Simone's Blog: Money Magnet

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

It's National Homeownership Month!

June is one of my favorite months of the year - it’s National Homeownership Month! If you pay attention to financial news you may know that affordable homes for first time buyers is tight, and the price of homes for sale is rising across the board. So is now the best time for you to jump into the market?

Here’s what I’ve learned from the top Homeownership Advisors, Realtors and Loan Officers:

1) Affordable homes still exist. They may not be in the same neighborhoods as before the housing boom, but families are still finding the home of their dreams at a price they can afford. Don’t let the naysayers distract you.

2) You have no time to ponder. Although there is a home out there for you, most markets have more buyers than available homes for sale. So if you see a property that meets your needs and is within your budget, make an offer immediately. The longer you wait the less likely the home will be there.

3) Be very clear about the difference between needs and wants. Before you start house hunting, work with your Homeownership Advisor to determine how much you can afford and what you absolutely must have in your new home. Then determine what amenities are important but not essential, and what you’re willing to forgo. Share all of this with your realtor before you start your search.

4) Down payment funds are available. Your Homeownership Advisor will know which localities and lenders are offering downpayment and closing cost assistance, whether you qualify, and how to apply. This is a critical factor in how much home you can afford, so be sure to have this conversation early in your home purchase process.

5) You’re the ultimate driver of this bus. Although your Homeownership Advisor, Realtor and Loan Officer are all eager and excited, this is your home. Listen to the experts but continue to do your own research. Drive this process, don’t expect them to do it for you. In the end, you’ll be more than pleased with the results.

Once you’re in your home, be sure to let your Homeownership Advisor know if you’d like to be featured as a HomeFree-USA Success Story. Believe me, there is someone out there who’s tired of renting but fearful of homeownership. They need to hear that it can be done, and you’re just the person to encourage them.
And so it is.