Breaking Down Barriers: How Compeer is Making Homeownership a Reality for First-Time Buyers
For many Americans, homeownership means being able to live independently, build wealth and put down roots.
But many first-time buyers are apprehensive in today’s market, and for good reason. With interest rates up and prices that remain high, the dream of homeownership can sometimes feel out of reach.
Recognizing these challenges, Compeer Financial recently launched a new program specifically for first-time buyers. The program is not only meant to help more people achieve their dream of homeownership in the country but enrich rural communities in the process.
“Compeer is highly invested in rural vitality, and at its core, that means building rural communities that are thriving and enriched by the activity going on in them,” said Chelsea Breza-Berndt, Manager Consumer Credit at Compeer. “Homeownership and people being active in those communities is a huge part of that. We want people to want to live in these communities.”
Eliminating down payments
Without equity from a previous home, first-time buyers face a major hurdle in the form of a down payment, which can often range from 5% to 20% of a home’s value. According to Bankrate, 29% of first-time homebuyers cite “saving for a down payment” as the most challenging part of the journey to homeownership. Furthermore, 28% need to ask friends or family for a gift toward a down payment.
But with Compeer’s first-time home buyer program, buyers can access up to $400,000 in financing with a 0% down payment.
Eliminating that barrier means helping buyers who would otherwise be good candidates for a loan. It also helps level the playing field for buyers who may not be able to ask for family support or who have other debts, like student loans.
“It’s people who have good credit, have cash flow to make their monthly payment, but they just haven't been able to get over that hump of saving 5% or more for the down payment,” said Breza-Berndt.
Plus, the program allows buyers won’t have to pay costly private mortgage insurance fees or jump through hoops commonly associated with other low or no down payment programs. This could be the difference for sellers looking for sales with minimal contingencies in what continues to be a competitive real estate market.
Educating first-time buyers
Before any paperwork is signed, Compeer makes sure first-time buyers know what to expect. First, buyers take an online course that covers everything from monthly budgets to the unique features of rural properties.
“We have a unique opportunity to really educate people around rural communities and rural homeownership and how it can differ from a more metropolitan area,” said Breza-Berndt.
In addition to ensuring buyers know how much they can spend each month on their mortgage and other costs, the course goes over some of the more unusual elements of buying in the country.
That includes what to expect when it comes to a property’s septic system, something that can surprise those who haven’t lived in a rural area before. Buyers also learn about how much certain repairs and replacements can cost.
Casting a wide net
The option of remote work has made country living a possibility for more and more people, including younger first-time buyers. Still, buying in a rural market can come with unique challenges. That includes a lack of available homes for sale.
“We know that there's a listing shortage nationwide,” said Breza-Berndt. “But when we get into these rural communities, when a property comes up for sale, there's a very short time to secure it. Then there might not be an opportunity to purchase another property like it for a little while.”
One of the ways the program helps first-time buyers around the issue is by making sure they have the widest range of properties possible to choose from.
Compeer’s expertise in rural areas means it can work on properties traditional lenders can’t, from “barndominium”-or shed-style homes to properties with agricultural features such as barns and silos. “We've deliberately cast a wide net,” said Breza-Berndt.
With Compeer’s First-Time Homebuyer program, we’re helping more people achieve homeownership and invigorating rural communities in the process. Find out if the program is a good fit for you here.