FAQs

What are the responsibilities of a Turn Back The Block applicant?

  • Participate in sweat equity activities totaling 350 hours. Of those hours, 200 can be completed by friends and family, however 150 hours must be completed by you and those residing in your household. Once accepted you will be required to work a minimum of 25 sweat equity hours per month and to report those hours monthly.
  • Attend one-on-one credit/budget counseling sessions with CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc. during which you will establish a budget, review your credit report, establish a debt repayment plan, and establish a savings plan.
  • Complete a Homebuyer Education Class.
  • Attend homeowner candidate meetings (as may be scheduled periodically).
  • Pay up to $1500 in closing costs.
  • Maintain monthly mortgage payments (estimated between $500 – $600)
  • Maintain the property according to Turn Back the Block standards – taking sole responsibility for all costs related to maintenance and repair of the property.
  • Participate in media/press coverage related to Turn Back the Block.
  • Attend individual post-purchase housing counseling sessions for one year post-occupancy.
  • Occupy home as primary residence.

Who qualifies for a Turn Back The Block home? There is no income minimum or maximum to qualify. Applicants are selected by our Family Selection & Shepherding Committee, based on several factors to include: need, willingness to participate in sweat equity, and ability to demonstrate repayment. “Need” differs with each applicant, and may include insufficient credit, or lack of down payment to qualify for a traditional mortgage. While we do have credit qualifying criteria, the criteria tend to be less stringent than those of a traditional lender.

Families who would qualify for a traditional mortgage, typically do not qualify for our interest free mortgage. However, at times we may be able to sell a Turn Back The Block home to someone interested in the revitalization of Harrisburg who secures their own financing from a bank.

How big are the homes? On average, the homes have 1,500 square feet. Square footage and number of bedrooms and bathrooms vary from house to house. We attempt to match the size of the home to each applicant’s needs. So far, our largest home has been three bedroom, two bath, and our smallest home has been two bedroom, one bath.

How much do the homes cost? Cost varies depending on the size of the home, and whether it is being rehabbed or is new construction. On average, our homeowners pay less for their monthly mortgage than the cost of fair market rent. Our average sales price has been $72,000, with an average monthly payment of $500 (including escrow). The major cost benefit of our program is the offer of an interest free mortgage, which saves homeowners thousands of dollars over their loan term.

How do I apply?  The first step is to submit a pre-application, which can be found on our website. Once your pre-application is submitted, you will receive a call from us. If it appears you are eligible for the program, you will schedule an intake with CSRA EOA, Inc., complete a full application, and begin budget & credit counseling.

How long does it take to become a Turn Back The Block homeowner? Generally it takes a year for a home to be completed, and for the applicant to complete their 350 hours of sweat equity, however the time varies with each applicant.

What happens if I want to sell? Turn Back The Block puts an equity sharing agreement in place. During the first 2 years of ownership, if you sell the home, TBTB is entitled to 100% of the appreciation value. After year 3, this is reduced by 10% per year until year 10. At year 10, the homeowner is entitled to 100% of the appreciation value. Additionally, TBTB has the first right of refusal – meaning that if a homeowner chooses to sell, TBTB must be given the option to buy the home back from them first.

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