According to research from NeighborWorks America, 90% of consumers consider owning a home an important part of their American Dream. But the homeownership rate is falling nationally, and buying activity in our community is not where it should be. That’s because three major misconceptions about what it takes to become a homeowner – down payment, credit and lender approval – are combining to hold back many qualified consumers from taking the first steps towards that dream.
Mortgage rates have been consistently low for a while now, but many potential homebuyers are on the sidelines because they believe the wrong facts about homeownership and what it takes to be a homeowner. Our HomeBuyer Education workshops will give consumers the right information when buying a home.
Myth 1: I need to save 20%.
Many potential homebuyers believe they need a 20% down payment to qualify for a mortgage. Nothing is further from the truth.
Lenders throughout our community have mortgages for people who have saved as little as 3% of the down payment. Importantly, there are special lending products in our market where a qualified buyer with only a 3% down payment may not have to pay mortgage insurance. Not everyone is eligible for these loans, but meeting with one of our counselors is the best way to learn what it takes to qualify.
Myth#2: I Need perfect credit.
It’s not necessary to have perfect credit to qualify for a mortgage. Although weaker credit usually means that a buyer may not receive the lowest mortgage rate available, the difference in rate typically doesn’t slam the door on homeownership. Moreover, by attending the HomeBuyer Education workshop, a consumer will learn how to most successfully find a mortgage lender that matches their credit profile.
While perfect credit isn’t necessary to qualify for a mortgage loan, our Financial Capability Course will help a homebuyer manage their credit during the process. Lenders are checking credit practically up to the time of home purchase. By not paying attention to credit during this process – for example missing a single payment for 30 days – may severely damage a credit report. Our homeownership advisers work with consumers every step of the way to help prevent last-minute errors.
Myth #3 One lender said no, they’ll all say no.
Mortgage lenders are not all the same. One lender that says no, does not mean that all lenders will. The NeighborWorks survey found that most Americans are confident that they could find the mortgage that is right for them, but one-out-of-five are not confident at all, and two-thirds of consumers say that the entire home buying process is complicated.
We are here to help make the process smoother, including helping a consumer find the lender that will help affordably get a home today and for the long-run.