For a long time, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has been known for building homes in an effort to provide stable housing for local families.
However, Twin Cities Habitat Homeownership Program participants aren’t limited to buying just Habitat-built homes. In fact, we offer two routes to stable, affordable homeownership — Habitat-built or rehabbed homes or using a Habitat mortgage* to find a home on the open real estate market. And by offering an affordable mortgage product* for open market purchases, we can partner with real estate agents to serve a larger population of first-time homebuyers.
What is Our Open Market Product?
In order to help even more Twin Cities residents afford homeownership, we created a wholly-owned nonprofit mortgage company: TCHFH Lending, Inc.
“When we heard about the Open Market, we thought, ‘Okay, what’s the catch?’ And we’re finding out there isn’t a catch.”
- Shawna Frazier, a Real Estate Agent with Frazier Group
TCHFH Lending, Inc. provides mortgages to low- and moderate-income households across the seven-county metro area. Homebuyers who qualify for a Habitat mortgage can use it to purchase a Habitat-built home or a home found on the open market.
“The best thing about our product is that we offer a 30-year fixed-rate loan with a 3% interest** rate," said Jen LaCroix, Community Loan Officer for TCHFH Lending, Inc. “In addition to that, down payment and affordability assistance may be available to homebuyers, depending on income qualification and availability. This means that first-time homebuyers will be able to get an affordable mortgage.”
“The Realtor® Network is something we started when we opened up our loan program to include the purchase of homes on the open market,” said Jen. “We found that more and more of our homeowners were working directly with real estate agents, and our goal was to partner with them in a way that our homeowners could be successful.”
The Habitat Realtor Network allows us to partner with real estate agents in the seven-county metro area to help more potential first-time homebuyers find affordable housing through our program.
To become a member of the network, real estate agents simply attend an hour-long Realtor Connect meeting to learn about the Homeownership Program. Network members also have ongoing access to TCHFH Lending, Inc. staff who can help them move their clients through the mortgage application process.
“I think that the best thing we can do is be the most educated on programs out there that are available for clients.”
- Jessica Maroto, Broker Owner with Buy-Sell Homes, Inc.
What Does the Homeownership Program Mean for Your Clients?
With TCHFH Lending, Inc.’s fixed, low interest rate and affordability assistance, this program allows people who otherwise may not have been able to qualify for a mortgage become first-time homebuyers!
“It enables us to reach a clientele that we normally would not be able to get into,” says Joshua Pelovsky, a Real Estate Agent with Victory Home Team.
And the results are exciting!
“I have somebody right now that’s approved, and she’s ecstatic,” said Shawna, “She was approved with a different lender for $150,000. With Habitat, she was approved for $230,000 with a lower payment. So, we’re screaming from the mountaintops. It’s wonderful.”
The proof is in the pudding. We’re excited about the possibilities the Realtor Network opens up for potential homebuyers across the Twin Cities, and our realtor partners are too. “There was an apprehension we had, like, ‘This is too good to be true,’” said Autumn Frazier, a Real Estate Agent at Frazier Group. “But it really does work.”
*Mortgages are provided by TCHFH Lending, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
**Preferred credit score of 620, although scores between 580 and 620 may still qualify.