As the year kicks off, many have their eyes set on new goals and resolutions. While this often means a renewed focus on health and wellness, New Year’s resolutions can go beyond promises to cook more frequently, pick up yoga or read every night. In fact, many people are thinking about buying their first home, so they’ll need help with preparing their finances for homeownership, finding a home they can afford, and closing the deal on their dream.
Of course, you already know how to identify listings to show your clients, but did you know the Bank of America Real Estate Center® can help you find grant-eligible properties (including new construction and bank-owned properties) for clients who may need down payment or closing cost assistance? The feature labels properties across the country that are eligible for Bank of America’s proprietary down payment (3% of purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less) and closing cost (up to $7,500) grants, making it even more convenient to find a home that is within your clients’ means.
Alternatively, if you’re listing a property, the Real Estate Center can help you determine whether your listing is grant-eligible so you can market it accordingly.
For clients who aren’t quite ready to jump into the house hunt, misconceptions may be slowing them down. As an agent, you know their concerns and can help them overcome some of the most pervasive misconceptions, including:
Expectation: “I need to save 20% for a down payment.”
Reality: Many mistakenly believe they need a 20% down payment when, in reality, the median amount was 6% for first-time buyers in 2019. Still, Bank of America’s Homebuyer Insights found 71% of prospective homebuyers believe they will need assistance with their down payment. Luckily, there are solutions to help overcome this hurdle. There are many innovative, low down payment mortgages, as well as down payment and closing cost grants, to help creditworthy borrowers who are struggling to save for a home.
Expectation: “I don’t need a preapproval; I’m just looking at homes right now.”
Reality: A common misstep is window shopping before understanding how much one can qualify for. While 44% of prospective homebuyers say they will apply for mortgage preapproval, more than half (56%) don’t think it’s necessary or don’t know what preapproval is. Preapproval gives your buyers a conditional approval for the loan type and amount they qualify for and can be done easily online. This will set them apart in today’s competitive markets, showing sellers they’re serious.
Expectation: “It’s not the right time to buy.”
Reality: Some first-time homebuyers look to rising or falling home values and mortgage rates as indicators of readiness to buy. In truth, a home is not an investment where buyers should expect a quick or substantial return. Instead, a home should be considered an important path to the creation of long-term wealth. Therefore, the most important factor in determining the right time to buy is when one feels financially prepared.
Making homeownership a reality in 2021
While first-time homebuyers may need assistance, professional guidance can help them overcome certain misconceptions that prevent them from taking the next steps. Working together, we can help today’s prospective buyers check homeownership off their list of 2021 goals.
Bank of America helps clients build pathways to credit and meets a broad range of financing needs, including mortgages for home purchase or refinance and home equity lines of credit. Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender © 2020 Bank of America Corporation. Credit and collateral are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.