Despite rising prices, interest rates and high demand, housing advocates from Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity are encouraging people who want to find a home in the DFW market to not give up.
Blaine Cowart, VP of Home Ownership Services for the nonprofit, says they are having some success helping some families going through their homebuyer counseling programs find affordable homes in the open market.
Cowart says they want to help more people. She told NBC 5 that one of the biggest misconceptions about Habitat is that it is only for people interested in buying a Habitat home.
"So many people assume that Habitat can only support you if you're looking to buy a Habitat home. But that's not true. Actually, at Dallas Habitat, we are a HUD-certified housing counseling agency. We counsel about 300 families every year towards mortgage readiness. And so at the point that families become mortgage ready, meaning they have stable income and employment history, good credit, we're talking you know, 620+ credit score, low debt and a decent amount of savings, usually about $3,000 saved for the upfront cost of homeownership. At that point, families actually have two options with us. They can buy one of the homes that we build if that's a good option for them," Cowart explained.
Cowart says if clients are looking within a different price range or a different location, they can also help families shop the open market.
"And so we do that in partnership with our lenders that we work with, loan officers who have products, specifically for first-time buyers, and then also with realtors who know the markets that our buyers are looking to work in. And so again, it's about building the right home buying team this year. And then in the past year, we've served a little over a dozen buyers who have bought on the open market," she said.
Saturday, Dallas Habitat is hosting a free Home Ownership Fair to educate prospective buyers. A panel of experts from real estate agencies and mortgage lenders along with other vendors will be available to answer questions and help attendees learn about local resources that offer various types of homebuyer assistance.
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"We don't anticipate that interest rates are going to get any lower than they are today. So our word of advice to families is, you know, the best time to buy a home really was probably two to three years ago. The second best time to buy a home is when you're ready. And if you are otherwise ready today, you know, take the first step," Cowart said.
Cowart encourages prospective buyers to do their research and work with agents, counselors and programs that will help them navigate this challenging market.
The virtual Home Ownership Fair is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Find registration details here.