CRD Connect: Advancing Homeownership

By Jennifer Rzeszewski

Research consistently shows that the housing sector has a profound impact on the health of the economy and that homeownership offers long-term social and financial benefits. The last decade, in particular, has witnessed property values soaring, causing homeowners to realize unprecedented equity gains.

Beyond the fiscal advantages, the societal benefits of owning a home are equally important. Homeownership fosters community, bolsters family stability and is a key driver of generational wealth. The National Association of REALTORS® has long championed the cause of making homeownership accessible to as many Americans as possible.

Today, however, the dream of owning a home is complicated by rising prices, high interest rates and a low-inventory market. In a time when buying a house is challenging and seems unattainable for some, REALTORS® can provide invaluable guidance and relief.

The mission is clear: demystify the buying process, educate would-be buyers about their options and advocate for accessible and affordable housing. 

Here are a few steps you can take to advance homeownership in your community:

Educate on financial literacy
Empower prospective buyers through education. Host workshops and seminars that explain the nuances of the current market, the importance of credit scores and effective strategies for down payments. Collaborate with lenders to demystify the mortgage process and consider obtaining the Home Finance Resource certification to deepen your expertise. 

Champion fair housing
Dismantle bias and champion fairness in the home-buying journey. Adhere to and promote Fair Housing laws, advocating for equitable housing practices. Educate yourself with programs like At Home With Diversity and Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing, which aim to mitigate bias and foster inclusivity in real estate transactions.

Support first-time homebuyers
Guide new buyers with care and expertise. Familiarize yourself with first-time homebuyer programs and grants, offering mentorship that transcends the mere act of purchasing. Provide holistic support that includes home maintenance advice, community recommendations and relevant referrals, which will help you form an ongoing relationship.

Advocate for affordable housing
Lobby for policies that encourage the development of affordable housing and the expansion of down payment assistance. Address and strive to eliminate the systemic barriers that hinder homeownership for many.

Engage with your community
Forge partnerships with local entities that support homeownership goals, like financial counseling services and community development corporations. Participate in initiatives that aim to revitalize neighborhoods, enhancing their appeal to potential homeowners and improving residents’ quality of life.

Stay informed on zoning 
Understand the impact of zoning laws on your community. Educate yourself on zoning reform initiatives that seek to address housing shortages, racial segregation and disparities in neighborhood amenities. Knowledge of zoning regulations is crucial as they directly influence housing availability and affordability.

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