The Road to Homeownership...
Homeownership should be something that everyone is able to achieve if they want. Being a Realtor, I may be biased towards homeownership but there are many benefits that come with buying a home like building financial wealth, having control over monthly payments and the decision to move, and of course - the ability to do what you want with your property (obviously as
long as you comply with local regulations and HOA's). However, there are financial barriers to entry when it comes to homeownership, especially in Hawai'i. Below are three resources that can help prepare future homebuyers for homeownership in Hawai'i:
1. Hawaiʻi HomeOwnership Center is a nonprofit that works throughout Hawaiʻi to increase the number of homeowners by focusing on outreach and support for low to moderate income families - however they are open to serving people in all income classes. Their mission is to "provide education, information and support to create successful first-time homeowners in Hawaiʻi." They offer home buyer education (either in person or online), one-on-one coaching, post-purchase workshops and coaching, Mortgage Brokering (through affiliate HHOC Mortgage), and affordable purchase opportunities (through affiliate HHOC Housing and Land Trust). Hawaiʻi HomeOwnership Center is part of NeighborWorks America, a "national non-profit created by congress with a direct appropriation of federal funds."
2. Hawaiian Community Assets is a 501(c)3 non-profit with centers on four islands in Anahola, Kauaʻi; Hilo, Hawaiʻi, Honolulu, Oʻahu and Wailuku, Maui. They offer financial education for local residents to help build genuine wealth that will put them in a good position to become a homeowner. Their education services include financial counseling with a certified counselor, income support by helping residents gain access to grants and loans, and career coaching. They offer opportunities and assistance for renters, homeowners, families, and native Hawaiian farmers. HCA has been in service since 2000 and was founded in Wailuku on Maui by Maui housing advocates Blossom Feiteira and Kehaulani Filimoeatu. They have a partnership with Hawaiʻi Community Lending "to help families achieve and sustain permanent housing. It's named Kahua Waiwai, meaning ʻFoundation for Wealthʻ." The mission of HCA is to "build the capacity of low- and moderate-income communities to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency, with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians."
3. Your Local Lender is a great resource, especially for first time home buyers. There are some specific loan programs that have unique benefits for first-time home buyers like low down payment requirements or lower credit requirements. Lenders can help prospective homeowners position themselves in a financially healthy position to buy a home by identifying ways to improve credit, reduce debt, and improve purchasing power. To connect with a local lender on Hawaiʻi Island, click here.
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