Are you considering buying your first home, but don’t know where to start? Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions a person can make, and the path to becoming a homeowner can be confusing for many first-time homeowners. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Chase Bank can help you navigate the home buying process, so getting the keys to your first home may be closer than you think.
Homeownership is more than a dream for many Americans. In the recently released study on first-time home buyers, of *Chase Home Lending, 69% of those surveyed said they still see home ownership as an important part of building wealth. The survey included more than 1,100 consumers who indicated they expect to buy a home and are actively preparing to buy. Unfortunately, systemic inequalities have created historic barriers to homeownership. As a result, homeownership rates in Latino communities are 25% lower than in white communities, with the gap exacerbated by the 2008 housing crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, both having a disproportionate effect on Latino communities.
For all of these reasons and more, we are taking steps to play an active role in advancing racial equality by creating opportunities specifically for the Latino communities we serve. That includes tackling the wealth gap head-on by offering affordable options with a low down payment with products and programs designed for Latino families on their path to homeownership in Los Angeles. Our new Community Home Lending Advisor, Cornel Hunter at our 4401 Crenshaw Boulevard branch, will serve as the community’s dedicated resource and advisor on all things homeownership.
We sat down with Hunter to discuss what you need to know about buying your first home and how Chase can help you make your dream come true.
What is your role as a Community Home Lending Advisor?
Hunter: As a Community Home Lending Advisor at Chase, I am responsible for helping people here in Los Angeles prepare for homeownership, find the financing solutions that fit their needs, and get all the down payment help. or the home they may qualify for. I work closely with many first-time home buyers, helping them navigate this process for the first time. But I also help clients who are looking to refinance, or who may be looking for a home larger or smaller than their current home. I’m here to help you with your home financing needs so you can make your goals come true. I start by looking at the complete financial picture of each client in order to give the best recommendation so that you can become a homeowner. Through the different steps, from prequalification to closing, I am here to offer guidance, support and insights.
What do first-time buyers need to know when considering applying for a home loan?
Hunter: Some basic things first-time buyers should understand before starting this process are:
- Prepare your finances: Buying a home can be a big financial task, so it will be important to keep your finances in good shape. This involves things like continuing to pay bills on time, not taking on new debt, and strengthening your credit score, which can help you get a lower interest rate home loan. Chase is making it easier to increase clients’ credit scores by supporting a new initiative with Project REACh that will increase the chances that applicants will be approved for credit cards that they traditionally did not have access to, so that they can give that first step.
- Make plans for your down payment: It is a well known fact that you will most likely have to pay money up front to buy a home. However, it is a myth that you have to pay a 20% down payment. Every case is different, and there are a variety of mortgages available that may require as little as a 3% down payment, such as *DreaMaker by Chase. There may also be local programs that could help you with your down payment and closing costs. It’s always a good idea to start saving, but it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the products and support that may be available to you; you can contact a local loan counselor to get started.
- Get prequalified: When embarking on your journey to buy a home, it is important to know how much you can afford for the home. Getting prequalified through a lender like Chase lets you see what you may be eligible for, and it also shows sellers and real estate agents that you are a serious and competitive buyer.
What are some of the resources that Chase offers to help increase homeownership for Latino families and individuals?
Hunter: Chase recently expanded its homebuyer grant program up to $ 5,500, in more than 6,700 minority communities nationwide, for eligible clients to help with closing costs and down payment assistance when buying a home. Our mortgage *DreaMaker from Chase offers down payments as low as 3% and reduced mortgage insurance.
We also support the REACh Project, a government-backed initiative aimed at removing barriers to financial inclusion. The goal is to be able to extend credit to people who have not had the opportunity to borrow because they lack a traditional credit score or history. In a pilot program expected to launch this year, our firm will begin to look at applicants’ checking or savings account history as a way to help them establish a credit history and credit score to have. Strategic advantage when it comes time to apply for a mortgage or other loan.
Are there other products or tools that you recommend for people starting out on the road to homeownership?
Hunter: Our *financial goal center it’s a great starting point. You start by choosing a goal, which could be saving or building credit, and explore tips, offers, and tools to help you stick with it and achieve it. Our page Grow Your Savings, for example, it has an interactive calculator in which you can prepare a plan to achieve your savings goals and also indicates what you can do with the automatic savings tool (Autosave) to follow a regular savings program that allows you to normalize your situation and meet your goals. Other great resources are also available, such as budget spreadsheets where you can view and record your monthly expenses, tips on using the Credit Journey tool to establish and protect your credit, as well as general information on low-cost checking accounts designed. for those who have had trouble obtaining or maintaining an account in the past.
When is the right time to buy a home?
Hunter: Buying a home can be exciting, but it can also include a lot of stress. Learning all you can about the home buying process is the best thing to do before you start looking for properties or comparing mortgage options. Other questions to consider before buying a home include:
- Do you have a stable income that you can depend on?
- How much housing can you afford?
- Have you chosen a place where you want to stay long term?
- Are you comfortable managing your debts?
If you think you’re ready to take the next step in buying a home, visit the Crenshaw Community Center branch. at 4401 Crenshaw Boulevard to learn more about the tools, resources, and capital available to help you realize your dream of homeownership.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.