Most families believe that the first step to purchasing a home hinges on finding a quality realtor. We firmly believe working with a realtor is an important step of the process. It’s not your starting point, though.
What if we told you there was an overlooked step, one that increased your chances of successful homeownership drastically?
The most successful first step toward homeownership is undergoing homeownership coaching.
It’s likely you’ve never heard of this step.
If you have heard of it, it might be because Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton recently highlighted Homeownership Coaching as one of the areas we need to emphasize in our journey toward sustainable homeownership, and subsequently to help revitalize the economy and our communities.
If we were really bold, which we are, we would add in a second step prior to finding a realtor: securing financing. That’s a topic you’ll dive into during your coaching.
If you can’t tell, we’re on a mission to shake up the traditional first-time homebuyer process. We want to truly put the purchasing power back with the consumer. The key to developing this power shift rests on homebuyer education through coaching.
Power of Homebuyer Education
Policy creators on Clinton’s team understand the power of education when approaching buying a home. It changes the equation in favor of the homebuyer, shifting the power away from banks, lenders, financing and an overly complicated system.
After 2008, we all saw the repercussions of a system that didn’t have the buyer’s best interest at heart.
At NeighborWorks Orange County, we’ve seen this education magic in action. First-time buyers who invest time into learning the process make better decisions. They see through the complex system, honing in on the path that is best for them, not the large banks.
They purchase the right home for them at the right time for their family, not when it’s right for the big institutions or other providers.
It’s true that following homebuyer coaching, many first time buyers put off purchasing a home for one to two years. Don’t discount this. These families emerge two years later in a stronger financial position, ready to purchase. Long term, buyers who take advantage of homeownership coaching own their home longer or position themselves to move up in home faster.
This is a powerful shift in the world of homeownership. That’s sustainable homeownership.
It’s also why policy makers underscore the importance of homeownership coaching.
Unfortunately, we’ve also seen the other side. Shortly after the economic crash in 2008, our Foreclosure Coaching classes were filled with families in jeopardy of losing their homes. After dozens of courses, we never had a single attendee currently facing a foreclosure who had taken advantage of homeownership coaching prior to their purchase.
We are not saying that first-time buyers who don’t utilize coaching end up in foreclosure. Many will thrive in homeownership. We’re only highlighting that never once during the entire housing collapse did we have a family facing foreclosure that had completed homeownership coaching before buying.
That’s something to consider.
Can’t a Realtor Help Me Through the Process?
At the end of the day, a realtor’s job is to help you purchase a home. There are fantastic realtors out there who go above and beyond to make sure clients make a smart purchase. We should know. We have an entire real estate team dedicated to doing just that.
Outside of our unique social enterprise realtor model, most realtors have a lot on their plate trying to help clients view homes around Orange County. It’s a big job all on its own. They need to tailor their search to your preferred home styles, find options in your budget, evaluate fair market value, guide you through negotiations and cue you into possible pitfalls of a specific home. On top of all of that, they only get paid when the sale closes.
Relying solely on a realtor to help you evaluate financing terms, understand options for closing costs, or give you insights on what you can afford leaves you at risk. You are also at risk when depending solely on someone who is selling you a loan.
Your Free Advocate
Advocating for your best interests isn’t the job for your realtor, lender or cousin who “knows” about buying a house. While many will have good advice, or in the case of many family and friends, think they have good advice, their job isn’t to educate you on all of your options.
That’s the role of a qualified homeownership coach.
Our coaches are your advocates throughout this process. Their specific job is to educate you on how to understand loan terms, explore assistance programs, evaluate your financial position and build a roadmap to achieving your dreams. When you have questions, they are a neutral party with years of experience addressing that specific issue.
They don’t get paid when you close on a home or sign into a contract. In fact, their salary is completely independent of your transaction. Homeownership coaching is FREE to families living in Orange Country, regardless of income. These programs are made possible through our nonprofit and corresponding social enterprise model.
It’s all part of our mission to empower homeowners.
If you are looking to shift the tide of power back into your favor when purchasing a home, then sign up for our free homeowner coaching today. No matter where you are in the process, we can help you determine the best steps for you to move forward.