Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the many contributions and achievements the Hispanic and Latino communities have contributed to the United States. It allows us to reflect on our culture, family, values, and our successes as a people. It is also used as an avenue to think about the ways our community can continue to flourish: one of those things happens to be homeownership. As a mortgage professional and a first generation Mexican-American, I can see the profound effects homeownership can bring, both through the lens of my personal upbringing as well as through my profession. A home can provide safety, security, a place to raise our families and fulfill the American Dream. With many of our values wrapped tightly around family, owning a home ends up being one of the most sought-after milestones. With Hispanics accounting for 70% of homeownership growth* in the next 20 years, getting the Hispanic community adequately prepared to take on that step is crucial.
Historically, two of the largest barriers presented to the Hispanic community have involved misconceived notions and general homebuying knowledge – from obtaining credit to overall financial readiness. Being a homeowner is a vital part of achieving the American Dream and, in order to obtain that milestone, the importance of getting properly educated on homeownership cannot be overlooked. Attending a First-Time Homebuyer seminar can be a good first step to get in front of a mortgage professional and get insight as to what lenders are looking for in a borrower. Typically, these seminars will cover the overall homebuying process, credit scores, employment history, down payment options, and the different loan types available. This is where it is important for our community to ask questions about the process and discover the options that are available. While each individual has their own unique stories and experiences, the answers often apply to a majority of the Hispanic community.
In 2022, 7.9 million Latinos under 45 years old* were considered mortgage ready. This signifies that not only is there a desire to be a homeowner, but that Latinos have been actively preparing to take that step. In addition, the wide variety of homeownership programs available can help further enhance the homebuying opportunities for Latino communities. The accessibility to down payment assistance and First-Time Homebuyer programs can help bring change to Hispanic homeownership if they are presented as an option. As a mortgage professional, staying informed and sharing these different options with our borrowers plays a key role in further growing Latino homeownership.
Historically, Latinos have mistrusted financial institutions, both from personal experiences and unfair practices. Having a trusted mortgage professional and realtor that will advise and guide them through the Homebuying process is a crucial factor in overcoming that mistrust. The good news is that there are several Hispanic-based organizations that are making great strides to bridge this gap. For example, NAHREP (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals) has a vast number of individuals working to bring the dream of Hispanic homeownership alive. As professionals, it is also our duty to stay involved in our community to showcase the opportunities homeownership can bring and make this dream a reality.
For most Latinos, the opportunity to celebrate Hispanic Heritage comes far more often than one month a year. For me, I aim to honor our achievements by being a source of knowledge and guidance for those looking to be homeowners and helping our Hispanic communities continue to thrive. During this year’s Hispanic Heritage month, I encourage everyone to take some time to experience and immerse yourself in the vibrant Latino cultures that surround us. You never know what you may discover!
* Reference: NAHREP’s 2022 State of Hispanic Ownership Report
Mortgage Loan Officer