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Educating First Time Buyers

Where there is a will there is a way

By Thomas C. Schultheis
2019 President 
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® 

Realtors often have the opportunity to advise and represent first-time home buyers in a purchase. Working with first-time buyers is, at least for me, one of the most rewarding experiences in the business.

Sadly, many people don’t think that home ownership is attainable, and therefore do not explore the steps it might take for them to become home owners. This is difficult for me to see, as I firmly believe that home ownership is crucial to building personal wealth, strengthening communities, and providing stability for ones family. Home ownership should be a goal for most people, even if it is not a good fit at the moment.

Attempting to buy a property for the first time can be quite overwhelming.  The good news is that there are professionals in your community eager to help educate you about the process and help you determine whether or not your goals are realistic.  

Often, potential buyers aren’t aware of the various loan programs, employer down payment assistance programs, city- and county-subsidized housing opportunities, and other programs that are available to make ownership more accessible.  These programs exist because one size does not fit all in real estate.  Each buyer has a unique financial profile, and because of this, systems and programs have been – and continue to be – created to accommodate this diversity.

Specifically, there are loan programs for people who cannot afford a large down payment, for people with less-than-perfect credit, for people who own a business but show little income, for people with no job but plenty of assets, for veterans, for professionals with student debt, for seniors with little to no income, and so on.

With real estate, as with everything, education is crucial. One needs to know that an opportunity exists in order to take advantage of it. Ultimately, some potential buyers may conclude that owning a home is not the right option at the moment, but at least they know the steps to take if they plan to attain that goal one day.

The Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS®  urges you to call your Realtor to learn more about the tools, resources, opportunities, and strategies out there to help you attain the goal of home ownership.  We want to help you to realize your goals in a responsible way, and assess the pros and cons of each situation so that you can make an informed decision. Visit www.sbaor.org to find a Realtor and to see our affiliate members.

Thomas C. Schultheis is a Santa Barbara native and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. In addition to his work on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Thomas holds a Broker’s license and additional designations. Thomas lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and their two-year old son. He can be reached at 729-2802 or SBRealtorTom@gmail.com.     

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