Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homeownership the NeighborWorks Way: Prepare, Invest and Retain

Marietta Rodriguez
By Marietta Rodriguez
director, National
Programs & Lending

Every June is National Homeownership Month. While the most recent housing crisis has perhaps put homeownership into question, homeownership provides many benefits to homeowners and to communities. Sufficient preparation when considering homeownership is critical. We like to call the services NeighborWorks provides homeownership the NeighborWorks way.

While homeownership may not be the right choice for every person at every stage of their lives, homeownership is an important cornerstone of our communities. And NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network are trusted resources for homeowners, creating thousands of homeowners each year. In 2012 NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network helped 15,000 homebuyers achieve their dream of homeownership.

For 35 years, NeighborWorks America and the NeighborWorks network have provided access to homeownership and to quality housing in thousands of communities across the country. The more than 240 NeighborWorks organizations across the country provide current and potential homeowners a suite of specialized homeownership programs and services. These include an analysis of homebuyer readiness, comprehensive education on the homebuying process, one-on-one financial coaching, important information about the availability of possible financial assistance with down payment and closing costs, and access to affordable mortgage products.

Preparing for Homeownership with Pre-Purchase Education 

Successful homeownership requires more than just having enough money on hand. It’s about knowing how to navigate the home buying process, what to expect once you become a homeowner, and having a reliable partner to turn to when questions come up. For example, for many homebuyers, pre-purchase homebuyer education and counseling is a critical component to successful and sustainable homeownership.

NeighborWorks organizations, located in every state, are a great place for prospective homeowners to start because they help individuals become mortgage-ready and better equipped to manage the process. Counselors work with individuals to ensure their credit profile reflects strength and help identify experts who could explain what kind of maintenance – immediate or long-term – the home may need.

It is important to remember not all mortgages are created equal. NeighborWorks counselors can help potential homeowners secure a mortgage suitable to their current needs. In addition, NeighborWorks services offer a free or low cost alternative to  higher cost services,  and that’s an important distinction. Ultimately, it’s a NeighborWorks homeownership counselor’s goal to make sure that each homeowner is matched with the right homeownership products. In 2012 NeighborWorks organizations provided nearly 122,000 individuals and families with education and counseling services.

Providing Help through a Network of HomeOwnership Centers

NeighborWorks America’s National Homeownership Programs offer technical assistance and grants to our network that, in turn, provide a continuum of strategies to help ensure successful, sustainable homeownership for people of modest means in every state. There are more than 100 NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers around the country, and many offer affordable first and second mortgages. They are “one-stop” shops for prospective homebuyers and homeowners. Customers can access all of the services and training necessary to shop for, purchase, renovate, maintain, and manage a home. To locate a NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center, visit here.

NeighborWorks America knows that for many individuals the road to homeownership can seem, at times, challenging. But dependable NeighborWorks staff work hard every day to make the dreams of homeownership a reality for thousands of individuals every year. Join us in celebrating those who will achieve their homeownership dreams in 2013 and help us ensure all those interested in pursuing homeownership know about homeownership the NeighborWorks way: prepare, invest and retain!