To Buy or Not to Buy…
Either Way, HEA Says It’s Time to Get Ready For a Home Purchase
Tampa, Florida —– Buying a home is a complicated process and it’s very easy to make an expensive mistake. Interest rates and home prices are high right now, but there are two schools of thought about what to do. Experts agree that change is in the air, but no one has a crystal ball to see exactly what will be the new normal in the housing market.
If you find the perfect home in the perfect location for your family, there is some good news. Since the Federal Reserve’s early November 2023 meeting, mortgage rates have finally dropped back below 8%. November’s first week was the best week for mortgage rates since the pandemic-fueled rally of 2020. Rates are expected to trend lower for buyers into Thanksgiving, at least.
So, it might make sense for you to bite the bullet and take the high interest rate on your mortgage. Many realtors believe that home prices may never fall back to pre-pandemic prices. So, you may be smart to live with higher mortgage payments for a while until rates drop and you can refinance. With so many people waiting in the wings, getting in the house you want now puts you ahead of the massive wave of competition that will hit the market when there is a more significant interest rate drop.
On the other hand, you may have looked around and decided that this may not be the right time for you to buy. In that case, you can use this time productively to get “Mortgage Ready.” When the market does improve, with lower interest rates and lower home prices, you will want to be in the best position possible.
In either case, the Housing and Education Alliance (HEA) arms you with knowledge to avoid costly mistakes. HEA delivers HUD-certified education via an award-winning course, HomeTRACK©. You can talk to a HUD-certified counselor who will recommend the best options for you, arming you with knowledge to help you navigate the buying process and avoid predatory lending practices.
The HomeTRACK© course is the first requirement to obtain down payment assistance. For example within the City of Tampa, HEA has helped buyers qualify for up to $105,000 in assistance. The course can also qualify you for income eligible down payment assistance – a HUGE advantage! The process is complex and labor intensive; HEA’s dedicated HUD certified counselors will help you navigate the paperwork and qualification process.
If you are waiting out the market, you want to be in a stable financial position, have a good Credit Score, and have some savings for a down payment when prices and mortgage rates come down. Improve your Credit Score by paying your bills on time, keeping your credit card balances low, and avoiding maxing out your credit cards.
It’s more important than ever to have a Housing Counselor to help you create a budget and determine how much you can save each month. A HUD-certified homebuyer course such as HomeTRACK© will show you how to cut back on unnecessary expenses and redirect that money towards your down payment savings. Consider setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to a separate savings account dedicated to your down payment. Get in on the “Side Hustle” trend to create a special source of money dedicated to your down payment.
Your HUD-certified Housing Counselor can also help you navigate the complicated application process and paperwork for down payment assistance programs. These programs can provide financial assistance to homebuyers who meet certain criteria, such as income limits or being a first-time homebuyer. Click here www.heausa.org to learn how.
No matter what you decide about the timing of your home purchase, the process is complex and time-consuming for everyone – especially during this volatile housing market. It is more important than ever to stay flexible and patient. Understand that finding the right home and securing a favorable mortgage rate may take time. Be open to different options and be willing to compromise if necessary.
The Housing and Education Alliance works tirelessly on behalf of hard – working families and their housing issues. HEA’s CEO, Sylvia Alvarez, is the daughter of immigrants who came to the US when she was an infant. “I always remember my parents working very hard,” she said. “By the time I was nine they had saved up enough to buy a home. Since they did not speak English, I became the translator for them between the banker, builder, and realtor. Seeing their joy at becoming homeowners I think struck a nerve that I carried into adulthood. I feel it is my responsibility to do all that I can to keep the American Dream of homeownership alive.”
Car Credit (www.carcredittampa.com) and Nuevo en US (www.nuevoenus.org) are proud to support the work of the Housing and Education Alliance – helping people along the Road to the American Dream.
To learn more, contact Sylvia Alvarez, HEA Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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