This month marks the 13th annual National Homeownership Month – a month aimed at bringing new buyers into the market by focusing the nation's attention on homeownership's benefits to families and communities and demystifying the homebuying process.
Of course, this is not a one-month, once-a-year project. It's an ongoing challenge since new households are continually forming. First quarter household formations in 2015 were 1.5 million ahead of the same time last year, according to the Census Bureau. These new households will ultimately want a place of their own. While opinions vary widely about when they'll enter the market, one thing is not in doubt – they will have serious questions about buying or renting a home when they do.
This is why we are using National Homeownership Month to launch My Home by Freddie MacSM, a consumer website designed to answer those questions and make the benefits of homeownership come alive for aspiring homeowners. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or personal computer can access all of the resources on My Home.
My Home combines tutorials, videos, quizzes, worksheets, infographics, and a new generation of calculators designed to help consumers become smart homebuyers. In short, My Home is a one-stop reference for learning how to apply for a loan, understanding the closing process, selling a home, and succeeding as a long-term homeowner. My Home also includes resources for renters, including rent calculators, information about the rental process, and more.
My Home provides a library of video interviews with housing counselors, lenders, real estate agents, and title insurance companies providing additional information for understanding and overcoming common obstacles to buying and selling a home. My Home complements Freddie Mac's blog which keeps readers current on the latest developments at Freddie Mac and in the marketplace that could affect their housing goals.
For example, here are four steps every serious homebuyer should take when they start shopping for homes and mortgages:
- Find out your current credit history and score. If you have credit issues, you can take steps to build, improve, and maintain strong credit.
- Gather your financial documentation. Lenders today will want documents verifying your income (W-2 forms, tax returns, employment records), assets (such as bank statements to verify your savings), and debts (like car loan statements).
- Review your income, expenses, and financial goals with a responsible lender to determine the most appropriate type of mortgage – fixed-rate or adjustable-rate – given your financial situation.
- Consider getting a pre-approval letter from your lender. The letter shows home sellers that you're a serious buyer and how much you can borrow toward the price of the home.
Finally, My Home is also host to a special photo essay that we created by going across the country to people's homes and simply asking them "What does home mean to you?" Their photos and answers reveal the wide diversity of people and families in America's homes that Freddie Mac and its industry partners make possible all year-round.
Freddie Mac is committed to building stronger communities and households by expanding opportunities for homeownership and affordable rental housing. This also includes helping new households learn what it takes to become responsible homebuyers or renters. If you, or someone you know, have questions about buying or renting a home, check out My Home by Freddie Mac. The answers may be just a click or a screen-touch away.
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