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Homeownership

Bank of America helps income-restricted homebuyers with $5B program

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) Bank of America is offering assistance to low to moderate-income homebuyers by reducing their mortgage and upfront home-buying costs.

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Front of Bank of America location

The Bank of America announced that it is expanding its affordable homeownership initiative to help low to moderate-income homebuyers find their dream home. The Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment® started in 2019 with $5 billion.

According to the press release, the program has already helped almost 21,000 individuals and families purchase homes by helping with down payments and closing costs through grants. When combined with other programs designed to help first-time homebuyers, the upfront costs of owning a home are significantly reduced. This information is beneficial for Realtors working with first-time or low to moderate-income homebuyers and can help provide more options for this clientele.

Bank of America’s grant programs

Bank of America features two grant programs to help homebuyers. Grants do not require repayment, giving homebuyers with lower incomes a foot in the door.

Down Payment grants – eligible homebuyers can receive 3% of the home’s purchase price up to $10,000 (whichever is less) toward the purchase of their home.
America’s Home Grant® program – credit towards closing costs of up to $7500 or to buy down the interest rate.

According to Bank of America, these two grant programs can be used together. The average homebuyer receives about $14,000 toward their home purchase, but some can receive up to $17,500 towards their dream home.

Homeownership is the American dream

Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Homeownership doesn’t just benefit families, it benefits communities. Bank of America isn’t the first financial institution to offer programs to help homebuyers with down payments and closing costs.

The housing market might be competitive right now, but homebuyers can still find houses where they can set down roots. It pays to look around for options to help low- to moderate-income shoppers find resources that assist them in reducing their mortgage and homebuying costs.

Dawn Brotherton is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. Before earning her degree, she spent over 20 years homeschooling her two daughters, who are now out changing the world. She lives in Oklahoma and loves to golf. She hopes to publish a novel in the future.

Homeownership

Supply chain shortages Realtors need to know about to help their clientele

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) The supply chain shortage hasn’t just affected cars, computer chips, and medical equipment – what home goods are scarce and for how long?

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Down one aisle of a large warehouse.

Most experts are predicting that supply chain shortages won’t end anytime soon. What started with a rush on toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic has become a supply chain nightmare across multiple industries, including homes themselves, new cars, computer chips, and medical equipment. While there are many reasons the supply chain has been disrupted, the fact remains that it has been pushed to the brink and homeowners may be impacted as they purchase a house or invest in remodeling to sell their home. This is also important information for Realtors to have a grasp on in order to better help their clientele during the home buying process. Without an end in sight, here are some goods that might be scarce next year:

Paint

CNN Business reported in September that the demand for paint is strong, but the industry has seen raw material cost increases. Between Hurricane Ida and the winter cold snap in Texas earlier this year, suppliers have not recovered to their pre-storm operating levels. One solution is to buy leftover paint or use wallpaper to update a room.

Appliances

According to Consumer Reports, the wait for some appliances is 4-8 weeks, with luxury appliances taking up to 4 months. Homeowners may need to compromise on the model they really want or buy a used model. If repairs can make the appliance run for a few more months, order a new one and hope for the best.

Furniture

Large ticket items have been impacted by shipping delays from Asia – Furniture is on that list. Homeowners may want to order furniture now for redesigning in 2022. Another alternative? Buy previously owned pieces or talk to local artisans who reupholster and repair furniture.

Bottled Water

It’s not the water that’s in shortage, it’s the plastic products used to bottle the water that is causing the supply chain to be disrupted. This could be a good thing for the environment. Suggest homeowners turn to water filtration systems, from an in-home installation to a pitcher you put in the fridge.

Power Tools

The freight industry is experiencing multiple issues, which is adding to the supply chain problems in the US. Power tools may be in short supply over the next few months. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Borrow from a neighbor, just make sure to return it quickly. Rent tools from your local big-box hardware store.

Don’t let the supply chain disruption put home projects on hold. Revamp your ideas. Compromise on materials, maybe a different pattern or color than planned. Or find creative solutions to keep moving forward.

Large cargo ship with many multi-colored bins representing the supply chain.

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Homeownership

Side hustle your home: Offer up your humble abode for film and TV shows

(HOMEOWNERSHIP) Are you interested in a side hustle and willing to offer up your humble abode to be part of the magic of filmmaking? We give you the details!

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As a reader of AG for Real Estate, we know you may be a real estate practitioner, but you’re also a likely homeowner (or have endless clientele that could benefit from the following information, so enjoy)!

In this housing market, no matter what you’re looking for – be it a studio style tiny home or a 13-bed mansion with a guest house – you’re going to pay top dollar. That was the case for Mary Kay Seery (not to be confused with the MLM) and her husband, Billy Seery, when they moved from the prominent East Village in New York City to a Victorian style home in Brooklyn.

Their friends heavily questioned the decision, but with Mary being a life-long real-estate broker, she knew the underestimated value – especially when it came to staging it for use in movies or television shows as a side hustle. Their home has starred in Girls on HBO, Mysteries of Laura on NBC, The Affair Season 3 on Showtime, and many more.

“I’m sure we’ve made over $500,000 so far.” The home was purchased for $490,000.

“While state film commissions have increasingly brokered relationships between property owners and filmmakers and location agencies will shop your property for a fee, many – if not most – production companies do it the old-fashioned way. You don’t find them. They find you.”

For example, an anonymous flyer was dropped into the mail slot of a Chicago home in June 2019. The owners, Rian Akey and Shaun Kane, responded immediately to the scout, but did not hear back for filming until September that same year. Turns out, the crew wanted to transform the living room of their 1885 Queen Anne home into the Smutny Funeral Home for the FX crime drama Fargo Season 4.

Once agreed, the crew quickly transformed the heart of their home, adding tobacco-stained wallpaper, a swinging entrance door, folding chairs and flower stands, and last but not least…the casket.

“We had a coffin in our living room for almost a year.”

Due to NDAs, which are standard between homeowners and the location manager, Kane and Akey could not disclose the payment they received for the whole 11-month ordeal. What we do know is that the upfront cost for using the location is relative to labor union fees, production size, the renovation before and after, and how long the shoot will last.

Other stories follow suit all over the US. Carroll Belser, who resides in Sunnyside Plantation in Edisto Island, SC has seen her inherited 1875 family home transform for The Notebook, L.L. Bean photoshoots, Short Term Rental TV Pilot, and more. In Prospect Park South, New York City, Ms. McFeely has allowed her home to be the filming location for A Price Above Rubies, Half Nelson, The Groomsman, and The Great Gilly Hopkins.

Homeowners do warn that there can be mishaps during the filming process. Floors tend to become heavily worn from foot traffic, the crew may want to shoot in a room not originally specified, or filming could get extended for a longer period of time than originally agreed.

However, Ms. Seery says that the follow-up repairs usually whip things right back into shape, but to “make sure you have a good relationship with the location manager,” and to ask for extra payment if necessary.

Still interested in the side hustle and willing to offer up your humble abode to be part of the magic of filmmaking? Contact your local government’s film and TV office to register your home as production-friendly. You can also use online databases to list your home similar to Airbnb, like LocationsHub, Reel to Reel locations, or Set Scouter. You may also just get lucky and have a location scout reach out to with interest in using your home.

All of that to say, using your home for movies or television can be “lucrative, but also disruptive.” Be prepared to renovate your floors, be put up in a hotel, and for film fans to take photos on your front porch for years to follow. Lastly, you should be able to watch the film or show back to see someone “die” in the corner of your living room or take a pregnancy test in your bathroom.

If you can handle all of that, let the cast, crew, and CASH roll in!

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Homeownership

Rental history can soon help folks qualify for a mortgage

(REAL ESTATE) Historically, rental history has not been reported to credit bureaus which doesn’t help anyone with obtaining a mortgage. Soon, that all changes.

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Mortgage papers held in hands with a pen, being handed to the other hands.

Effective September 18, more renters may qualify for a mortgage under Fannie Mae’s updated underwriting process. The rules have changed to incorporate consumers’ rent payments to better serve the “credit invisible” of America who are historically under-served by traditional lending products.

Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter® will automatically identify recurring rent payments based on banking data to improve mortgage eligibility.

It’s estimated that about 17% of previously rejected applicants could now be approved for a mortgage, simply due to their rental history.

Hugh R. Frater, Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae said that this is “but one important step in correcting the housing inequities of the past, creating a more inclusive mortgage credit evaluation process going forward, and encouraging the housing system to develop new ways of safely assessing and determining mortgage eligibility in order to fairly serve all potential homeowners.”

Rent payments will only positively impact eligibility.

Although Fannie Mae does not handle loans simply backs them, applicants can be pre-approved through their process to private lenders. Credit history is one of the most important factors in getting approved for a mortgage, but less than 5% of renters have their rent history on their credit report.

Fannie Mae is changing this to expand opportunities for under-served consumers. Even more importantly, the rent payment history will only be used to improve eligibility. Missed payments or inconsistent history will not negatively affect a person’s ability to qualify for a loan.

However, consumers will need to have a digital history of making payments, whether to the property management company through their payment portal or by check or another digital solution.

Rental history directly relates to paying your mortgage on time.

Lenders want their mortgage payments to be on time. That’s the simplified bottom line.

Rent is one of the biggest expenses in any renter’s budget, but it rarely gets reported to the credit bureau without a third party reporting tool like CoreLogic’s RentTrack. This move by Fannie Mae will help level the playing field for renters who are responsible borrowers.

Welcome to the 21st century, Fannie Mae (and America).

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