For groups that have little or no experience with the affordable housing development process, this webpage provides a general overview of affordable housing development programs offered by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA). OHFA encourages developers and organizations wishing to utilize public financing for affordable housing development to seek the advice of legal and accounting professionals familiar with available programs.
- Assemble a good development team. The first step to developing an affordable housing proposal is to assemble a good development team with success, knowledge and experience with the affordable housing development process. There are many professionals and professional firms that specialize affordable housing development. To find qualified candidates, talk with current property owners, attend conferences and trainings, and or contact regional, state or national trade organizations.
- Identify a good site. With affordable housing real estate transactions, a good location is a key ingredient for success. The developer should fully analyze all potential construction, rehabilitation, infrastructure, environmental, tenant relocation and marketing issues before acquiring a site or building.
- Analyze the market. It is very important to analyze the market area a development will serve. Although there is a significant need for affordable housing statewide, some areas have stronger rental markets than others.
- Work with the local community. Before applying for any public financing, developers should establish a good working relationship with the local community in which the affordable housing development will be located. Local officials can help guide the developer through the zoning, plan approval and building permit processes. In addition, open, frequent and honest communication with local officials and the community can help minimize opposition to an affordable housing development and increase one's change in obtaining funds from other sources.
- Create a reasonable financing plan. Resources for affordable housing developments are limited and in many cases, funding from one source will not be sufficient. Affordable housing developments also do not generate large amounts of cashflow and are therefore difficult to finance. It is important to explore all potential funding sources and create alternative financing plans if some sources later become unavailable. Finding a lender and working with public entities early on in the development process can be beneficial.
- Remember to plan. Managing an affordable housing development is just as difficult as securing financing for and developing an affordable property. Developers should be fully aware of all compliance requirements associated with public financing sources. A good management plan and experienced management team are keys to sustaining a property over the long-term.