Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

How Do You Measure a Year?

by Ashton Gustafson

Good Monday morning to you!

What an eventful few days we've had here in The Falls...10 inches of snow and it stuck!!! This has definitely been a week I will never forget, and may never see again.

But here we are. In a few short days, 2009 will be over...and what a year it has been. We've seen the stock market rally back to near all time highs, numerous decisions being made in D.C. that will affect all industries, unemployment near all time highs - every day a new surprise on the front page of all our papers. It has surely been a up and down, "yen and yang" year.
I saw most of this coming in October '08. I made the decision January 1 to work harder than ever, get to work an hour early and stay an hour late, and do whatever it took to insure successful Real Estate endeavors for my clients in 2009. And that we did - up over 20% from the year prior.

So how do you measure a year? Click here to see how I have.

How do you measure a year? from Ashton Gustafson on Vimeo.

Happy New Year and thank you, thank you, thank you.

God Bless,


1304 Harvey - Wichita Falls Home For Lease

by Ashton Gustafson

1304 Harvey - Wichita Falls, TX For Lease

3 Beds - 1 Bath - 1 Garage - recently refurbished hardwood floors - backyard has covered RV parking and a workshop with power and garage bay.

$685/month - or 2 year lease at $650/month

Call 691.7355 for an appt to preview.

Snow in The Falls - Homes Still Selling!

by Ashton Gustafson

Ashton keeps selling homes in Wichita Fals even in 10 inches of snow - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

ashton's real estate on the NO GO from Ashton Gustafson on Vimeo.

Even in 8 inches of snow, Ashton is still selling property.
Merry Christmas to all.


"That's What They Said" Video

by Ashton Gustafson

Good morning to you on this Christmas Eve!

Its a white Christmas here in The Falls...very rare, but a beautiful thing to see.

Below you will see this year's videos of all the comments that are clients gave us in regards to their experience working with Ashton. If we can serve you in your Real Estate needs in 2010, please let us know @ .

 Enjoy and Merry Christmas.

That's What They Said. from Ashton Gustafson on Vimeo.

Ashton's clients speak out on their Real Estate experience.

Wichita Falls Real Estate Update - December 21, 2009

by Ashton Gustafson

Good Monday morning to you!

Who says December isn't busy???? Its looking like we could be having one of our best December's ever - and, with most of this activity looking to close in January and February, 2010 is already posting sales on the board!

This market, however, continues to be a price war. We are coaching our sellers to be as aggressive as they can in their pricing - the inventory of homes grows each day, and buyers are very price sensitive. But think of it this way - 2 years ago a buyer could purchase a $150,0000 home @ 6.5% for 30 years with a monthly principal and interest payment of $948 - today, the same buyer can purchase a home for $180,000 @ 4.75% for $938/month.

I says this to encourage both buyers and sellers...Sellers, this is a 20% increase in affordability...sell your home today, and move up - you'll be glad you did in the years to come. Buyers, with rates at a 38 year low and below 5% this an incredible time move from your apartment or rental.

Remember, our sites: - Thinking of Selling? Looking to Buy? - Thinking of investing? - Problems with your mortgage?

I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. May you rest and relax well this week.

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." John 1:14

80 Open Houses Today!!!

by Ashton Gustafson

Good morning. Have you planned on going to open houses today in or around Wichita Falls? In all reality, we offer open houses 24 hours a day for our Wichita Falls listings. Today I am having 80 open houses!!! 80???? Yes, online that is - and you can view them at any time. See 

Please let me know if you would like to preview any of these in person or if I can answer any questions for you. - Investor's Site - Thinking of Selling? - Having trouble with your mortgage?

Wichita Falls First Time Home Buyer City Guidelines

by Ashton Gustafson

First-Time Homebuyers Program Wichita Falls Texas


I. Introduction


Since 1993, the City of Wichita Falls has received grant funding through the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME Program) administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Using HOME Program funding, the Neighborhood Resources Division of the City's Community Development Department implemented a First-Time Homebuyers Program to meet the needs of our community.  This program assists low and moderate income families and individuals in obtaining affordable, permanent housing that is safe, sanitary, and decent, and that serves to enhance family stability and neighborhood viability.  The following guidelines describe the basic elements of and policies governing the First-Time Homebuyers Program and outline the requirements for persons qualifying for the program.


II. Program Overview


First-Time Homebuyers Program funds are used to assist qualified low to moderate income first-time buyers (see definition of “Eligible Persons”) with the costs of acquisition in the purchase of a single-family dwelling located within the city limits and with certain minor repairs for the property after closing.  A total of $4,250 assistance may be applied to downpayment, customary and reasonable closing costs (including pre-paids), and principal reduction of the mortgage loan.  Assistance will be in the form of a zero-interest, deferred payment loan with a 5-year term and is secured by a subordinate lien.  Applicants must meet income requirements (household income must not exceed 80% of the area median income) and the property must pass an inspection conducted by the City of Wichita Falls.


If within a 5-year period following purchase, the buyer fails to occupy the home as a principal residence, all or part of the First-Time Homebuyers assistance will be due and payable to the City.  If non-occupancy occurs during the first year of the lien, the homeowner is obligated to repay the full amount. On each anniversary date of the lien, 20% of the assistance amount is forgiven.  On the fifth anniversary from date of purchase, the lien amount is forgiven, and the lien released. 


In addition to the FTHB acquisition assistance, funds are available for certain repairs after property transfer (but before occupancy) through the City’s Minor Repair Program.  The program may possibly provide assistance to the buyer after property closing to replace a major component (e.g. HVAC, electrical system, roof) that in the judgment of the City’s inspector, is approaching the end of its useful life or is in danger of failing, and that may need replacement in the reasonable future.  The funds for this repair are also subject to recapture within a five-year period following closing, are forgiven at 20% on each anniversary, and are also secured by a subordinate lien.


Program assistance is subject to available funding, and amounts and terms may be changed as necessary.  If change in funding amount occurs during the program year, notice of such change will be given to realtors, participating lenders, and title companies.  Those applicants who have provided the City with existing, executed real estate contracts and who have completed the application process with the City, but have not yet closed on the property, will receive the assistance amount in place at the time of application and contract execution.


NOTE: If the assistance amount from the First Time Home Buyer Program and the Minor Repair Program is less than $15,000, the period of affordability is 5-years and the assistance is forgiven at 20% on the anniversary date of the transfer of title for each year the buyer occupies the property as my principal residence. If the assistance amount from the First Time Home Buyer Program and the Minor Repair Program is greater than $15,000, the Period of Affordability is 10-years and the assistance is forgiven at 10% on the anniversary date of the transfer of title for each year the buyer occupies the property as my principal residence.


III. Eligible Persons


To be eligible for the First-Time Homebuyers Program, households must be classified as low or moderate income at the time of application.  For the purposes of this program, "low or moderate income" means total gross earnings of the household must be equal to or less than 80% of the median family income for this area, adjusted for family size, as defined by the most recent annually-published HUD Income Limits for Wichita Falls, Texas (Appendix D).


The buyer must be a "first-time homebuyer," defined as a person who has not owned a home during the previous three years, with exceptions made for displaced homemakers and for single parents with custody of minor children. 

Single parents and displaced homemakers are eligible to apply for assistance even if they have had ownership in a home during the previous three years.


A "single parent" is defined as "an individual who is unmarried or legally separated from a spouse and has one or more minor children for whom the individual has custody or joint custody or is pregnant."


A "displaced homemaker" is "an individual who is an adult and has not worked full-time, full-year in the labor force for a number of years, but has, during such years, worked primarily without remuneration to care for the home and family and is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment."


IV. Eligible Properties


Eligible properties include any publicly or privately-held existing single-family dwelling within the city limits of Wichita Falls whose sales price does not exceed $95,000.00.


The property must not be located within either the Floodway or the 100-year Flood Zone designated by the most currently-published Federal Emergency Management Agency floodplain maps.


Duplexes and mobile homes or manufactured housing units are not eligible dwellings for First-Time Homebuyers assistance.


Because of the potential of a claim for relocation benefits under provisions of the Uniform Relocation Act, for-sale, tenant-occupied properties (except those occupied by the buyer) are not eligible properties.


Before First-Time Homebuyers assistance is approved for the applicant, the property must pass an inspection by the City of Wichita Falls (Appendix P) and meet HUD Section 8 Housing Quality Standards (HQS), as defined in 24 CFR 882.109 and any locally-adopted housing codes, and must conform to lead-based paint regulations for HUD-assisted programs. After the initial inspection, a list of required repairs will be provided to the buyer’s lender, and to the realtors involved in the sale.  Any required repairs listed by the City’s inspector must be satisfactorily completed before the property will pass inspection.  Once notified that repairs are complete, the City re-inspects the property and provides notice of property approval and buyer eligibility to the lender.


V.  Eligible Loans


Buyers must be eligible for standard, fixed-rate FHA, VA, or conventional mortgage loans at current prevailing interest rates and terms.  No sub-prime or balloon mortgage loans are allowed. Co-signers are not allowed. The First-Time Homebuyers Program can also be used in conjunction with any mortgage funding that may currently be available through Nortex Housing Finance Corporation’s Mortgage Revenue Bond Program.


VI.    Other Program Requirements


The Neighborhood Resources Division will accept applications for the First-Time Homebuyers Program only from persons who are pre-qualified and referred through participating lenders.  Participating lenders are those recognized, federally-regulated financial institutions that agree to participate in and comply with requirements of the FTHB Program.


Although buyers must apply for the FTHB Program after pre-qualification by the lender, buyers are not required to have chosen a property for purchase or submitted a purchase offer in the form of a TREC Residential Real Estate Contract at the time of application.


The buyer(s) must not have outstanding unpaid debts to the City of Wichita Falls.


Applicants must be citizens or legal residents of the United States.


The buyer(s) must occupy the property as a principal residence ensured by deed restriction or comparable covenant.  No subleases of the property are allowed, even on a temporary basis.


The buyer must hold the property in fee-simple title or in a 99-year leasehold interest.


The ownership interest must be subject only to the first mortgage and deed of trust.


Owner-financed properties are not eligible for assistance, nor does the First-Time Homebuyers Program recognize a Contract for Sale or Contract for Deed as an acceptable form of legal ownership.


The contract sales price must not exceed the current, published FHA 203(b) mortgage limits adjusted for family size, and the maximum per-unit subsidy limit must not exceed the published 221(d) (3) limits (Appendix E). 


A recipient of HOME funds under the First-Time Homebuyers Program is not eligible to receive assistance under this program again, even in instances where a new household is created through divorce and remarriage.


The City imposes no affordability requirements to the HOME-assisted buyer, except those established by the lending institution. 


VII.   Loan Recapture Provisions


 If at any time within a five-year or ten-year period following purchase, the homeowner fails to occupy the property as a principal residence, either the full amount or a portion of the First-Time Homebuyers assistance will be due and payable to the City. 


If non-occupancy occurs within the first year, and the assistance amount from the First Time Home Buyer Program and the Minor Repair Program is less than $15,000, the full amount is repayable.  On each anniversary thereafter, 20% of the assistance is forgiven so that on the fifth anniversary from date of purchase, the lien amount is totally forgiven and the lien is released. If non-occupancy occurs within the first year, and the assistance amount from the First Time Home Buyers Program and the Minor Repair Program is more than $15,000, the full amount is repayable. On the anniversary thereafter, 10% of the assistance is forgiven so that on the tenth anniversary from date of purchase, the lien amount is totally forgiven and the lien is released. (Appendix O).


The period in which recapture requirements are in effect is known as the “Affordability Period” and will be enforced through a Subordinate Deed of Trust & Note furnished by the Neighborhood Resources Division at the time of closing and the lien filed for record by the title company in the Wichita County Clerk's Office.  These legal documents secure the City's interest as a secondary lien holder on the property (Appendix F, G).


VIII. Application Process


            A.  Referral By Financial Institution – Lender Requirements


Applicants for First-Time Homebuyer assistance must first seek a mortgage loan through a Participating Lender, and are then referred to the Neighborhood Resources Division by the lender or realtor. 


The financial institution should pre-screen the loan applicant for basic eligibility requirements of the First-Time Homebuyers Program.  If the applicant appears to be initially qualified for a mortgage loan and meets basic eligibility criteria of the First-Time Homebuyers Program, the lender should provide the applicant a Pre-qualification Letter and a Good Faith Estimate (Appendix H) to furnish to the City at the time of the interview for the First-Time Homebuyers Program assistance.  The lender should also provide the City a copy of the buyer’s credit report. 


The applicant should be advised to call the Neighborhood Resources Division to schedule an appointment for the initial FTHB Program interview.


After the property appraisal is conducted, the lender must furnish the City a copy of the appraisal and lender’s closing instructions prior to the scheduled closing.


  Applications for HOME assistance are processed as they are received.


B.  Contingency Language In The Sales Contract


Realtors are encouraged to include contingency language in the sales contract that enables the First-Time Homebuyer to select another property without potential loss of earnest money if the property does not pass the City’s inspection and the seller is not willing to make the required repairs identified in the City’s inspection report, or if the applicant for some other reason does not qualify for the First-Time Homebuyers Program.




C.  Applicant Interview


During the applicant interview for First-Time Homebuyers assistance, program requirements are explained in detail and the First-Time Homebuyers Application (Appendix A) and accompanying notices are provided to the buyer and reviewed.  The applicant should have a basic understanding of the overall program requirements, application process, legal obligations assumed by receiving First-Time Homebuyers Program assistance, repayment triggers, nature and implications of the City property inspection, and approximate time frames to complete the process.


Program requirements include an explanation of:

  • The amount and type and use of assistance provided by the First-Time Homebuyers Program.
  • The basic conditions of the deferred payment loan, including the buyer’s obligation for repayment under conditions specified in the City’s legal documents.
  • Income verification requirements and how income is defined, calculated, and verified for the FTHB Program. (Appendix C, Q, R, S, T)
  • Floodplain restrictions.
  • The nature and purpose of the property inspection conducted by the City (Appendix N, P).
  • How the condition of the property affects property eligibility.
  • Occupancy requirements and recapture provisions.
  • Lead-based paint requirements for the property, health and safety reasons for the requirements and provision of the Lead-Based Paint Notice   (Appendix J).
  • Grievance procedure (Appendix K).
  • Certification and verification of occupancy (Appendix U).
  • The Minor Repair Program component available to the buyer after closing.


An applicant's file will contain items listed on the Checklist of Duties and Documentation (Appendix B).


Information gathered during the application process is subject to the Privacy Act (Appendix W).  The Subordinate Deed of Trust is a public record (Appendix V).



            D.  Property Inspection


When the buyer returns the completed application and the City receives a copy of the TREC Residential Real Estate Contract, the Neighborhood Resources Division will schedule and conduct an initial inspection of the property to determine property condition and what, if any, repairs will be required in order for  the house to be approved for the FTHB Program.   

Buyers and realtors will be provided a copy of the City’s First-Time Homebuyers Property Inspection Guidelines (Appendix P) to use as a guide for understanding the required overall condition the home must be in and for types of repairs commonly required for the home to pass inspection.


All homes built before 1978 are subject to Federal Lead-Based Paint Regulations and must be free from any lead paint hazards before assistance is provided. 


If the buyer orders a private home inspection, the City should receive a copy for review.


Should the home contain potential health or safety-related hazards, these must be corrected prior to occupancy and prior to any HOME Program funding for the project. 


The buyer, lender and realtor will be notified of required repairs, and the home must pass a re-inspection following correction of any deficiencies. If the inspection reveals that the structure is obviously substandard, and the seller decides that correcting the deficiencies would not be cost effective, the applicant may look for another property to purchase that meets property standards.


If the City inspection reveals a major system that may be working but is in danger of failing or has exceeded its customary life expectancy, the buyer may apply for the Minor Repair Program.  Any such repair is performed after property closing but before occupancy by the buyer.


The Neighborhood Resources Division inspection is not intended to identify all potential deficiencies nor produce a complete evaluation of the entire structure and systems of the home.  The buyer can contract with a private inspection service for a more comprehensive and detailed analysis and evaluation of the structure and condition of the property. 


E.  Property Appraisal


As a requirement for receipt of HOME funds, an appraisal of the property by a qualified, state-licensed third-party is necessary.  Prior to closing, the lending organization must provide to the City a copy of the appraisal to be included in the First-Time Homebuyer's file. (Appendix I).


F.  Income Verification


Although the financial institution's process for mortgage loan approval includes an evaluation of income for the applicant, the Neighborhood Resources Division will also verify and document income using the definition for income according to criteria in 24 CFR Part 5.609 (Appendix C).  Household income is determined not from evidences of past income, but from projected future income during the 12 month period from date of application.  Income from all persons age 18 or older who will be living in the home must be included to arrive at total family income.  Types of income included in the household income calculation include wages, salaries, overtime pay, tips, bonuses, commissions, child support, SSI/Social Security, disability, unemployment compensation, pensions, annuities, cash contributions, and dividends, interest or other income derived from assets.  Income verification is valid for a six-month period following receipt of information.  If the homebuyer does not acquire title to the property within six months, income must be re-verified.         



G.  Environmental Review


Prior to property and applicant approval, the City of Wichita Falls will conduct an environmental review of the property as required by HOME regulations.  Property sites will be identified with respect to the 100-year Floodplain, Coastal Barriers Resources Act requirements, and the Runway Clear Zone of a civilian airport or the Clear Zone of a military airfield (Appendix L).  Documentation of compliance will be included in the applicant’s file.


IX. Uniform Relocation Act Requirements

To comply with requirements of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, sellers of properties purchased with First-Time Homebuyers funds must sign the form, "Notice of Uniform Relocation Act Requirements" (Appendix M).  This form informs the owner-seller of the fair market value of the property and although federal funds are involved in the purchase, the buyer is an individual and does not possess the power of eminent domain in acquiring the property.


Properties currently or recently occupied by renters are ineligible because of liability exposure to the City under the Uniform Relocation Act.


X. Verification of Occupancy


During the period when the loan recapture provisions are in effect, compliance with the principal-residence requirement will be randomly monitored from time to time.  Any discrepancy that creates a question of ownership will be resolved by written contact with the homeowner, asking the homeowner to furnish verification of residency by furnishing a copy of a current bill or other third-party documentation that indicates the present address of the homeowner.







City of Wichita Falls 1st Time Home Buyer Program Update

by Ashton Gustafson

December 16, 2009



 Effective IMMEDIATELY the First Time Home Buyers (FTHB) Program administered by the City of Wichita Falls has changed the amount of assistance available to qualified homebuyers to $4,250. This change is a result of a limited annual funding amount from HUD combined with a continued strong market demand for the FTHB Program. All other program requirements will remain the same.

 Once program funds for the current fiscal year are fully committed to qualified applicants, no money will be available to assist in the purchase of a home until next year’s funds are made available to the City. The City’s fiscal year begins October 1st.  

 Assistance is subject to availability of funds, and applicants are provided assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. The amount of assistance provided may also be subject to future adjustment depending upon program activity and annual funding amounts.

 Funding for assistance is not reserved for the FTHB until the participating lender provides in writing they have been pre-qualified for a mortgage loan, they have properly completed and returned the FTHB application, the application is processed- including income verification, and a signed sales contract is on file with our office.

In the event the initial sales contract is terminated, our office must be notified. We also need to know the FTHB intends to look for another property to purchase. The assistance will remain reserved for the FTHB for a 30-day period after termination of the sales contract. If you do not provide us with another sales contract within the 30-day period, the commitment for assistance will end and the FTHB will once again be subject to the first-come, first-served rule. If all available funds have been committed before the FTHB has completed these steps of the application process, the FTHB will be placed on a waiting list in the event funds become available during either the current or for the next fiscal year.

I have included revised brochures for your information and use.

Thank you for your continued support. Please feel free to call the Neighborhood Resources Division at 761-7448 if you have any questions.


Brian Gibson

Neighborhood Resources Division

Ashton's Weekly Real Estate Update - Wichita Falls

by Ashton Gustafson

Good Monday morning to you!

I hope this email finds you doing well this Christmas season. It looks like interest rates will remain at historically low rates as we enter into 2010. We have no idea how long they will stay here, but we do know they can only go one way - up!

With these rates, its a great time to look at investing. See for a weekly list of possible investments.

If there is anything we can do for you or anyone you may know this week, please let me know.

Remember, for Buyers for Sellers - Foreclosure prevention.

"Patience and perseverance have a magical affect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." John Quincy Adams

Wichita Falls Real Estate Update - Dec 7

by Ashton Gustafson

Good Monday morning to you!

I just returned from a conference with 200 of the top agents in the country. Its always good to be around the best of the best, and I hope to put to use the knowledge learned for my current and future clients.

One thing to keep in mind at this time is investing in an income producing piece of Real Estate. I feel its the perfect storm - low rates and a good amount of inventory. When these rates swing upward (and they will), the lease market is going to be on of the best we've ever seen. Let me know if you would like to discuss some possibilities for yourself in this matter.

Also, I've launched a new site. Know someone that is having a hard time with their mortgage? They may qualify for a "short sale". A short sale is when the lender will accept less than what is owed on the mortgage. If someone you know would like to explore the possibility of a short sale for their property, avoid foreclosure, and potentially save their credit rating, please forward the link below. 

If I can serve you or anyone you may know this week, please let me know.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.James Truslow Adams

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

Contact Information

Photo of Ashton Gustafson Real Estate
Ashton Gustafson
The Bishop Realtor Group
1916 N. Elmwood Ave.
Wichita Falls TX 76308
Office: 940-691-7355
Fax: 940-691-7363