There are 37 million potential homebuyers in the U.S. who have the credit characteristics to qualify for a home and yet don’t have a mortgage, according to Freddie Mac, the agency dedicated to increasing affordable housing in the U.S. A lack of education on the variety of mortgage options available could be what’s holding them back.
For example, many homebuyers are able to purchase a home with as little as 3% down, yet a common myth is that most loans require a 20% down payment. It’s a daunting difference – according to data from Freddie Mac, it would take most Americans between 2-4 years to save for a 3% down payment versus 14-24 years to save for a 20% down payment.
“If I were in the market today as a first-time homebuyer with the misconception that I need a 20% down payment, I may be pessimistic of making the dream of homeownership possible for me,” says Carmen Mercado, Senior Affordable Lending Manager for Freddie Mac. “However, if I knew that I could purchase a home with a 3% down payment, I would be more optimistic and excited about working with an agent on this journey.”
Below, Mercado shares her thoughts on how first-time homebuyers can overcome affordability barriers and why it’s important to increase opportunities for homeownership.
Creating more hope for homeownership
Creating more hope for homeownership is one of the goals of a new training initiative by RE/MAX, created in partnership with Freddie Mac. Later this year RE/MAX will unveil a virtual program to help educate agents on low-down payment mortgages and other programs their clients may benefit from.
“RE/MAX was founded with the vision of achieving homeownership for all,” says Mike Reagan, RE/MAX Senior Vice President, Global Growth and Development. “The new initiative to educate agents on more affordable pathways to homeownership will empower agents to be a trusted guide for first-time homebuyers. This program will help us expand the benefits of homeownership to a larger group than ever before.”