On June 4, the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity hosted its annual homeownership fair to help Texans learn more about how to buy their first home. Blaine Cowart, the vice president of Home Ownership Services for the organization, told NBC 5 that interest rates and housing prices have only increased in recent months.
She shared that the nonprofit has been able to help Dallas families find affordable homes in the area and encourages North Texans to keep looking.
“We don’t anticipate that interest rates are going to get any lower than they are today,” Cowart explained. “So our word of advice to families is, you know, the best time to buy a home really was probably two to three years ago. The second best time to buy a home is when you’re ready. And if you are otherwise ready today, you know, take the first step.”
While Habitat for Humanity can help in the home-buying journey, Cowart encouraged people to get in touch with any program, counselor, and real estate agent they can.
The free virtual event hosted on June 4 featured real estate experts and mortgage lenders able to help prospective buyers learn about buyer assistance and local resources they could take advantage of.
“Each June, Dallas Habitat celebrates National Homeownership Month by hosting our annual Homeownership Fair,” the organization’s website says. “This popular, highly anticipated event advances our mission of advancing affordable housing and preparing first-time homebuyers by providing high-quality education, resources, and encouragement to all those seeking to achieve their dream of homeownership.”
Cowart told NBC 5 that many people assume Habitat for Humanity will only help them find Habitat homes, but that is not the case.
“So many people assume that Habitat can only support you if you’re looking to buy a Habitat home. But that’s not true. Actually, at Dallas Habitat, we are a HUD-certified housing counseling agency,” Cowart said. “We counsel about 300 families every year towards mortgage readiness.”
Cowart explained that Habitat considers “mortgage readiness” to mean a family has “stable income and employment history, good credit (620+ credit score) … low debt, and a decent amount of savings, usually about $3,000 saved for the upfront cost of homeownership.”
At that point, families can buy a home built by Habitat, or the nonprofit can help prospective buyers search the market and work with their partner lenders and agencies.
“And so we do that (assist those looking for houses outside the nonprofit) in partnership with our lenders that we work with, loan officers who have products, specifically for first-time buyers, and then also with realtors who know the markets that our buyers are looking to work in,” Cowart told NBC 5.
“In the past year, we’ve served a little over a dozen buyers who have bought on the open market,” she added.