Binghamton improves home ownership

By Kelly McCarthy

June 20, 2013 Updated Jun 21, 2013 at 1:08 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The city of Binghamton distributed millions of dollars in federal and state funds to help single family and first-time home buyers make improvements.

Since 2008, the city has issued more than 90 loans to bring homes up to code and make energy efficient repairs.

The First Time Home Buyer Program and the Single Family Repair Program provide loans to those looking to make those improvements or own a house.

Sarah Walker graduated from Binghamton University and just bought her home with help from these programs.

She says the loans were crucial in bringing her house up to code.

"I had a really old furnace that they were able to replace," Walker said. "And it's a high efficiency furnace now, so not only are my heating bills lower but my house is now energy efficient, which is awesome."

First-time home buyers are eligible for a loan up to $10,000 to help cover closing costs.

That's a feature that Walker says helped make this first-time home buyer's purchase a reality.

"That's one of the hardest things," Walker said. "I mean if you don't really have that much in the way of savings that's something that could help you make that leap. If you could make your mortgage payments you just can't get the closing costs down, that might make the difference between being able to rent and own a home."

Also, if the first-time buyer stays in that house for more than five years, the full amount of the loan is forgiven.

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