Buyer FAQ

How is RMCLT different from other affordable homeownership programs?

RMCLT’s investment in each property reduces the homeowner’s mortgage by at least 20%.  In exchange for this “down payment assistance”, homeowners agree to sell the home to another eligible buyer.  Our investment is not a loan to you that you are responsible for repaying.  You earn a reasonable share of appreciation if the value of the home goes up plus the equity earned when you pay down the principle on your mortgage–all without pricing the next low-income family out of the market.

Who partners with RMCLT in homeownership?

RMCLT families include anyone residing in the home, including families of 1 person. This could be a single person, roommates, spouses, boy/girlfriends, friends, parents, grandparents, caregivers, etc. You do not have to be related or married.

Our families include teachers, nurses, retail workers, janitors, mechanics, disabled persons, and retired seniors. The people who purchase with RMCLT may have a difficult time saving for a large down payment, or are unable to afford a mortgage payment that is higher than their current rent.

How do you verify that I am a U.S. Citizen or have 'legal status'?

It is a program requirement when purchasing a home with RMCLT that all adults, 18 years of age and older, living in the household provide a Colorado Driver’s License or ID to prove citizenship.

What do the home loans look like?

Homeowners are required to obtain a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage from one of the approved lenders. There is no private mortgage insurance. There are no balloon payments. There are no fluctuating interest rates.

Increases in homeowner’s insurance and property taxes will be the only reason your mortgage will change over the next 30 years.

Can I use a VA loan?

No. VA underwriting guidelines do not approve the Community Land Trust model.

What if my credit is not the greatest?

RMCLT does not look at credit in our office.  If you are interested in being a homeowner, please contact one of the approved lenders listed here.  They deal with credit issues all the time; they can tell you what you need to work on, and how long it will take you to do it.

“If you do not address your credit issues today, one year from now you will be in the same place you are today.” –Vicky Albert, Home Ownership Coordinator

What is a Community Land Trust (CLT)?

CLTs are non-profit organizations providing quality homeownership options that are affordable, sustainable, and allow families to achieve greater self-sufficiency.  By investing funds to buy-down the purchase price of homes, the CLT can offer affordable prices.  The investment stays with the home, keeping future prices at levels working families can afford while providing the seller with a modest return on their investment.  There are over 250 CLTs in the United States, with nearly 10,000 permanently affordable homes.

Click here for an infographic about CLTs.

Do I own the land?

No. RMCLT retains ownership of the land through a ground lease agreement. This key document ties the house and the land together, and is the legally enforceable way to ensure that our program requirements are met. (RMCLT retains a percentage ownership of condos through a similar lease agreement.)

Most importantly, you are responsible for the land and have the right to landscape and engage in all typical homeowner activities. This is your home–you get to enjoy the security, control, tax advantages, and equity building opportunities of homeownership.

How do property taxes work?

RMCLT homeowners are responsible for all property taxes–both for the land and the improvements (the house). Like with any home, your property taxes will be paid to your lender every month, along with your insurance premiums, when you make your mortgage payment. The lender collects these payments in a special escrow account and pays taxes directly to the county on your behalf.

Can I leave my home to my children?

Of course! The ground lease secures your use of the land for 99-years and is renewable and inheritable. You can live in your home the rest of your life, and bequeath it to your loved ones. They would then be required to live in the home themselves, or sell to another eligible family.

What if I want to move to a different home; can I rent out my RMCLT home?

No. If you decide to move to another home, whether locally or not, you must sell your home to another eligible family. See our sales criteria here.

How long does the homebuying process take?

This depends on the family. You must be pre-qualified for a mortgage and meet all other criteria before writing a contract on a home with RMCLT. Once we accept a contract, the home must pass the required inspections and be approved by our committees and Board of Directors. This can take 45-60 days.

What is the ground lease fee?

Homeowners pay a nominal fee (currently $55 for a townhome or condo and $70 for a single family home) per month to support RMCLT’s general operations. These fees allow us to help other families in the community.

What if my income or family size changes after I move into my RMCLT home?

As long as you pay your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, HOA dues, and lease fee, your home is yours.  We understand that life is full of changes.  Changes to your income or household size will not affect your eligibility to own a home with us.

Families who are facing financial hardship are encouraged to call David Irmo, the  Support Services Coordinator, before any payments are missed.  We cannot help you, if you do not let us know what problems you are facing.

Do you work with real estate agents?

Yes! We work with all realtors. Commissions are based on the sales price of the home, not the homeowner investment. If your realtor has not been a part of a previous RMCLT transaction, we encourage them to attend the orientation class with you.

Is there a waiting list to become a homeowner?

No. We accept purchase contracts on a first-come, first-served basis from homebuyers who meet all of the RMCLT criteria (including being pre-qualified for a mortgage from one of our approved lenders).

Where are RMCLT homes located?

Our families live throughout El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs. We currently only have funding to purchase with families within the City of Colorado Springs.