2. Creating a Pool of New Homebuyers and Renters
Neighborhood markets need strong homebuyers and strong renters if they hope to stabilize or recover values, reduce vacancy and get neighborhoods back under the control of residents.
- This is another category of strategy in which nonprofit counseling agencies have a quality infrastructure with a good track record.
- The tightening credit market may require buyers to have better credit and bigger down payments to buy a home than they have in many years.
- Many nonprofit homeownership providers are anticipating a return to strong homebuyer preparation and to second mortgages or grants that eliminate private mortgage insurance and help with down payment and closing costs. Such programs are now becoming widely available through municipal NSP-funded programs for buyers in certain income groups.NSP financial assistance requires eight hours of homebuyer education or counseling.
- Some local governments are structuring their NSP programs around the cultivation of a pool of homebuyers who choose their own REO property on the open market. This saves government from acting as a middleman through a bulk purchase from lenders – avoiding the risks associated with owning property. Phoenix employs this strategy.
- Loans for purchase and rehab may also be appropriate as a tool to help buyers access vacant property and return it to productive use.
- Specialized homebuyer real estate representation and training is helping people to access special government grants, to find qualifying foreclosed property for purchase, and to negotiate that purchase from the lender/servicer who is authorized to sell it. (e.g., Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Visionary Home Builders of Stockton, CA)
- Renters may find that landlords have more stringent credit requirements.
- Renter development strategies include helping landlords recruit strong renters, and training former homeowners who are entering the rental market after a foreclosure. (e.g., Portland Housing Center’s Ready to Rent renter training program).
- Renter training may include assistance with saving for first and last month’s rent and deposits.
Special agreements with landlords may be negotiated for trained graduates in order to overcome poor credit histories. (e.g., Ready to Rent’s guarantee program for landlords).
- Some potential homebuyers may need time to grow into homeownership through a lease-purchase.