When Sean McClendon, 50, was asked to move to a more expensive renovated apartment in his complex, he knew it was time to consider buying a home.
The first thing he needed to do to qualify for a home loan was to get his credit in order. “That’s how the world works. You have to have credit,” said McClendon, who had been accustomed to making cash purchases for items and hadn’t built much of a credit history.
With the uncertainty in the housing market these days, Justin Cotton, Senior Home Lending Advisor with JPMorgan Chase, said homebuyers should stick with the basics, just as McClendon did, to find his way to homeownership.
“For people who are looking to purchase a home, I would say you want to make the time to do your due diligence. Take a look at your financial situation and understand what you can and can’t afford,” Cotton said. “The Chase Home Buyer Advantage Program is a great tool where we sit down and go through your full financial profile. That way, when you are making these decisions, you can feel comfortable and confident in the timing for your home purchase, whether that be in the next few months or the next few years. As a philosopher once said, if you stay ready you won’t have to get ready.”
When McClendon, of Upper Marlboro, realized it was the right time for him to home purchase he got down to business.
He paid off bills that were delinquent and put future payments on automatic withdrawals to ensure timely payments.
He got a credit card with a $300 limit to build up his credit.
That was two years ago.
Earlier this year, he closed on his first home, and his credit card limit has since increased to $8,000.
It was McClendon’s realtor who introduced him to JPMorgan Chase. McClendon, a veteran, was interested in a VA Loan for which Chase has a lot of experience in and he was given several credits which cut down on his closing costs.
Cotton said Chase works with several nonprofit organizations to assist homeowners in the process such as Home Free USA.
They also have internal programs:
- A $5,000 home buyer grant to be applied toward two of the biggest barriers to homeownership—the upfront cash needed for a down payment and closing costs. This grant is for anyone who purchases a home in a community identified by the U.S. Census as majority Black.
- For veterans the bank just launched a $2,000 closing cost benefit.
- A $500 Homebuyer Education Benefit for homeowners purchasing a home with a DreaMaker mortgage.
When navigating the home buying process, buyers can be bombarded with information, but Cotton said there is no one size fits all. The best thing is to speak with a lending agent.
Cotton said potential homebuyers should keep four things in mind with attempting to purchase a home.
- You have to get the ball rolling. You have to get started and know where you are and what your goals are.
- Find a realtor that you trust, someone you have a good relationship with. The Chase Agent express program will pay you an additional $1,000 to use toward closing costs if you use one of the bank’s recommended realtors.
- You want to make the uncertain certain. Once you have a house in mind, locking in your mortgage rate, and how much money you’ll be able to comfortably spend.
- Take advantage of as many financial resources that you can.
To learn more about the homebuying process, available resources and programs and to connect with a home lending professional, visit Chase.com/Home.