This year has been full of challenges and a lot of unknowns. At Down Payment Resource, we’ve shared in those ups and downs, but we’ve also found a few silver linings in celebrating the unexpected.
Celebrating Homeownership Programs
At the start of the pandemic, we began monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on homeownership programs and first-time homebuyers. While program providers decided on “work from home” best practices, there was a temporary drop in available programs at the city and county level. However, state housing finance agencies, which comprise nearly 24 percent of all homeownership programs, never closed or paused business during the pandemic.
And with low inventory and increasing sales prices, more industry professionals are seeing the benefit of down payment programs for their buyers. These programs can help offset closing costs, which is a huge boon for sellers. Down payment help also means buyers can use their savings for other homebuying expenses such as moving, home repairs, upgrades and furnishings.
This year marked our first attempt at providing education directly to homebuyers with our six part webinar series, The Path to Homeownership. The series took potential homebuyers through each step of the homebuying process, from housing counseling to mortgage options and even what to consider after closing.
We’ve also held nearly 30 webinars this year for industry professionals, with topics ranging from how to grow first-time homebuyer business to economic forecasts and reporting. Our attendance levels at these webinars are consistently high, which reinforces the fact that lenders and real estate professionals are eager to learn more about homeownership programs and how to find them.
According to the Bank of America 2020 Homebuyer Insights report, nearly 90 percent of homebuyers surveyed are still motivated to buy, despite the pandemic. And why shouldn’t they be? Historically low rates make payments more affordable, and with the help of a down payment program, buying a home could be a reality sooner than some may think.
In 2020, over 1.2M consumers came to Down Payment Resource to find down payment help. Take Natasha, for example. She was able to close on her first home this year, and we were thrilled to be a small part of that process.
“I just want to thank DownPaymentResource.com for giving me the tools to educate myself. With this info, I just closed on my first home. It was a condo in South Florida, and it was a bit hard trying to find what programs are within the approval guidelines, but it all came together. The knowledge I gained started from your website.”
Thanks to Natasha for reaching out, and congrats on your new home!
Are you looking to buy a home next year?
While the homebuying process can be overwhelming, finding down payment help doesn’t have to be.
If you’re hoping for homeownership in 2021, focus on that goal and empower yourself with information that can help you make it happen. Here are a few ideas:
1. Take a homeownership class. Start by connecting with your state or local housing finance agency. You can also check out online homebuyer education, such as eHomeAmerica.
2. Interview 3 lenders to find the best fit for you.
3. Research down payment assistance programs in your market.
4. Review your budget and outline what type of monthly housing costs your income will support.
We’d love to hear more about your path to homeownership. Share your story with us, and you might inspire another future homeowner to take the first steps.