2019 Florida Homebuying Fair helps homebuyers assemble the right team to achieve their dreams of homeownership.
Buying a home is a big step, but even if you’ve gone through the process before, it can be intimidating. Stress levels can be high as you search for the perfect property, compete to have the best offer and then go through mortgage underwriting. Those stress levels are even higher if you’re a first-time homebuyer that’s learning as you go.
It’s with that in mind that Consolidated Credit established the Florida Homebuying Fair. This free event allows potential homebuyers to meet with the professionals they need at each step of the homebuying process:
- Mortgage lenders
- Title Companies
- Fannie Mae
This way, homebuyers can better understand how to buy a home and assemble a team to help achieve that goal.
A Look Back at the 2018 Florida Homebuying Fair
Want to know what you can expect at this year’s Florida Homebuying Fair? This video talks to experts and attendees at our first Homebuying Fair that we hosted last year.
Barry Rothman, Consolidated Credit Housing Counseling Program Manager: Well, today we’re having a wonderful fair for homebuyers. Where they could learn about mortgage financing, getting the home inspected, how to work with a Realtor® and a host of other topics. And they could meet people that could help them out in their dream.
Rodney Baltimore, Hot 105 Radio Personality: I’m Rodney from Hot 105 Radio and we were a part of the promotion for you guys, for your homebuyers fair. So, I’m happy to be here today. You guys provide the services and we just provide an opportunity for people to know about it. And obviously if you look around you see a bunch of people coming here and I’m really impressed.
April Lewis-Parks, Consolidated Credit Financial Education Director: Hi, I’m here with Oscar from Broward College, who’s with Veterans Affairs.
Oscar Feliciano, Broward College Associate Director of Military and Veterans Affairs: Yes
April Lewis-Parks: Can you tell me a little bit about what you do?
Oscar Feliciano: We assist and help Veteran students coming to school, transitioning into the college atmosphere. We also assist them with all their benefits, getting their benefits at the school, GI Bill, as well as community services.
Thais R. Sullivan, Valley National Bank, Florida Division VP Regional CRA and Community Lending Officer: Well, you know, it’s not that it’s just a part of my job to make sure that the bank is meeting the needs of the community in which we operate and which we live and play, but it’s my desire to help anyone who’s interested in becoming a homeowner. I’ve done these for years, but this is the first one I can say the people kept coming and coming and coming.
Barnaby Robles, Wells Fargo Mortgage Branch Manager: What lenders look at is how you budget your money and make sure that you’re financially sound, that you can afford your mortgage payment. So, if you’re not working on a budget, get to a place like Consolidated Credit. Start to talk to them, start to track your expenses and get a budget, so you can figure out how you can own a home and stop renting. You work with someone who’s a professional and has the right, you know, tools and resources in place and it’s going to go pretty smooth.
Ed Kessner, MB Financial Bank, NA Branch Sales Manager: Is it a little bit more difficult to get a loan now than it was before? Absolutely, because there’s no stated-income loans there’s no no-income loans. But if you’re a professional and you know what you’re doing in the business, people are getting qualified and people are buying loans. You can finance a purchase at 97 percent as a first-time homebuyer. You can finance a purchase at 96 and a half percent with FHA, if you’ve owned a home in the last three years.
Gregory T. Gentille, SunTrust Mortgage Vice President, Producing Sales Manager: There are ways to improve your credit score, whether it’s paying down credit card debt, paying off collection accounts, avoiding a lot of credit inquiries on your credit report, and then as long as your credit score gets to 620 or higher, then you’re pretty much good to go.
April Lewis-Parks: Hi!
Juan C. Luna, Tropical Financial Credit Union, Partner Company Relations Director: Hey! How you doing?
April Lewis-Parks: I’m great! How are you?
Juan C. Luna: I’m sorry, I’m very excited. Being a not-for-profit organization allows us to be in the community engaged. We are more out, more engaged with the people who actually need our assistance, because as a credit union we want to [sic] everyone have the opportunity to grow.
Fair Attendee 1: I think it’s very informative and everybody needs to come out and get this information so that they can get what they need to do what they do to get their first time – to get their homes.
Fair Attendee 2: It’s very informative and, I mean, I’m really learning a lot of different stuff. It’s really nice. It’s really good.
Fair Attendee 3: There’s a lot of people with experience out here and it’s to my benefit, you know, to come out and learn from them.
Fair Attendee 4: We’ve learned more in an hour or two here than Google or everything else we’ve been trying.
Barry Rothman: So, what would be the best advice you would give to a prospective first-time homebuyer?
Evett M. Francis, Fannie Mae Community Access and Engagement: The first thing is get educated. Know before you buy. Have some money saved for down payment and emergency funds.
Michael Klick, Gibraltar Title, Inc. Director of Client Experience: We’re the last step of the process. When you’re done with us, we hand you the keys to your brand new home. So, we kind of help protect them, that the home that they’re purchasing is actually [what] they own.
Susan Kung, Broward County Appraiser Office Community Outreach Specialist: We just like to, you know, educate all the homebuyers – make sure they come out and apply for the homestead exemption.
Barry Rothman: You can never do enough research and the property appraiser’s website is there for you to use.
Steven Kelly, Florida Title & Trust, LLC Business Development Manager: After you’ve already got a contract on the house with the Realtor, you got a loan from the lender if there’s going to be a loan, we kind of come in and do the title work, do all the real estate law stuff that’s involved in a closing, and consummate the closing, give the keys to the new buyers.
Oscar Echverri, President of GAIA Construction, Inc: Inspection perspective and from the general contractor’s prospective, because you will always find issues that may help you obtain reduction on the price of the property that you get under contract.
[On-screen text] Subscribe to our newsletter for updates & news. Consolidated Credit: When debt is the problem, we are the solution. 1-800-995-0737
Not sure where to start? Connect with a HUD-approved coach!
For first-time homebuyers, especially, it’s hard to know what to expect when you buy a home. Steps like contacting a title company, getting appraisals, putting down earnest money and establishing escrow are all unique to buying a home. So, even if you’ve used other types of financing, you still may not fully understand what you’re in for.
At the Florida homebuying fair, you can connect with HUD-approved housing counselors for one-on-one coaching. They can help you:
- Understand the homebuying process step by step
- Explain mortgage underwriting
- Customize a plan to make sure you are mortgage-ready
- Find down payment and closing cost assistance, where it’s available
This demystifies the whole process and takes some of the uncertainty out of mortgage approval. That way, you can take action with confidence, supported by the team you connected with at the fair. Housing counselors are available in English, Spanish and Creole. Counselors can also offer assistance for military Service Members and Veterans using VA loans.
$50 gift card giveaways every half hour
To give you a little added incentive to stop by, Consolidated Credit is also giving away a $50 Walmart gift card every half hour. You just complete the entry form, turn it in and then wait for the drawing every half hour. Drawings start at 10:30.