By Courtney Johnson & Kimberly McCloud
Are you considering buying your first home, but unsure where to start? Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions a person can make, and the path to ownership may feel confusing for many first-time buyers. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. Chase bank can help you navigate the homebuying process, so getting the keys to your first home may be closer than you think.
Homeownership is more than just a dream for many Americans. In Chase Home Lending’s First-Time Homebuyer Study, 69% of respondents said they see homeownership as an important part of building wealth. The survey included more than 1,100 consumers who indicated that they are looking to purchase a home and are actively preparing to buy.
For Black communities, who have a significantly lower homeownership rate compared to other groups, the 2008 housing crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to take a major toll. That’s why Chase is taking steps to play an active role in creating opportunities for minority communities, which includes offering affordable, low down-payment options with products and programs designed for Black families on their path to homeownership.
Dive in and uncover what you need to know about buying your first home, and how Chase can help make your dream a reality.
Working with a Home Lending Advisor
Chase’s Home Lending Advisors are responsible for helping you prepare for homeownership, find the financing solutions to fit your needs, and get all of the down payment/housing assistance for which you may qualify. Home Lending Advisors work very closely with many first-time homebuyers, helping them navigate this process for the first time. They also help customers who are looking to refinance, or who might be upsizing or downsizing their current home. Chase and its Home Lending team start by looking at each customer’s full financial picture in order to make the best recommendation for your successful path to homeownership. From prequalification to closing, we’re here to offer guidance, support and expertise along the way.
Applying for Home Loans
A few basic things first-time buyers should understand before starting this process are:
- Prepare your finances: Buying a home can be a big financial undertaking, which is why it will be important for you to get your finances in good shape. This involves things like continuing to pay bills on time, not taking on new debt and strengthening your credit score, which can help you secure a lower interest rate on your home loan. Chase is making it easier for customers to build up their credit score by supporting Project REACh, a program that increases chances of approval for applicants who have traditionally lacked access, so they can take that very first step.
- Plan for your down payment: It’s a well-known fact that you will most likely need to put money down up front to purchase a home. However, it’s a myth that you must put 20% down. Every case is different, and there are a variety of mortgages available that may require as little as 3% down, such as the Chase DreaMaker. There may also be local programs that could help with down payments and closing costs. It’s always a good idea to start saving, but it’s also important to get familiar with what products and assistance might be available to you. You can connect with a Home Lending Advisor to get started.
- Get pre-qualified: As you begin your homebuying journey, you should know upfront how much home you can afford. Getting pre-qualified through a lender like Chase allows you to see what you may be eligible for, and it also shows sellers and real estate agents that you’re a serious and competitive buyer.
Acknowledging the Resources Available to You
Chase’s Homebuyer Grant program offers up to $5,000 for eligible customers to help with closing costs and down payment assistance when buying a home in more than 6,700 minority communities nationwide. The Chase DreaMaker mortgage offers down payments as low as 3% and reduced mortgage insurance.
Chase also developed a new role called “Community Home Lending Advisor,” which is designed to be in minority and low-to-moderate income communities. These are experts focused on local housing and down payment assistance programs and work closely with local housing nonprofits and other community organizations. To date, Chase has hired more than 100 Community Home Lending Advisors nationwide and will continue to expand.
Getting Started Today
For those starting their journey toward homeownership, Chase’s financial goals hub is a great starting point. You start by picking a goal, which could be saving or building credit, and exploring advice, offerings and tools to help you track toward it and achieve it. The Grow Your Savings page, for example, offers an interactive calculator that maps out a timeline to reach savings goals and highlights how the Autosave tool can help you manage a regular savings schedule to stay on track and meet your goals. There are other great resources, too, like budget worksheets to monitor and track monthly spending, guidance on using the Credit Journey tool to build and protect credit, as well as background on low-cost checking accounts designed for those who have had trouble getting or keeping an account in the past.
Knowing When to Buy
Buying a home can be exciting, but it can also come with a lot of stress. Learning as much as you can about the homebuying process is the best thing you can do before you start shopping for properties or comparing mortgage options. Other questions you should consider before buying a home include:
- Do you have a steady income to rely on?
- How much home can you afford?
- Have you picked a location where you want to stay long-term?
- Are you comfortable managing debt?
If you think you’re ready to take the next step in purchasing a home, reach out to learn more about the tools, resources and capital available to help make your homeownership dream a reality.
Courtney Johnson Kennedy and Kimberly McCloud are Milwaukee Community Managers for Chase.
Sponsored content from JPMorgan Chase & Co.