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Becoming a homebuyer isn't easy. United Housing can help.

You learn a lot of things in grade school. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. A rhombus is a quadrilateral with four sides, two obtuse angles and two oblique angles. Simple enough! While we’re able to recite a line of Shakespeare, many of us leave middle school, high school and even college without an idea of where to start the homebuying process.

What’s even worse is that, without guidance, many people jump into the process uninformed. They overextend themselves financially, become a victim of predatory lending, choose a home that doesn’t fit the long-term needs of their family, or settle on a home just because they feel like buying a home is the “right” thing to do.

So, how should you start the process? First, start with resources like those found on THDA’s website. THDA provides you with information about down payment assistance, loan options and homebuyer education course information. By reviewing these materials, you could learn about available resources that make homeownership possible or more attainable for your family.

Once you’ve learned about your options, enroll in a homebuyer education course, like those offered by United Housing. In these classes, you’ll learn about more than just the homebuying process. You’ll learn how to budget for a mortgage while building up your savings, how to improve your credit score, why homeownership matters, how to maintain your home, and so much more. Plus, you’ll learn from a well-educated teacher who can answer any of your questions (we know you have a ton!).

From there, you’ll be ready to meet with reputable community lenders and shop for mortgages. Your HBE teacher may even connect you with a few trustworthy agencies. You’ll need to review a few mortgages before deciding which lender is right for you, as the amount for which you are approved and interest rates will likely vary. This will give you a clear price range, which is essential before you start looking at homes.

Now, here comes the fun part! You’ve chosen a lender and have a clear budget, it’s time to connect with a licensed realtor. Your HBE instructor will likely have a few recommendations. Talk with your real estate agent about what you need and want (there is a difference!) in a home, what neighborhoods you want to consider and set clear boundaries on your budget. Then, let the tours begin!

Hopefully, by the end of this process, you’ll be able to look back on this from the comfort of your new living room! But, to get started, you need to connect with organizations like THDA and United Housing, who will provide you with in-depth information and guide you through the process. Connect with us through the links above today!

Memphis has recently received accolades such as Best Place in the World to Visit in May by CNN Travel and was ranked 23rd on Indeed’s Best Cities for Job Seekers in 2018. These honors have allowed the Bluff City to gain attention on a national scale, which is a good thing. Right? It increases visibility, which increases tourism. Visitors fall in love with our great city, and more and more people are moving here. You get the point! But, there’s a catch.

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As a result, houses and apartment complexes are popping up all over Memphis to accommodate the influx of new residents to the city. And, homes in the city’s core are selling almost as soon as they’re put on the market. These homes, however, aren’t always affordable. High-traffic areas, like Downtown, have list prices that are above the price range for your average Memphian. Memphis isn’t the only city struggling with affordable housing. NPR reported that an estimated 11 million Americans pay more than half their income towards rent, and according to Zillow, more people are renting now than ever before.

money sign.pngA 2015 report conducted by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency found that the median income for Memphians is $36,445. This is 19.4 percent lower than the state average of $45,219. And, according to research from the University of Memphis, the Bluff City has a poverty rate of 26.9 percent. Using a lower budget to illustrate the reality of many Memphians’ financial situations, if you were following a three-to-one income-to-rent ratio and made $1,500 a month, you would have an estimated $500 to spend on rent. That leaves only $1,000 to cover utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and the list goes on and on -- clearly a tight budget for a single family.

According to Zillow, the median rent price in Memphis is $890 per month, lower than the Tennessee median of $1,275. Why are the prices lower? It’s because Memphians make a median salary of $36,445 compared to the state of Tennessee as a whole, which makes $44,297. Lower salaries call for lower rent, but the median salary isn’t even able to afford the median rent price!

The problem not only lies in the lack of affordable housing but in the failure to educate soon-to-be renters and buyers about options for financial assistance. More often than not, people believe that owning a home is impossible in their current position. United Housing’s education programs exist to help Mid-Southerners better understand homeownership, mortgage loans, the risks of predatory lending, foreclosure procedures and more. For complete details on the classes United Housing offers, click here.

NEW FUNDER SPOTLIGHT: THOMAS W. BRIGGS FOUNDATION
In an age before Google, the Welcome Wagon must have been an encouraging sight. For those who have heard of the "Welcome Wagon," the work of the company behind new United Housing funder, the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, might already be familiar.

AT UHI, we feel it is important to acknowledge folks for their contributions and passion for investing in our work. Recently, we had the chance to thank a group of Memphis businesses and business people who make a real impact on what we do: community-oriented bankers. You can see how great it went here. Our guests enjoyed a nice breakfast spread while Board Members Keith Turbett, Teresa Cheeks-Wilson, and Mike Fearnley--and founder and Executive Director Tim Bolding--shared a little about the impact United Housing has on economic development in Memphis.

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P: +1 901.272.1122

2750 Colony Park Drive
Memphis, TN 38118

 

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