household to participate in the random selection phase of the program.
STEP 3 - Obtain a recent credit report. Credit reports must be obtained through a participating lending institution or OCEAN, Inc. There is usually a minimal charge for this.
STEP 4 -

The homeowner is required to submit photocopies of all income documents required (listed above) to OCEAN, Inc. prior to attending the mandatory workshop:

STEP 5 -

All prospective program participants are required to attend a free eight hour HUD certified counselor approved homeowner-training/education program provided by OCEAN, Inc., the non-profit organization administering the program. The training session will include homeownership counseling sessions moderated by a certified mortgage counselor. The workshop will cover the basic concepts of homeownership, including how much you can afford, understanding your credit report, the importance of credit, budgeting, the mortgage application process, closing process and homeownership responsibilities. At the conclusion of the workshop, you will receive a “Certificate of Completion”.

Upon completion of workshop all eligible applicants will be assigned randomly to a representative from a participating financial institution and receive a Certificate of Completion. You will have six (6) months from the date of the Certificate of Completion to find a home and schedule a closing. An extension can be granted for an additional six months of eligibility upon written request. Income verification re-certification is required to continue participation for the additional six months. After one year without purchase of a home, eligibility will cease and applicants would need to reapply to the program.

STEP 6 - The participant may begin looking for a home in their price range.
STEP 7 - Upon obtaining a purchase agreement, participant must retain the services of a New Jersey licensed attorney to review purchase agreement and representation at closing. NOTE: In New Jersey, an attorney must be present at the closing.
STEP 8 - Once the purchase agreement has been executed by all parties, the participating lender will process your loan application and will either issue a loan commitment, request additional information or possibly deny the loan. In the event of a denial, and upon notification, the non-profit organization will work with the prospective first-time homebuyer to remedy the situation. If there is no notification to OCEAN, Inc, the applicant will be automatically terminated from the program. However, applicant is still eligible to re-apply at a future date. PLEASE NOTE: Participation in the Ocean County Consortium Homebuyer program is not a guarantee of mortgage approval.
STEP 9 - The prospective homebuyer must provide a copy of the purchase agreement to O.C.E.A.N., Inc. at which time the County First Time Homebuyer funds will be reserved for your purchase. Upon receipt of the purchase agreement, OCEAN, Inc. will forward the Legal documents with instructions to your attorney for execution of the deferred loan agreement and the documents necessary for the County’s approval and release of funds. Failure of the County’s attorney to receive a completed closing package will delay the approval and release of funds. Any changes in contract will result in a delay of processing and approval.
STEP 10 - CLOSING - Once you receive approval from the County’s Counsel, your attorney can schedule the actual closing in which the property is legally transferred to the first-time homebuyer. At least 4 weeks prior to the scheduled closing date, your attorney must send a written request for the release of funds to the County’s legal counsel. NOTE: Any changes in contract will result in a delay of processing and approval.
STEP 11 - You are the official owner of your own home! You may prepare to move in!
STEP 12 - At approximately six months following your closing, the non-profit organization will schedule a post-closing counseling to review budget concepts and assist with other questions about homeownership such as regular maintenance, etc. Monitoring for ‘principal residence’ will be conducted annually by the non-profit organization. Annually, the County may audit the loan, income and residency information regarding your loan throughout the duration of the deferred loan.


Amended Participation in the Program

The County will open and close the program at the discretion of the Ocean County Planning Director. In the event that additional federal funding remains after the completion of Phase VI of the program, the County Planning Director may assign each participating financial institution an equal number of down payment/closing cost allotments for potential applicants that will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The down payment/closing cost allotments will be filled through referrals by either the program administrator or participating financial institution. Participation in the program is conditioned upon the availability of federal funding and the potential applicant complying with the above program guidelines. The potential applicant will be required to complete all of the above requirements with the exception of the introductory seminar. That seminar will be held directly with the program administrator.


Lead Based Paint Regulations

All homebuyer applicants must comply with the requirements set forth in 24 CFR Part 35, et al of the Federal Register dated September 15, 1999 and as amended, for the requirements for Notification, Evaluation, and Reduction of Lead Based Paint Hazards In Federally Owned Residential Property and Housing Receiving Federal Assistance.

All residential dwellings built prior to 1978 must be visually inspected for lead based paint and lead based paint hazards. If lead paint is present, abatement must be performed in accordance with the federal standards. Disclosure documents must be signed by the seller, purchaser and the administrator of the homebuyer program and be retained in the homebuyer file. Purchaser must receive copy of pamphlet “Protect Your Family from Lead in your Home”.


Program Sponsors

Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders
John C. Bartlett, Jr.
John P. Kelly
James F. Lacey
Gerry P. Little
Joseph H. Vicari


Ocean County HOME Program - Consortium Members
Participating Financial Lenders
Administering Agency

O.C.E.A.N., Inc.
40 Washington Street
Toms River, NJ 08753
732-244-2351 Ext. 14 -
Peegen Ford, Housing Mortgage Counselor



For more information:
  Ocean County Department of Planning
129 Hooper Ave.
PO Box 2191
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
(732) 929-2054
(732) 244-8396 FAX
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Ocean County Department of Planning, 129 Hooper Avenue, P.O. Box 2191, Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
The preceding information has been provided as a service of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
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September 11, 2013