June 2018 - It's HomeOwnership Month
is Home Ownership Month!

Homebuying season is hitting high gear and Home HeadQuarters is here to  help you make the best homeownership choices in 2018. 

We always suggest signing up for a free, one-hour HomeOwnership Orientation as a first step in the process, but in the meantime, here's some basic things to know when looking for a home:  
Check your credit score before looking for a mortgage .

Look at your finances before you start the search for a home. You need to understand your credit score, and what kind of home you can afford. Many people make the mistake of falling in love with a certain house then realize it doesn't make sense financially. Make sure your credit is strong. Since finding the right house takes an average of one to three months, it could pay off to use the time to strengthen your credit score, especially if it means getting a lower mortgage rate.
First-time buyers, in particular, need to be prepared for all of the steps in the homebuying process. According to a recent study conducted by online loan marketplace LendingTree, nearly one out of every ten mortgage applicants gets denied. The primary reasons for denial were credit history (which includes credit score) and debt-to-income ratio. Each of these factors was responsible for 26 percent of denied loans. 
Working with a housing counselor from Home HeadQuarters can help resolve credit errors or other concerns, boost your credit score and also provide other financial guidance while shopping for a home. Learn more!
Meet James Jordan: This Year's 650th Home Repair Loan Customer

When James Jordan walked into Home HeadQuarters last week to close on his home improvement loan, he wasn't expecting any fanfare. He planned to meet with the organization's Loan Operations Manager Meghan Carroll, sign some papers and head to work. 

What James didn't know was that, as his was the first of three loan closings scheduled that day, he was the 650th home improvement loan customer for Home HeadQuarters in its 2017-18 program year, ending April 30th. As the owner of an HHQ-rehabbed property in Syracuse's Strathmore neighborhood, and a recent  HomeBuyer Education Course Graduate, James and his fiancĂ©e didn't require much in the way of fixing the home, they needed a little help with the neighbors. 

A Traditional Home? No Thanks!

When Mary Margaret O'Hara and her husband Ander de la Fuente Ibarretxe moved back to Syracuse from Spain three and a half years ago, they had a goal of becoming home-owners and were pretty sure they would purchase a traditional single-family home.

It's what Mary Margaret pictured as she attended Home HeadQuarters' HomeOwnership Orientation one Wednesday evening last February, and still what she was thinking about when she finished the 8-hour HomeBuyer Education Course.

"Then we looked at a LandBank house to renovate and went to Home HeadQuarters for the purchase and rehab financing. We put in an offer and it was accepted, but when we talked with some contractors about the costs and time to renovate, we got somewhat overwhelmed," said Mary Margaret. "The home rehab project became much bigger than we first thought, and Ander, who grew up living in apartments, started taking about the benefits of one-level and maintenance-free (no mowing, no shoveling) living."

Mary Margaret and Ander regrouped, met with a realtor through Home HeadQuarters' affiliate CNY Affordable Realty, and started searching for the perfect home all over again. They wanted a walkable neighborhood, not too far from Mary Margaret's job with the city of Syracuse in Neighborhood and Business Development, but most importantly, the couple wanted something that felt right.

What they didn't expect was to fall in love with the only co-op building in Syracuse. The building, located on the West Onondaga Street Corridor, is in walking distance of downtown, has a large community back yard with a creek running in the back and grills for barbecuing, a roof top terrace, and provides the couple the energy and sense of community they were seeking.

Mary Margaret laughs when recounting the conversation, "My realtor, Shannon Fiumano, saw we changed our minds and wanted a co-op apartment and then realized she would have to figure out how to make Home HeadQuarters' first mortgage financing work for something as unique as a co-op in Syracuse!"

The couple is the latest in a line of happy new homeowners helped along by Home HeadQuarters, but are the only ones with a mortgage that rolls in the homeowners association fee that covers the shared costs of owning in a co-op, like taxes, building insurance, landscaping, utilities and a project fund.

"Ultimately, I felt comfortable with Home HeadQuarters," said Mary Margaret. "From learning about insurance, repair costs and different mortgage products in the HomeBuyer Course to working with someone that would make the mortgage financing work for my situation, no matter if I was a first-time homebuyer or someone buying a unit in a collectively-owned building."

Mary Margaret's recommendations if you're looking for the perfect home? Take the certified 8-Hour HomeBuyer Education Course, check out Home HeadQuarters' First Mortgage Financing and don't give up looking for something that feels right.
HHQ Welcomes
Jeanne Wu

Help HHQ welcome new staff accountant Jeanne Wu. Originally from New York City, Jeanne had her first experience with accounting practices during a high school internship at Ernst & Young. She realized she actually liked accounting and went on to earn her accounting degree at Binghamton University. Accounting and her husband's military career have brought Jeanne from Oklahoma to Fort Drum and finally to the Syracuse area. Jeanne is a mom and stepmom to three kids who she says are all running her life!
Block Blitz 2018

We've got a date: Friday, September 14, 9am-3pm. We have a neighborhood: Elmwood. Now all we need is YOU! Watch for letters in your mailbox in the next two weeks to sign up to participate as a property owner, contractor, sponsor, volunteer coordinator or more! If you have an idea for a homeowner donation, neighborhood project or something else, let us know by contacting Mary Jo or Karen at (315) 474-1939 or info@homehq.org. Visit the Block Blitz page to stay up-to-date on event news:  https://www.homehq.org/block-blitz/.

Stay Tuned!

JUNE 6 or 20
FREE, 60-minute orientation will introduce you to the basic steps to becoming a successful homeowner and how Home HeadQuarters can help. Orientations are offered on Wednesdays either at 10:30am or 5:30pm.

9am-5pm, 8-hour course that provides all the information you need to become a successful homeowner. Course certificate is a requirement for First Home Club participation. To attend a Saturday class, you must be pre-approved by a lender or enrolled in a First Home Club.

5:30pm-7:30pm, this 8-hour course provides all the information you need to become a successful homeowner. Trained housing counselors provide class instruction and one-on-one financial counseling.

11:00am-1:00pm, FREE, 2-hour informational workshop looks at how to avoid foreclosure, how the judicial process works and what to expect once a foreclosure action is filed. Held at Homsite, 60 Clark Street, Auburn.

5:30pm-7:30pm, FREE, 2-hour informational workshop looks at how to avoid foreclosure, how the judicial process works and what to expect once a foreclosure action is filed. 

For a full 2018 HomeBuyer Education Class Schedule, click HERE!

Don't miss the Small Scale Real Estate Development Workshop, a day-long session designed to introduce the principles behind neighborhood based real estate development projects.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 8am-5pm
WHERE: Marriott Hotel Downtown Syracuse
Early Bird Registration Rate ($170) open until Friday, June 8
Regular Registration Rate ($200) open until Monday, June 25
Last Minute Registration Rate is ($230)
The workshop offers specialized training about how to create small projects, like 1-3 story buildings with less than 20 units, which are residential, commercial or mixed in use and 1,000-12,000 sf in size.  The workshop is conducted by the Incremental Development Alliance, a national non-profit that works to build local wealth in neighborhoods through ground-up real estate development.

Home HeadQuarters, Inc. | 538 Erie Blvd. W., Suite 100, | Syracuse, NY 13204  
p. 315.474.1939 |  www.homehq.org | email: info@homehq.org