Empowering Homeowners

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Buying a home can be challenging for many, especially for a first-timer. There are numerous steps, errands, documents, and requirements, that the whole process may leave you feeling anxious. Rest assured knowing there are a multitude of organizations across the city ready to demystify the whole process so you get the most out of your purchase, such as Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS). NHS is a nonprofit neighborhood organization committed to helping homeowners throughout Chicago, South Suburban Cook County and Elgin. NHS works as an ally to home buyers through a range of programs, such as one-on-one financial counseling, homeownership workshops, lending opportunities and have done so for over 40 years. “NHS has a long legacy. It’s a 47 year-old organization committed to helping people and serving families of all communities,” said NHS President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Simpkins. Simpkins shares what potential home buyers can expect and the importance of building generational wealth through homeownership.

Housing Stability
When it comes to family stability and community stability, housing is key. There is very little else that you can focus on if you are suffering from housing instability, so that’s very important. Homeownership is particularly important because homeownership builds generational wealth, in a way that renting does not. So having access to the economic power of homeownership is really critical to uplifting families and uplifting the neighborhood.
With today’s prices and the interest rate on mortgages, homeownership is affordable housing. For example, in Chicago families who have a household income of 80 percent of the area median income for an affordable apartment, an apartment that is restricted as an affordable apartment for 80 percent AMI over low, are going to pay about $1,600 a month. That’s the same as the monthly mortgage payment, principal, interest, taxes and insurance for a home; anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000. So we can put families in a home where they can build equity, where they can build community for the same affordable cost as they would if they were renting. Families can begin to build equity in a way that cannot when they were renting.

NHS Services
Number one, unlike many lenders, NHS provides counseling and education. We educate people on what homeownership is, what is the homeownership process, how to make sure homeownership is affordable and sustainable for a family. We unlock the mysteries of credit scores, budgeting, and the whole process. We have experts that walk people through the rehab process, which is important for my second point. First of all, we make sure that people don’t go through this process by themselves. We make sure they go through it with the proper knowledge and education and an ally at NHS that will help walk them through that process.

Second of all, when it comes to affordability, prices are going up in many of our neighborhoods, in many of our black and brown neighborhoods that have been undervalued for generations. NHS provides assistance for people who are looking to buy a home. Assistance with down payments, closing costs, stuff like that; we administer programs. People coming to NHS looking to buy a home and get a loan can get up to $15,000 towards a down payment and purchase price assistance on a home. Also, unlike most of the big banks, we not only provide assistance on purchase mortgages, but also purchase rehab mortgages.

Sometimes, the most cost effective and affordable route to homeownership is to purchase a home that needs a rehab. There are a lot of investors in the market now and actual legitimate home buyers are finding it hard to compete against investors who are taking the homes to turn them into rental properties or to fix and flip them. Often the quality of those rehabs are poor because the investors are trying to maximize their profits. So we not only lend to people to purchase and rehab a home, but also, our construction staff walks you through that process as well. So we know at the end of the day that is a high quality rehab which means, not only is the mortgage sustainable for the long term, but so is the home.

Homeownership Advice
You know, the best way to approach any new challenge, if you can, is to have a knowledgeable partner with you, who can show you the ropes and give you advice. That really is what NHS is, if you think homeownership is not accessible to you, or if you think the whole process is a bit of a mystery and challenging, come see us. We can show you that homeownership is more accessible to you than you think and you will have a partner with us that will help you through the whole process and you will come out at the end with success.

If you are interested in learning more about the home buying process or wish to speak to someone that can help, visit NHS at www.nhschicagoorg or call 773-329-4111.

Photo Caption: NHS President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Simpkins
Photo Credit: Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago

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