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Regions Next Step offers free resources to help potential homebuyers during National Homeownership Month

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 12:06 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 12:13 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - June is National Homeownership Month, a time dedicated to help interested buyers navigate the homebuying process.

“With a large percentage of people still working from home, I think that homeownership has become more important,” said Drew Miller, a Financial Wellness Relationship Manager at Regions Bank.

Miller helps people across North Alabama prepare for getting that first key, and is encouraging potential homebuyers to utilize Regions Next Step, the bank’s financial education program.

“We try to give people as much information possible so they go in to the process informed and educated,” Miller said. “That way there are no surprises when going through the homebuying process.”

As you jump into the market, Miller has a few key suggestions. He said the first step is understanding the costs of buying a home, outside of the purchase price. For example, Miller said people need to consider down payment, closing costs and home inspection.

Following those steps will help you determine how much you can afford, another key step in the homebuying process.

“You want to make sure you are comfortable and you can still maintain your style of living while you are purchasing a home,” Miller said.

Miller recommends talking to a licensed mortgage professional throughout the process to ensure you are finding the right programs.

“A lot of people don’t even have knowledge about the types of loans that are available through the mortgage process,” Miller said. “There are some loans out there that do not require any down payments. If you are active military or a veteran, the VA loan is something that’s very popular for that group of folks.”

Check out the free mortgage calculators available on Regions.com for more help.

Miller also wants potential homebuyers to know, down payments should not stop you from jumping into the market. If you talk to the right professionals, you should be able to make a plan.

“Get their advice. Maybe they can help you set up some goals that you can reach over the next three, six, or nine months where you can actually have that down payment,” Miller said.

Another piece of advice for people who are in the market for a new home: Get preapproved.

“You’ll be able to go in, basically with a letter saying that you are preapproved and that’s really going to help the seller move forward with you instead of someone else that is not preapproved,” Miller said.

Finally, Miller said maintaining good credit is vital.

“The government is actually allowing people to pull their credit weekly, now through April of 2022,” Miller said. “And that’s super important because it’s allowing you to stay on top of your credit, monitor your credit.”

If you would like to learn more about managing your credit, you can join a free “Your Credit Report” webinar through Regions Next Step.

REGIONS NEXT STEP SURVEY

According to a recent homeownership survey conducted by Regions Next Step, consumer sentiment regarding homeownership has changed, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the survey found people prioritize space, over location.

Here are the specifics, according to Regions News Online.

  • Roughly one in five Americans (21%) are planning to buy their first or next home or apartment in the next 12 months.
  • When asked to select all items on their wish list, the top two responses were having room for family or friends to stay (30%) and wanting a large outdoor space (28%).
  • Only 16% had living in a fun and vibrant location on their wish list.

The survey also found, potential homebuyers need help navigating the homebuying process and that’s why Regions Next Step plays an important role, Miller said.

“The great thing about everything we have on our Next Step page is it’s open to the general public,” Miller said. “You do not have to be a Regions account holder to access any of these tools or information.”

The Regions Next Step Page has a variety of free homeownership tools and resources including podcasts, calculators, courses and articles.

Miller encourages interested homebuyers to take part in a live webinar on June 23. You’ll learn about the mortgage application process and pros and cons of owning a home.

Check out the Regions Next Step website here: Regions.com/NextStepHomeOwnership.

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