(Photo above: Marisa utilized The Joy Fund to pay for an inspection for her new home in Baileyville. Front row: Janet J. and Nancy M., sellers, Marisa H., buyer, Beth Johnson, Berkshire Hathaway. Back row: Georgie Kendall, Realty of Maine, Michael Tupper, Gateway Title, and Steve Leackfeldt, Bangor Savings Bank.)
The Joy Fund was established in March of 2022 to assist first-time home buyers in Washington County, like Kelsey and George (below), make the transition to homeownership by providing funds for home inspections related to a home purchase. “It was a really big relief to have help with the inspection,” said Kelsey. She and George found a house they instantly fell in love with after 2 years of searching. But coming up with the extra money for the inspection was intimidating until their realtor told them about The Joy Fund and helped them fill out the application.
Georgiana (Georgie) Kendall, a 5th generation Downeaster, started this fund to support folks who would like to live, work and play here in Washington County. Home ownership is the most expensive & important investment an individual can make in themselves, their future, their family, and their community.
“As a single mom scraping by on a simple dream, everything could have gone very wrong,” said Sara M from Eastport. “But with a whole lot of work, determination, luck, and help from the right people at just the right time, my kids and I now have our forever home. Without that help, I might not have been able to complete all the necessary steps that would provide full property disclosure and equally important peace of mind! Knowing that the house I was planning to buy had been inspected and any issues had been revealed, meant I knew I was not going to be surprised by unexpected issues or costly repairs. That one hand up in my moment of need was about more than money because I had already poured all of my savings into the initial home-buying costs. Having assistance with the inspection fee was about ensuring that all of that time, effort, and money was not going to be met with more hurdles once the home was mine and my savings were recovering.”
The Joy Fund will award up to $1,000 per calendar year towards the inspection(s) of a residence during the transition months between making an offer and closing on a house. A cross-agency committee reviews applications weekly, and turnaround time for funding is fast.
Please note: this application must be submitted by a Washington County-based real estate agent on behalf of the buyer.
- First-time home buyers
- Applicants must have lived in Washington County for 12 months, including residents who moved away and would like to return
- Pre-approved buyers working with Washington County based real estate agent(s) and financial institution(s). The real estate agent’s primary/permanant residence must be in Washington County.
- Proof of residence in Washington County for a 12-month period currently or in the past
- Proof of having taken a First-Time Home Buyer course (see information on this course)
- Financial institution must have a branch in Washington County
- If possible, the home inspection service(s) should be based in Washington County
- Pre-approved letter from financial institution
- Estimate for each inspection
- Support statement (letter, note, email) from real estate agent
- Indicate other sources of financial assistance for closing costs the buyer has explored (see information on FDA and FHA loans)
If the application is approved, funds will be sent directly to the inspection business(s).
Instructions: Real estate agents will fill out and submit this online form, together with all required documentation (see form). Agents will receive a follow-up email from the reviewing committee. Agents – not the home buyer applying for funds – please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
The Joy Fund reviewing committee will contact buyers 3 months after funds have been awarded with a simple follow-up survey.
If you would like to make a donation to The Joy Fund to help other first-time home buyers with inspection expenses, please click here.