The home-buying process isn’t easy for anyone. It’s even harder when coming to a new country.
Elia Orellana started saving up for a home and paying off her credit cards, but she still didn’t know how to get started.
So she went to Consolidated Credit’s annual Homebuying Fair where mortgage lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals gather to give free advice to anyone who shows up.
“Having a HUD-certified housing counselor guide you through the process can make all the difference in the world, including keeping first-time homebuyers from the kinds of mistakes that can derail a transaction, or worse,” said Barry Rothman, Housing Counseling Manager with Consolidated Credit Solutions.
Even though Orellana worked hard to set herself up for success, the home-buying process was just as confusing as it would be for anyone else. Moving to the U.S. from Honduras didn’t make it any easier.
“The home-buying process can be a daunting process for most people, particularly first-time buyers,” Rothman said. “Add to that having English as a second language, coupled with making the largest investment in your lifetime and taking on six-figure debt, and it can be paralyzing.”
And the numbers reflect that. Between 2017 and 2021, white households made up 55 percent of new homeowners. In that same period, new homeownership for Hispanic households dropped about 21 percent, according to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
Homeownership has dipped across the board as supplies shrink and housing costs skyrocket. Of course, the divide hits minority groups the hardest. In 2021, homeownership amongst white households dropped by about one percent. Hispanic homeownership dropped by four.
Thankfully, Consolidated Credit’s Homebuying Fair and counselors were able to help Orellana through the process even during such a competitive market.
“I learned a lot – I had no idea when I came here. First, you’re adjusting when you come from another country. And then you see the process has some similarities from Honduras, but some things are very different here,” Orellana said. “So it was very important to go take those workshops.”
She planned everything out a year ahead and still, the amount that went into closing costs alone was surprising.
“I didn’t realize how many things were in those closing costs,” Orellana said. “But it helped me that I was prepared. If I didn’t have that preparation before, I would’ve failed.”
Orellana encourages anyone looking to buy a home to make a plan.
Saving up and securing a good credit score doesn’t happen overnight, and they’re essential for homeownership – a goal that makes financial stability and generational wealth that much more achievable.
“This house will help me get to where I want to go. It’s also nice to be in your own place,” Orellana said. “Especially with the rents right now, it’s peace of mind. You’re not worrying, ‘oh how much will my rent increase this year?’ So in that sense, it’s really, really good. It’s a nice feeling. I feel like I can breathe fine now.”
Homeownership is more achievable than many people think it is and Consolidated Credit can help make it happen.
On Nov. 16, check out our free First-Time Homebuyer Orientation on Zoom. Or, call us at 954-377-9167 to speak with a member of our HUD-certified counseling team.