Home Down-payment Tips

The many dimensions of buyer readiness all boil down to two major factors: motivation and cash on hand. Our recently released American Dream Home Survey showed that there are plenty of renters that hope to one-day own a home. Our stats showed just fewer than 60 percent of those surveyed intend on purchasing a home. That means motivation isn’t the primary issue.

So what’s intimidating your future clients? The down payment.

When it came down to home buying obstacles, the down payment was the single largest hurdle ownership hopefuls said they are facing. In an era of a fluctuating stock market, high-consumer debt levels, and rising costs to rent, it’s hard for tomorrow’s homeowners to put pennies aside to reach their dream.

So how do you help the consumer with too little cash on hand?

1) Know your financing

Every buyer’s circumstances, credit history, and resources are different. It pays for an agent to know the government programs and local lenders who provide down-payment assistance. While special financing programs won’t help in every scenario, checking into your local and federal options will help you inform your potential clients of how much work stands between them and the homeownership dream.

2) Be straightforward

Home ownership is a rosy thought for many. However, as an agent one of your greatest responsibilities is to be an advisor. That means you have to be willing to tell your buyers the truth. And if home ownership is not within reach right now, be willing to say so and use the opportunity to advise and help your clients over the savings and down payment hurdles.

3) Encourage some good ole fashioned savings

When it comes to ownership, nothing beats preparation. When assistance programs fail, encourage your buyers to do things the old fashioned way. That means first figuring out what they can actually afford (check out this post for tips on figuring out affordability) and two encouraging your clients to come up with a savings plan.

The down payment hurdle is a serious obstacle for buyers and agents, but for the agents who take the time to counsel their buyers and help them over it, there’s a commission on the other side.

Courtesy of Trulia’s Jovan Hackley

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