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Coming Soon! Homeownership Navigator

Coming Soon! Homeownership Navigator

Now more than ever Minnesotans need access to non-biased, trustworthy information about homeownership.

We’re excited to announce that we’re about to launch a new mobile-first tool for future homeowners!! The “Homeownership Navigator” is on its way!

Here at the Center, we’re focused on increasing access to homeownership opportunities. Especially for low- and moderate-income households and households of color.

We know that children of homeowners do better in school. Homeowners are more engaged in their communities. Homeowners, in the long run, are wealthier than non-homeowners. We want everyone to be able to take advantage of the benefits of homeownership!

For months we’ve been hard at work with leaders in online technology. We’ve held interviews with community focus groups and potential users. We’ve heard from Homeownership Advisors and real estate professionals. The result is the ‘Homeownership Navigator.’ A tool that provides a personalized plan to successful homeownership.

It always shocks us to read incorrect information about the home buying online or in the media. When an online article states that a consumer needs to put 20% down (false) or banks aren’t lending (false) or any of the other myths we’ve seen, it makes us want to shout at our phone/computer.

But we’re proud to say we’ve found a way to cut through the all the clutter!

Know someone who is thinking about buying a home? Our Homeownership Navigator can get them trustworthy, non-biased information right on their smartphone.

We’re keeping things simple. The easy-to-use Navigator tool will help buyers assess their homeownership readiness. It shares helpful tips and advice on the right steps to take. Right on their phone and without having to share any personally-identifying information.

Buyers can learn about important topics like how savings and credit affect the cost of ownership. Most importantly, the Navigator tool quickly and easily connects buyers with their personal Homeownership Advisor. With the Homeownership Navigator, buyers can navigate from homeownership dream to homeownership reality!

Want to make sure you’re first to know when the new tool launches? Make sure you’re signed up for our e-newsletter, here.

Posted on: Monday, August 7th, 2017  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News

Homestead Credit Refund for Homeowners

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Minnesota Homestead Credit Refund for Homeowners – Information for 2017

Homestead Credit Refund Up To $2640Important Information about Minnesota’s Homestead Credit Refund from the Minnesota Department of Revenue

 

Minnesota homeowners, have you filed for your 2015 or 2016 Minnesota Homestead Credit Refund yet? Even if you were not required to file an income tax return, our friends at the Minnesota Department of Revenue want you to know that you might be eligible for a refund.

But you must act fast!

 

 

 

Do You Qualify?

You may qualify for the Homestead Credit Refund if you meet all of these requirements:

  • You are a full- or part-year Minnesota resident
  • You owned and lived in your home on January 2, 2017 (January 2, 2016 if filing for the 2015 Homestead Credit Refund)
  • Your home is classified as “residential homestead” by the county
  • You do not owe delinquent property taxes, or have made arrangements with your county to pay any delinquent taxes
  • You meet the income requirements

How do you file for a Homestead Credit Refund?

What information do you need to file?

To apply for the Homestead Credit Refund, you will need your:

  • Social Security Number
  • Address
  • Household income records
  • Statement of Property Taxes Payable in 2017 for the 2016  Form M1PR. Or Statement of Property Taxes Payable in 2016 for the 2015 Form M1PR.

What is the filing deadline?

For the 2015 refund, you must file by August 15, 2017. For the 2016 refund, you must file by August 15, 2018.

Can you track the status of your refund?

You can track the status of your property tax refund after July 1 by using the department’s Where’s My Refund? system.

Where can you find more information?

Visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue website for more information about the Homestead Credit Refund. (Type Homestead Credit Refund in the Search box.)

 

Posted on: Monday, July 10th, 2017  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News

June is National Homeownership Month

June is National Homeownership Month and to celebrate, the Minnesota Homeownership Center and its network of nonprofit partners, the Homeownership Advisors Network, are offering FREE homebuyer education to potential homebuyers.  To learn more about the free Home Stretch™ Workshops and Framework® options, visit our June Homeownership Month page here.

At the Homeownership Center, we know secure homeownership is the key to creating vibrant communities and that successful homeownership is possible through smart choices based on solid information. Nothing supports successful homeownership better than education.

The Homeownership Center and our Network are working hard to make sure everyone who wants to own a home has opportunities to learn about the process from professional, experienced and unbiased sources – whether in-person classes, personal sessions or online – so that they can make smart choices about their homeownership options.

This June Homeownership Month you can help us spread the word about FREE homebuyer workshops to empower a new generation of homebuyers to make smart choices.  It’s easy!  Just visit our Facebook page today and share this post with your friends:

 

Or Visit our June Homeownership Month page here, and use the ‘Share’ tools on the right-hand side of the page.

Posted on: Wednesday, May 31st, 2017  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News

Homeownership and Retirement Assets

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston University recently released a study on home equity and retirement assets. While their data is focused on how best to USE any equity, we here at the Minnesota Homeownership Center would like to focus on one of the overlooked items in their research:

 

For all but the highest 20 percent of income earners, homeownership equity is STILL the number one driver of wealth for American families.

 

The researchers conducted a “Survey of Wealth” of households ages 65-69 and found that for 80 percent of older households, equity in their homes accounts for the overwhelming majority of their total financial assets.

For low- to moderate-income earners, they found that homeowners generally held about $60,000 in home equity compared with about $5,000 in retirement savings. That’s 12 times as much in home equity as they have in all other financial assets, including savings and bank accounts.

For median income earners, the difference is not as dramatic as for low-mod income earners, but it’s still substantial. These households generally have about $105,000 in equity compared with only $40,000 in retirement savings.

Home equity and other savings even out for higher income earners; they generally hold about the same amount of value in their home equity as they do in all other financial and retirement assets. Only the top 20 percent of income earners hold more in financial assets than they have in home equity.

 

This disparity in wealth and asset accumulation between homeowners and non-homeowners becomes even more pronounced when we look at the disparity in homeownership rates between white and black households.

 

The White homeownership rate in the U.S. is around 70%, the rate for Blacks and Latinos is approximately 30 percentage points lower. The wealth gap between blacks and whites is much larger than even the wage or income gap. According to the Economic Policy Institute, average wealth for white families is SEVEN TIMES higher than average wealth for black families. Their research shows that more than one in four black households have zero or negative net worth (owe more than all of their assets are worth), compared to less than one in ten white families in the same situation.

That’s why we’re focused on ensuring that Minnesota’s communities of color have equitable access to the information necessary to move into homeownership and its wealth-building power.

 

Homeownership should never be considered a quick and easy way to get rich. Slow and steady wins the race when accumulating home equity. We have some suggestions about how to best accumulate equity – and real wealth – for you and your family:

  1. Make sure that you’re a successful homebuyer. Homebuyer education and counseling is available throughout Minnesota – and online – to help you understand, start to finish, how to purchase, maintain and pay off your own home. Education and counseling can also help you avoid scams and protect your savings. Our network of homebuyer educators and counselors work for non-biased, non-profit organizations who only want what’s best for you and your family when it comes to buying a home.
  2. Take advantage of any down payment or entry-cost assistance programs that you qualify for. Your Homeownership Advisor can see if you qualify for any of the dozens of programs available to Minnesota homeowners. Using down payment assistance can build equity faster and help you retain some of your own savings to put toward long-term homeownership success (repairs and upgrades), or even toward other long-term retirement-focused savings.
  3. Don’t rush into homeownership, but do remember that home equity takes time to build; most buyers will be making a mortgage payment for 30 years or more. Our consumer surveys and interviews here at the Center show that most potential buyers think they need near-perfect credit or substantial savings in order to purchase a home. While good credit and money management are extremely important to long-term homeownership success, nobody’s perfect.

Talk with a Homeownership Advisor today – you may be closer to buying your first home than you think!

Posted on: Friday, May 12th, 2017  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News

Latino Buyers Making Strides

 Latino Buyers - Comprador Cuidado

Census Data Shows Homeownership Growth among Latino Buyers

 

Anyone who spends any time studying homeownership rates or reading about real estate know that a lot of digital ink has been spilled talking about millennials and their importance on the housing market.  But if we’re looking for good news about homeownership growth, we need to look at where growth has been the most robust: latino buyers.

2015 marked the fifth consecutive year that Latino homeownership rose and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, homeownership among latino buyers increased even more in 2016. Here are the numbers they recently reported:

• First quarter 2016: 45.3%

• Second quarter 2016: 45.1 %

• Third quarter 2016: 47.0%

All indications are that these rates will continue to increase in 2017.

 

While positive, it’s not time to pop the champagne corks quite yet.  It will be a while before we can access comparable data for the State of Minnesota but we already know that Minnesota lags behind national averages in our homeownership rates for communities of color.

For example:

National %

Minnesota %

Hispanic Homeownership Rate  Year- End 2015

45.6 %

41%

CONSUMERS BEWARE!

During the buildup to the last mortgage crisis, Latinos were disproportionately targeted for risky subprime loans and were systemic victims of predatory lending practices. We know that households of color were pressed into choosing subprime loans by their lender or broker, even when their income and credit scores qualified them for a less-expensive mortgage. One study of 14 major banks found that this kind of racial targeting was widespread: almost 31% of Hispanics and more than 41% of African Americans were offered these riskier, more expensive loans, while less than 18% of white households were offered a similar mortgage.

 

While many of the most dangerous products are now illegal… we are seeing a return to our market of products that can be extremely risky for consumers. This is especially true if consumers have language barriers, are less financially savvy or are being told that the product is ‘their only option’ to return to homeownership post-foreclosure.

Recently we’ve seen consumers with:

  • dangerously designed Contracts-for-Deed;
  • loan products with Debt-To-Income Ratios of more than 55%;
  • buyers who have been asked to bring cash to closing to cover lender and agent ‘expenses.’ (Yes, actual cash, in an envelope, not included in any of the disclosure statements, if you’re wondering).

 

The best way to protect consumers from the resurgence of these products and players is to empower them with first-hand knowledge of financial systems and the steps to successful homeownership so that they don’t fall into a predator’s hands.

 

Homebuyer education and counseling is the best way to help clients avoid systemic predatory lending and be successful long-term homeowners.

 

Do you work with latino buyers who are thinking about homeownership? Know someone who was previously foreclosed that would like to return to homeownership? The Center has several member agencies who have Spanish-speaking trained and certified Homeownership Advisors ready to empower your clients with the information they need to be successful:

 

Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin (CAPSH)

Serving clients in Suburban Hennepin County Only.
(952) 933-9639   –   www.capsh.org

 

Three Rivers Community Action

Serving clients in Southeastern Minnesota
(507) 421-1214   –   www.threeriverscap.org

 

CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio)

Serving clients Statewide
(612) 746-3500   –   www.clues.org

 

Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA)

Serving clients Statewide
**  Check out this article to read about a recent NeDA client  **
(651) 292-0131   –   www.nedahome.org

 

Framework Homeownership – our online homebuyer education workshop
is also available in Spanish for Latino Buyers!

 

Are you a real estate agent or a lender who is as repulsed by these stories as we are?  THANK YOU!  You need to know that homebuyer education and counseling can also help YOU in the work you do.  Your buyers will be better prepared to work with you – and will be much less likely to make financial decisions during the buying process that could torpedo your deal.

Posted on: Tuesday, January 10th, 2017  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News