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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 %



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

Increasing Homeownership Opportunities


Increasing Homeownership Opportunities

Every homeownership story is unique. No two buyers are identical, so no two pathways to successful homeownership will be the same either. But the clients served by the Minnesota Homeownership Center and its network of Homeownership Advisors face additional barriers and difficulties that make purchasing a home seem more like a saga than a short story.  Enjoy Evelyn’s story to see how we’re increasing homeownership opportunities:

Evelyn and her journey to homeownership.

Evelyn and her family understood the power of the American Dream. They had dreamt of owning a home in the U.S. but didn’t know where to begin. Fearful of being taken advantage of, and having heard horror stories of families losing their homes during the financial crisis, Evelyn spent months seeking trustworthy information about homeownership.

With limited English skills, no savings and no credit score, homeownership seemed like a dream that would never come true.

As an immigrant from a country where bank failures are common and access to credit is only available to a select few, Evelyn and her family operated entirely in cash. Having never even opened so much as a store credit card, Evelyn was far from having three ‘trade lines’ (different types of credit) that most banks look at when determining credit worthiness. And she was nowhere near the FICO score that would qualify her for a prime-rate mortgage.

A friend recommended she speak with a non-profit housing counselor at the Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA), a member of the Homeownership Advisors Network.

As a first step, Evelyn’s counselor recommended that she take LSS Financial Counseling’s Financial Literacy workshop at NeDA to learn the basics of budgeting, saving, goal setting and good credit. After she completed the workshop, her Advisor helped her open a zero-interest Credit Builder Loan through the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers.

Evelyn’s Advisor also assisted her in opening a matched-savings Individual Development Account (IDA) at West Central Minnesota Communities Action. Evelyn’s IDA matches her savings $3 to $1 to help her save for a down payment.

With her credit quickly improving, Evelyn’s Homeownership Advisor helped her access one more credit-building loan program, this time through Associated Bank.

Even though she had to work for well over a year to build her credit, save for a down payment and stick to her budget, Evelyn never gave up. In early 2016, her Advisor suggested she take a Home Stretch workshop at NeDA to learn how to navigate the homebuying process and how to be a successful homeowner.

With her Home Stretch Certificate in hand, this summer, using $960 of her own savings, almost $3,000 from her matched-savings IDA account, and additional finances from her down payment program at Associated Bank, Evelyn was able to put down more than 10% on her new-to-her home in North Minneapolis.

Evelyn closed on her loan at the end of August 2016.

If you’re keeping score, Evelyn and her family needed the help of FIVE different organizations and their services in order to successfully purchase her home. Without the help of her Homeownership Advisor, it would have been nearly impossible for Evelyn and her family to identify these services available to her – and nearly impossible for her to own her own piece of the American Dream.

That’s what we do at the Minnesota Homeownership Center. More than 20 Years of increasing homeownership opportunities.   We work to support a network of 40 community-based nonprofits, tribal and governmental organizations that help Minnesota families make smart choices and build vibrant communities through successful homeownership.

Evelyn is just one of our success stories. Since 1993 we’ve helped more than 100,000 Minnesota families access successful homeownership.

Posted on: Tuesday, October 25th, 2016  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News

Homestead Credit Refund for Homeowners

Minnesota Homestead Credit Refund for Homeowners


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 2014 or 2015 Minnesota Homestead Credit Refund yet? Even if you weren’t 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, 2016 (January 2, 2015 if filing for the 2014 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 get a refund?

What information do you need?

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

  • Social Security Number
  • Address
  • Household income records
  • Statement of Property Taxes Payable in 2016 for the 2015 Form M1PR. Or Statement of Property Taxes Payable in 2015 for the 2014 Form M1PR.

What is the filing deadline?

For the 2014 refund, you must file by August 15, 2016. For the 2015 refund, you must file by August 15, 2017.
Can you track the status of your refund?

The Department of Revenue began processing property tax refunds on July 1. You can track the status of your property tax refund after July 1 by using their 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.


Posted on: Wednesday, July 6th, 2016  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News

Home Repair Infographic

New Home Repair Infographic Helps Budget for Homeownership

Are you thinking about buying your first home?  Congratulations!  We know that homeownership offers tons of benefits for you and your family.

One of the most important aspects of successful homeownership involves money management.  Successful homeownership is more than just qualifying for a mortgage. It’s also more than just making a mortgage payment every month. You’ll have to be able to cover expenses you probably don’t have as a renter.

The Minnesota Homeownership Center has created a new Home Repair Infographic titled “How Long Will It Last?” It can help you understand what some of those future repairs might be.  It includes the average life expectancy and replacement costs of your home’s major systems.  Just remember, the costs we outline are average for mid-range replacements here in Minnesota.  You could easily spend ten times as much for high-end luxury or one-of-a-kind items.

Replacing everything on our Home Repair Infographic could cost you almost $100,000.  So as a successful homeowner, you should learn to keep your systems in good working order.

We also recommend that you set aside money every year — 1% to 3% of your home’s sale price — for repairs and maintenance.

That means that if your home costs $150,000, you should set aside roughly $1,500 – $4,500  per year to save up for some of the bigger repairs.  That’s an extra $125 to $375 per month that you should be saving.  If you’re comparing rent vs. homeownership, make sure you include that amount in your monthly expenses.

Remember, even if your home is brand new, some day it will need these systems repaired or replaced. Every home will.

Are you facing a major home repair that you haven’t saved for? The Center has a list of Home Repair and Rehab programs that might be able to help.

Would you like to know other tips on being a successful homeowner?  Nothing beats homebuyer education!  Online or in-person, give yourself the tools you need to be successful.

Below you’ll find our Home Repair Infographic… feel free to share with friends (Click to see full size):

Home Repair Infographic


Posted on: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News

HUD Award

Minnesota Homeownership Center receives $628,000 HUD Award to support housing counseling in Minnesota.

20 Minnesota Agencies Will Receive Funding


$628k HUD GRANT SUPPORTS HOUSING COUNSELING IN MNThe Minnesota Homeownership Center has been awarded $628 thousand dollars by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will provide funding for homeownership education, counseling and support services at 20 non-profit organizations in communities throughout Minnesota.

On June 21st, HUD awarded more than $42 million in housing counseling grants to hundreds of national, regional and local organizations.  The Center’s grant was one of the largest awarded in 2016.

“The Minnesota Homeownership Center thanks HUD for investing in Minnesota communities,” stated Steph Stull, HUD Program Manager for the Center. “This award allows us to financially support Minnesota’s Homeownership Advisors Network and its work to close Minnesota’s homeownership gap.  Funding will provide support to thousands of Minnesotans working to improve their finances and provide secure homes for their families.”

As a result of this award, the 20 housing counseling agencies listed below will each receive approximately $10,000 to $50,000 to serve low- and moderate-income households and work to close Minnesota’s racial homeownership gap

The local members of the Homeownership Advisors Network work with clients to improve their financial management and budgeting skills, gain home-buying skills, avoid predatory lenders, address mortgage delinquency and default, avert foreclosure, and prevent homelessness.

As a HUD-Approved intermediary organization, the Center provides critical support, funding, training and technical assistance to affiliated organizations throughout Minnesota.

The 2016 Minnesota Homeownership Center-Affiliated HUD Housing Counseling Organizations:

African Families Development Network

Anoka County Community Action Program

Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency

Carver County Community Development Agency

Central Minnesota Housing Partnership

Community Action Duluth

Dakota County Community Development Agency

Headwaters Regional Development Commission

HRA of the City of St. Paul

KOOTASCA Community Action

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

Neighborhood Development Alliance

One Roof Community Housing

PRG, Inc.

Reverse Mortgage Counselors, Inc.

Rochester Community Housing Partnership

Scott County Community Development Agency

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority

West Central Minnesota Communities Action


Posted on: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016  //  under Front Page Slider, Latest News