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CHP Recognizes June as National Homeownership Month

Christiansburg, Va. — Owning a home benefits individuals and families, but also gives vitality to America's cities and towns and creates that sense of community so many Americans dream of. In recognition of the powerful rewards of homeownership, Community Housing Partners (CHP) and Beans and Rice, Inc. are celebrating National Homeownership Month throughout the month of June.

National Homeownership Month is observed each June to raise awareness about the vital role homeownership plays in improving lives, creating jobs and economic opportunities, and strengthening America’s neighborhoods.

“Homeownership is an important goal all year round, but there is no better time than right now to take advantage of the benefits that come with homeownership,” stated Kamilia Lawson, Principal Broker with CHP. “Interest rates are still near record lows and home
prices are especially affordable in today’s housing market.”

Both CHP, which has its own realty department, and Beans and Rice, Inc, which provides support programming for homeownership, play an important role in making the dream of homeownership a reality for more and more Americans in the region.

For individuals, homeownership means the ability to build wealth through equity, greater financial stability derived from home appreciation and increased borrowing power, and the personal satisfaction that comes from realizing the dream of homeownership. Homeownership also has a positive “ripple effect” in the greater community. It’s been shown in communities across the country that homeownership helps stabilize and strengthen families and neighborhoods, generate jobs, and stimulate the economy.

“The wealth that is created through homeownership can also have a lasting effect on the future success of younger generations. Beans and Rice is the New River Valley intermediary for the Virginia Individual Development Account (VIDA), a program of matched savings for people fitting a certain income criteria which matches their savings at a rate of 2:1. If a saver can successfully save $83 a month, in two years they’ll have saved $2,000. With a match of $4,000, that totals $6,000 towards down payment and closing costs. Nowhere can you get a return on investment of that kind. It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” says Karen Ranz, the AmeriCorps VISTA IDA Development Member for Beans and Rice in Pulaski. For more information on VIDA, Ms. Ranz can be reached at (540) 980 – 4111.

For those considering buying a home CHP’s Homeownership Specialist Terry Vaughn offers the following tips:

  • Before looking at homes, know what you can afford. Utilize the services of nonprofit agencies and local financial institutions to get a pre-qualification, which is a “real world” estimate of home affordability. Set realistic housing goals with the assistance of a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency or a reputable financial institution.
  • Create a budget for your current situation. Next, create a new budget that includes a mortgage payment and home maintenance costs.
  • Decide on a comfortable mortgage payment you can afford. Then, for the next three months, save the difference between your current monthly rent amount and the anticipated mortgage payment. If you easily saved the amount then this is a good indication that you could afford the payment. However, if you had to go back and use those saved dollars for expenses, then this could be an indication the payment is too high.
  • Request a copy of your credit report. Your credit report plays a major part in the mortgage qualification process. If you request a copy of your credit report prior to speaking with a lender, there will be fewer or no “surprises” to deal with. Lenders are reviewing the credit report to determine how you use the credit extended to you and if you make your payments in a timely manner. Be prepared to provide explanations for slow payments, judgments, collections, repossessions, etc. (Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act,
  • consumers can obtain one free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.)
  • Start saving to cover costs such as down payment, closing costs, and cash reserve requirements. Most of the time, there will be out-of-pocket expenses such as the appraisal, the inspection, and the Earnest Money Deposit, that will be required to be paid by the buyer prior to closing.
  • Begin gathering basic documentation such as: paystubs for the 3 most recent months; evidence of any other type of income (child support, alimony, social security, disability, pension, etc.); W-2s and tax returns for the last 3 years; employers name, address and phone numbers for the most recent 24-month period; mortgage or rental history for the last 2 years;name and addresses of all creditors, along with account numbers,balances and monthly payment amounts.

About Beans and Rice, Inc.:
Beans and Rice is a community economic development organization that improves the economic well-being of low to moderate income (LMI) children and families through community education and asset development programs. Community education efforts include afterschool academic enrichment programs in Radford and Pulaski, community technology centers, personal financial management training, service-learning, and more. Asset building activities include Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and microenterprise development. IDAs help LMI families purchase their first-home, pay for college, or start a business, while microenterprise development provides access to capital, training, and business counseling.