Let’s talk about homeownership for a minute. This was a hot topic a decade ago amidst the foreclosure crisis. SpringFour was founded during this time as a solution for struggling homeowners looking for help. Now as many communities move past the crisis there is newfound interest in home buying and the needs of pre-purchase consumers. Homeownership is hot again. And SpringFour is again at the forefront of offering solutions to consumers in need.

At SpringFour, we have seen many of our subscribers and partners in financial wellness shift towards pre-purchase counseling, lending, and savings for consumers who hope to buy a home. Over the last year we’ve surveyed dozens of our users and found that they are looking for a quick and simple way to find home buying assistance programs for their clients. While many already have access to tools that thoroughly analyze eligibility and income, these programs take a lot of time to complete and are ineffective for clients just starting out in the process.

We have responded to this changing need by adding a new category, Down Payment Assistance, now available for every subscriber through S4desktop and S4direct. Thanks to this project, spearheaded by housing policy expert and SpringFour Data Team Member Julie St. Jean, SpringFour now offers a solution for prospective homebuyers that delivers results in seconds. You can help your clients take this important step in realizing their dream of homeownership and financial stability.

Over 700 assistance programs in 150+ MSAs will be available nationwide in all SpringFour applications on December 11th, in English and in Spanish. If you are a current SpringFour subscriber simply login and begin providing this valuable resource to your clients.

If you are not a current subscriber and would like to find out more about our products, contact sales@springfour.cc.

Why is Down Payment Assistance so important?

The dream of homeownership is again within reach for many Americans. The downward trend in homeownership appears to be turning in a positive direction with the homeownership rate climbing in 2017.  With confidence in homeownership currently at the highest level in 3 years, why aren’t more Americans becoming homeowners? A recent study by Nerd Wallet found that one of the top problems cited is not having enough money for a down payment. With interest rates also rising in 2017 it’s more important than ever for borrowers to get some extra help.

Down payment assistance takes many forms, from free grants and cash gifts for down payment to money for closing costs, prepaid escrows, and other mortgage expenses. In a typical scenario this could reduce the amount of cash needed to close from $20,000 to $200.

Down Payment assistance can help buyers purchase a home sooner. It immediately builds buying power and can help the buyer take action on a purchase more quickly. Down payment assistance programs also give home buyers an important cash cushion so savings and reserve funds are available for home maintenance and other unexpected emergencies, making for more sustainable, financially sound homeowners.

Why aren’t more people taking advantage of this assistance?

Unfortunately, a recent survey from NeighborWorks America found that 70 percent of U.S. adults are unaware that down payment assistance was available in their neighborhood.

Common myths surrounding Down Payment Assistance may discourage people from seeking help and prevent otherwise qualified buyers from realizing their financial goals. For example, many buyers believe that they need to put down at least 20% of the purchase price if they hope to secure a loan. According to the National Association of REALTORS, buyers put an average of just 6 percent down when buying a home, far below common perceptions.

Individuals who are aware of down payment assistance often mistakenly assume that such aid is only for first-time homebuyers and low-income households. But many programs target move-up and repeat buyers too, as well as homebuyers from all income levels. In fact an estimated 87% of Homes qualify for down payment assistance nationwide.

These statistics show just how important it is to have a curated, updated list of down payment resources available in local communities.

How else can I help my customers become successful homeowners?

In addition to down payment resources SpringFour has a variety of categories that can help consumers save money to reach a financial goal such as buying a home. Accessing categories such as food, utility, or prescription savings can help reduce expenses by thousands of dollars a year, allowing the consumer to save more.

SpringFour also offers referrals to HUD certified non-profit housing counseling. Local Housing Counselors can provide free trustworthy advice for anyone looking to develop a budget, build credit, and prepare for homeownership.

Contact us to find out more about these great resources at info@springfour.cc.

Cassandra Compton, VP of Data Integrity and User Experience

SpringFour, Inc.