Non Priority Area, Confused

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    Hello all,

    I am trying to get a property specific letter for a home my wife and I wish to buy. However, my counselor just emailed us that we can’t purchase this property with the following explanation which has me extremely confused and upset, and this does not sound accurate at all:

    “Unfortunately our Members cannot purchase this property due to the location. It is in a Non-Priority area and our Members can only purchase in a Priority area per Program guidelines. Please read the policy on that.”

    I do not get it. I am a priority member, which I thought meant that we could purchase anywhere in the MSA? I am in the Lake County, IL MSA which has a median income of $104,200. My wife and I are around $80,000 so well under that. Our file even says priority members.

    Did something change that nobody told me about or is my MC just confused? This can not be correct and I am extremely frustrated at the moment.

    anything on this?

    • This topic was modified 3 years ago by Peapod0609.

    So this one is where the gray area emerges.

    Yes a priority member can purchase anywhere in a priority area and many MSAs are entirely priority areas but not all of them. This is something you have to check on with your local office and should be mentioned in the workshops.

    Usually MSAs which include big cities are entirely priority. These often include vast impoverished areas.

    MSAs that only include small to moderate sized cities or have entirely high income areas will tend to have more pockets of priority vs non priority areas.


    Hi @Nelsont,

    Wow, that is interesting. That was never described to me, anywhere. This was not mentioned at the intro workshop, our intake meeting, our meeting at the ATD event, the Purchase Workshop, nor is it in the NACA Workbook or Purchase Workbook.

    I still think there’s a chance our counselor may have which MSA we are purchasing in confused, I think he thinks we are purchasing in the Chicago MSA instead of Lake County MSA. Because he mentioned that we have to be under $82,400 which is the Chicago MSA (2018 Chicago MSA number to be precise) and he said if we are over this we are non-priority. But that is a completely different MSA. Our file does say Chicago MSA somewhere so maybe that is why but it also says we are priority members even for that MSA (our income is almost exactly of the MSA though).

    But if all of this is true this is very deflating.

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Peapod0609.
    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Peapod0609.

    I would imagine Chicago is all or mostly priority.

    I am in the Baltimore area. They mentioned at the first workshop I attended the entire city and surrounding county is a priority area but the outlying counties might not be.


    That’s the thing, I am not purchasing in the Chicago MSA, I am purchasing in the MSA just west of it in Lake County. It even shows up as a different MSA on the FFIEC MSA site where we get the median incomes, and it shows up on the geomap website as “LAKE COUNTY-KENOSHA COUNTY, IL-WI” and not the Chicago-Naperville-Evanston MSA. He keeps saying we have to be under $82,000, which is the Chicago MSA.

    I am confused as to why he keeps harping on the Chicago one when that is not where we are purchasing? I think our qualification letter said our MSA was Chicago maybe that’s why? I am not sure, this just got very confusing.


    Definitely try to clear that up. Being able to purchase anywhere is more valuable to me than grants.


    If you are a priority member you sholud be able to purchase anywhere. Non- priority members are restricted to purchase in a priority area.


    Hello Peapod0609,

    The NACA-Lynx system automatically defaults to the MSA in which you presently reside since that is where 99% of members end up buying. While you actually have a very experienced counselor, the MSA/Census Tract information can be very confusing.

    Your status is supposed to be based on the MSA in which you are going to buy, but he may not be familiar with that, or more likely, how to change the information to the Lake County MSA. Reach out to your counselor and if he isn’t aware, ask him to reach out to his office manager or our in-house help line for information.

    Priority members (which you are in the Lake County MSA, but not the [default] Chicago MSA) are able to purchase anywhere in the MSA. Again, it looks as if the numbers, the status and the property qualification are all bein based on your file still reflecting your information for the Chicago MSA and not Lake County. Get that changed and everything should fall into place.

    Tim Trumble
    Online Operations, NACA

    P.S. Thanks for helping out at the Achieve the Dream event last week!

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by TTrumble.

    Hi @TTrumble,

    Thank you for your response, this actually helped a lot. I was on the phone with my counselor today and after some back and forth, he finally seemed to understand what the issues was. I read your response to me over the phone to him and it seemed to help him understand even more-so.

    Also Tim, I am copying you on an email right now, I may need your help escalating this. My counselor told me he would get back to me at the end of the day and I never heard back. I am hoping to have all of this resolved by tomorrow and hopefully get this Property Specific Letter before the weekend. This is our #1 home and our #2 and #3 just went under contract recently, so we are really hoping that this one does not slip due to an odd technicality in getting the approval letter.

    Also, I enjoyed volunteering, I was glad to help! πŸ™‚

    • This reply was modified 3 years ago by Peapod0609.


    We are now getting a manager and a regional director involved but I still have no idea how this is going to shake out. They were copied on some emails but nobody has responded yet.

    If anyone has ever purchased in a different MSA than where they currently lived before purchasing the home, let me know. Because apparently, this is causing all kinds of problems and I really can’t afford to purchase in the Chicago MSA I currently live in. We want to purchase in the Lake County MSA, where my wife works. We live pretty close to the borderline of the two MSA’s.

    My fear is this will drag a few days into next week then there’s another ATD event in St. Louis, and people from my office in Chicago could be attending that as well. So I feel if I don’t hear by Wednesday, I will have to wait another week.

    I never would have imagined that this would be such a headache!


    Update: Woohoo, got this taken care of! I got my approval letter! We confirmed with management that we are priority members in both the MSA in which we live and the one we’re most looking to purchase in. Should have an offer in today ?

    To anyone reading, take note. I had to call my counselor, I didn’t get that far. I ended up calling Tim after my counselor still said we were not priority members. He said to call the regional director directly. We also talked to the office manager, too. If you really feel something is not being addressed properly, escalate it. In my case, I knew I was right, so I kept pushing.

    I can handle being told no, but not when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am correct! If you know you’re right, keep pushing!


    Great News! Some Naca bloggers ought to be counselors. If I was a counselor and didn’t know something, I would humble myself and do the research/find the answer, instead of say “no” out of ignorance and misinformation. “I don’t think you can buy in this MSA, but let me check with the office manager” Is that so hard for a counselor to do? Anyways good luck, you are on your way!


    Yeah, I feel like there should have been multiple steps before giving me a denial, but it is what it is. I am going to give the counselor the benefit of the doubt this time, but I hope things aren’t so rocky from here on out.

    If I were doing that job, yes I would look at a few resources first if I was not sure. But, glad that we were able to at least get an offer in today. We were fearing we would end up losing out on the house due to some stupid stuff! Hopefully our offer is accepted!


    Hi all! To piggy back off this question, how can you tell if you will have success finding a home in your area based on where you live. I live 2 hours away from Chicago in Mclean County. I fall below the median income, but I’m not sure I will have success in this area due to it not being a city like chicago. I hope my question makes sense, lol!


    Do you mean success as in how often do people outside of a city close on homes through the naca process?

    I’m not sure they keep numbers on that. The success is based on 2 factors: yourself and the education of the seller.

    First if you have a thourough understanding of the system and are very dilligent with your record keepiong then you are setting yourself up for success. Then if you you know your local market well, find an agent who is right for you, and know what both what you want out of a house and when to spend more and when to back away then you are also setting yourself up for success.

    As far as the seller I have found that educating the seller on the process seems to help out a lot. The process is not quick and can often drag out. When the seller is familiar with the process, what is expected of you and them too and when they understand once it gets to a certain point, even though the process is dragging out, the sale is in the bag.

    All of this is true no matter where you buy.

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