Buying a home is a very rewarding & exciting time, but it is also a very vulnerable time. That’s why it’s important to build a team made up of professionals whose primary focus & goal is to aid clients in making one of the largest decisions in their lives.
Being part of a home-buyers “Real Estate Procurement Team” (made up of the Realtor, Lender, Home Inspector, Insurer, Title/Settlement Company, etc.) has been an honor throughout my career. First as a builder, then a Home Inspector, & most recently as a HUD Renovation Consultant. But, I’ve also been on the other side of the table as the home buyer, & more recently as the father of a home buyer, & have experienced the emotional spectrum (follow thislinkto a funny article about that) our clients & their families are going through.
While there are stresses found in every aspect of real estate, from start to finish, there are also many joys. When I ask lenders, realtors, settlement clerks, insurance agents, appraisers, (etc.) what they find most rewarding about being in real estate, the answer more often than not is “helping people accomplish their dreams“. From my own experience as a Superintendent with Camberley Homes, as a HUD Consultant, & as a Home Inspector – I couldn’t agree more.
In my previous life as a Senior Builder / Superintendent with Camberley Homes, I always looked forward to the New Home Orientation / Homeowner Walk Through. As the superintendent, I was there with the clients as they created their selection sheets and a 2D representation of their future home was put together. After months of construction & working together through the stresses of building a new home, the project was finally complete, & we could breath. The N.H.O. is the day that I got to showcase all of the efforts of the building team to create the clients dream home.
The National Association of Realtors – a Great Resource for Home-buyers
Home-buyers need every tool at their disposal to understand the labyrinth of Residential Real Estate. One tool we gain a lot of information from is the National Association of Realtors “Realtor Magazine”. Have a Question? Use their search bar to locate informative articles or just review their “Daily News Articles” where you will find articles such as these:
Realtors & their associations are advocates for the right to own, use, & transfer real property. Meaning, they are YOURadvocates for home-ownership.
HUD RESOURCES. . .
HUD Resources aid in home-ownership, default / foreclosure prevention, & even offer assistance for renters. . .
Are you considering purchasing a home, refinancing to get out of a loan that is pulling you under, or are you like many others struggling to stay in your current home? Before looking anywhere else for advice, start with HUD, BECAUSE they sponsor housing counseling agencies throughout the country to provide FREE or low-cost advice on:
Still not completely sure? Here are 5 reasons to work with a housing counselor at a HUD-approved agency:
Honest Advice:A housing counselor will help you by assessing your situation. They will talk to you about the good & the bad with an unbiased opinion, bringing background knowledge of the best practices, upholding the national Industry Standards for Homeownership Education & Counseling. In addition, they have worked with many homeowners, banks, & servicers, & this experience means they know how to keep the process moving forward, & the various programs that may help your situation.
Explanation of bank letters: A certified housing counselor can help you dissect the terminology used in the correspondence issued by your lender & in the paperwork of the loan modification process. While a
bank or servicer may say your loan is “going into foreclosure,” they can help you understand what the actual timeline is for foreclosure & how to look out for important things like a Notice of Default.
Your Budget:A counselor will work with you to review your budget. Counselors can provide budget counseling & calculate your housing ratios, so you understand your ability to afford your mortgage & explain how these same ratios could impact your eligibility for assistance. For example, a counselor can review your income vs. your housing expenses & explain to you how that will impact your eligibility for a program like VHDA’s Down Payment Assistance (DPA).
Communication with your Bank or Servicer:Have you submitted paperwork to your bank or servicer multiple times, or called your designated representative but were not able to speak to them? While these types of issues can’t be completely eliminated, a certified counselor may have a reliable contact with your lender or have an efficient method of submitting your documents which can help smooth out some of the bumps along the way during the lender’s review.
Resources:Housing Counselors are able to provide you with resources, such as the VHDA Loss Mitigation program. Studies have shown that with the help of a HUD-certified counselor:
nearly 70 percent of those counseled obtained a mortgage remedy to retain their home;
56 percent cured their defaults and became current on their mortgages; &
35 percent of participants became homeowners within 18 months of pre-purchase counseling.
Whether a first-time home-buyer or facing foreclosure, be sure to find a HUD Approved Housing Counselor to learn more on the variety of housing counseling services and financial educational programs available to help consumers obtain and keep their piece of the American Dream.