Karen Rebaza, VP Residential Community Development Officer at Rockland Trust, is motivated to help people accomplish milestones that may feel out of reach.
As someone who remembers the stress of buying her first home, Karen knows the process is an emotional financial journey for any buyer, but as a first-generation buyer herself, she is acutely aware of the additional hurdles that can make the process even more challenging for those who are both first-time homebuyers AND first-generation home buyers.
Unlike people whose parents and grandparents have owned houses, first-generation homebuyers are the first in their family (or in this country) to purchase a home. By virtue of the fact that first-generation home buyers are the first to buy a home in their family, they are also first-time home buyers. In order to qualify for specific home buying products and services, a first-time buyer is defined as someone who has not owned property during a three-year period ending on the purchase date of a property.
Generational wealth is often achieved through years of homeownership. But wealth is not the only thing that can be passed from one generation to the next. Experience navigating the complicated process of buying a home is a soft skill that many inherit through stories about how their families saved for a down payment, navigated the housing market, or took advantage of a home equity loan to fund a renovation or other project. If you grew up or lived with a homeowner, not only may they be able to pass along assets and earnings to you but they can also pass down knowledge about the finances that go into buying and maintaining a property of your own.
Fortunately, first-time homebuyer classes can fill the gap and provide knowledge, mentorship and support as you navigate the home-buying process. There are any organizations that are working to fill this gap. For instance the Massachusetts Housing Partnership created the ONE+ Boston and ONE Mortgage programs to provide resources to first-time homebuyers. These programs breaks down barriers that prevent creditworthy families from buying a home such as ; inadequate consumer education, high interest rates and fees, excessive down payment requirements, compulsory mortgage insurance, and a bias against 2- and 3-family properties. Those are barriers that affect everyone, especially minority families.
First-time home buyer programs can make a world of difference. These programs may offer down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, lower interest rates or other support.
In addition to mortgage programs, first-generation buyers may need additional support from their banking advisors – to make financial lingo more understandable and simplify the financial concepts involved in homeownership (mortgage, interest rates, appraisal, equity, etc.).
“Assembling a trusted team to support you through this process is so important,” says Karen. “Your team of mortgage lenders and real estate agents understand the home buying process and can help explain every stage, from building out a savings plan to closing the deal.” And because they are experienced in helping people overcome obstacles and achieve their goals every day, they offer the emotional support needed to handle the stress that comes with buying a home.
Buying a home is a major milestone, so make sure you’re working with an advisor who understands your unique situation and guides you in the right direction. Whether you or a loved one is a first-time or first-generation homebuyer, you don’t have to go it alone – Rockland Trust is here to be your trusted partner along the way and walk you through each step of the process.
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