By: Saleem Shabazz, KeyBank Community Development Loan Officer NMLS #474996
April is Fair Housing Month, a time to talk about equity in home ownership. Owning a home is often thought of as a key part of the American Dream. It’s one of the largest and most meaningful purchases a person can make and can be an important part of building generational wealth. While buying a home can be an expensive, challenging, and oftentimes intimidating process, it’s not out of reach. Your bank can help make buying a home easier and within reach, but a new poll commissioned by KeyBank found that many people simply are not aware of home buyer assistance programs, tools, and resources that may be available to them.
KeyBank’s Fair Housing Month poll, which surveyed 1,000 homeowners in households earning less than $75,000 annually regarding their homebuying and lending experiences, had several important findings. Among them:
- Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents did not seek out any information or resources on homebuyer assistance programs. This may be because many homebuyers, particularly those with lower incomes, could be unaware of the existence of these offerings and the important role banks can play in providing access to them.
- Less than half (47%) of homeowners surveyed who purchased their homes in the past five years felt confident they received a fair market value price, pointing to a gap between the factors that are important to those homeowners and the reality of their homebuying experiences.
- Nearly one-third (30%) of homeowners surveyed are unsure whether they had an unfair experience when buying a home or are certain they had an unfair experience. This means that, among other things, some homeowners are left questioning whether they paid too much for their home.
While the Fair Housing Act of 1968 set a precedent to make the sale, rental, and home financing process nondiscriminatory, borrowers in underserved communities are often at a disadvantage when it comes to awareness of tools, resources, and affordable offerings available to help them achieve home ownership. Some things prospective home buyers can do include:
- Connect with your local banker on home lending opportunities available to you in your community and that best suit your specific needs. You may be able to qualify for lending assistance, which will mitigate costs and allow you to put the money you have saved toward other necessities. Many banks also offer loan products based on your income, location, or military status.
- Ask if your bank offers a Special Purpose Credit Program or other homebuyer assistance programs. If so, ask if the property you are interested in qualifies. Special Purpose Credit Programs* offer prospective home buyers fair and affordable pathways to homeownership on qualifying properties and a sense of security when making such a large, life-altering purchase. For example, KeyBank offers a five-thousand-dollar homebuyer credit, known as the KeyBank Homebuyer CreditSM, that can be used on qualifying properties for closing costs and to prepay for costs that may come with your new home, including mortgage, flood and hazard insurance, escrow deposit, real estate taxes, and per diem interest.
- Boost your home lending knowledge and access online resources, such as the Mortgage
Calculator and Mortgage Checklist on key.com to better understand your lending options and chart the best path forward. Additional resources, such as homebuyer education programs and seminars, may also be available through your bank or community.
- Know your down payment options. The down payment is the cash you must pay upfront for your home when taking out your mortgage. It’s typically 5-20 percent of the loan amount, but some loan options require less. Certain programs, like FHA loans or the Key Community Mortgage are specifically designed for those who could benefit from a lower down payment.
The homebuying process can be stressful, particularly in today’s turbulent economic market. Make sure you don’t overlook financial opportunities and are aware of all your bank can do to help you on your homebuying journey.
Saleem Shabazz is a Community Development Loan Officer in Buffalo. He can be reached at (716) 249-5793 or email@example.com. NMLS #474996
KeyBank Member FDIC. NMLS #399797 For the KeyBank Home Buyer Credit, geographic restrictions apply. Ask us for details. Mortgage and Home Equity Lending products offered by KeyBank are not FDIC insured or guaranteed. KeyBank extends credit secured by residential real estate without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status. © 2023 KeyCorp. CFMA #230331-2002328
*Special Purpose Credit Programs are, generally, programs that are established to meet special social needs or the needs of economically disadvantaged persons by extending credit to persons who would probably be denied credit or would receive it on less favorable terms, under certain conditions. See 15 U.S.C. § 1691(c)(1)-(3); 12 C.F.R. § 1002.8(a).