How to Find Down Payment Assistance Programs

You just found your dream home in Phoenix, Arizona, and it’s within your budget! One thing has you scratching your head though, how are you going to come up with the 20% down payment? You’re worried that if you can’t find the money for the deposit, you’ll lose your chance to buy your perfect house. 

Don’t worry just yet. Many Arizona homebuyers are surprised to learn that there are a variety of down payment programs available to them—there are more than 2,200 down payment programs in the US that might be able to help. 

A lot of home shoppers don’t even consider applying for any kind of down payment assistance. People might automatically assume they’re not going to qualify, or it’s just too much work, and not even worth the hassle. This isn’t always the case! Lenders want to get more people into homes, and these kinds of programs can help, as long as you meet eligibility requirements. 

Here are some tips to help you find a down payment assistance program that’s right for you:

1) Search for government programs 
Depending on your state, county, or community, you might have down payment assistance available to you from one of many government entities. Check with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Both of these bodies have home loan programs for individuals, and some have a down payment component. You can also find assistance options by consulting with your state on the Department of Housing or Urban Development websites.

2) Search for Local Neighborhood Stabilization Programs
Congress established the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) to help rebuild and sustain Arizona areas with high rates of abandoned homes and foreclosures. If you need down payment help, searching for a home in an area that’s a part of an NSP might be a great place to start. 

Also, don’t cross high priced home markets off your list just yet. Programs will usually adjust specific benefits and eligibility requirements based on a percentage range of the area’s home prices and median income.

3) Special programs for certain buyers
Depending on the Arizona community, you may qualify for down payment assistance if you’re an educator, healthcare worker, firefighter, police officer, or another type of civic employee. If you’re a first-time homebuyer or haven’t owned a home in more than three years (re-qualifying you as a first-time buyer), you could also qualify for down payment help.

4) Search online and ask around
Search websites such as Down Payment Resource, which calculates what kind of assistance you might be eligible for receiving based on your community, occupation, and income. You can also search for programs that provide loans, grants, or tax credits, or others that can help you come up with your down payment faster, cover closing costs, and help move you into your perfect home sooner than you would on your own.

Also check out your local Phoenix, Arizona housing authorities, lenders, not-for-profit organizations, and even your employer. You might be surprised with what kinds of special assistance you uncover. Even as you’re searching home listings online, some listing services display a special badge on listings that could qualify for down payment assistance.

If your search for down payment assistance is turning up empty, get in touch! Because programs change frequently, realtors are usually up to date on these topics. 

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10 Guiding Principles for Successful Lead Generation

The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development.

Despite the claims of vendors promoting their lead-generation-made-easy products, generating quality organic leads is neither quick nor easy. There is no silver-bullet approach. Successful lead generation requires time, effort and resources. What must you consider for your lead generation efforts to be successful and to add to your business and bottom line? Start with these guiding principles.

  1. Identify Your Target Audience

You need to determine the type of properties, location and clients that you want to work with, based on your comfort level and the market conditions in your area.

  1. Establish Relationships

When you meet new people, or contact a prospective lead, take the time to listen to find out the challenges they have or the problems they need to solve.

  1. Capture Information

By collecting as much information as you can about each lead, you can provide content and follow-up that are more personalized and more valuable to them.

  1. Use a Database

A database allows you to collect and manage your contacts so that you can contact them strategically.

  1. Categorize Your Leads

One of your key tasks is to determine which leads are the most promising. Most agents distinguish between “cold,” “warm” and “hot” leads.

  1. Develop Your Systems

It’s important to establish systems so that you can maintain momentum. Every agent has to develop his or her own systems of targeted communication and nurturance.

  1. Establish Consistency

You can’t become top-of-mind for your leads without keeping in touch with them on a regular basis. You don’t want to be too “in your face,” but you definitely want to let them know regularly that you are there to help when they are ready.

  1. Track Data

You need to keep track of the efforts you put into capturing and converting leads so that you know which of the tactics you’re using are successful or not.

  1. Be Authentic

There is no one-size-fits-all technique for generating leads. The key is to choose the methods that come most naturally to you and to do what works to showcase what you have to offer, so you stand out in the minds of leads.

  1. Give It Time

Lead generation is a marathon, not a sprint. Many agents fail because they give up too quickly and too easily.

To learn exactly how to put the principles above into practice in your day-to-day business, check out the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council’s (REBAC) Generating Buyer and Seller Leads: Capture, Qualify, Convert online course, which is also an elective for REBAC’s ABR® designation.

For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Honesty and Sincerity Win the Day When Working With Clients

Honesty and Sincerity Win the Day When Working With Clients

In the following interview, Ulises Vargas, an agent with Stambaugh Realty in Winter Haven, Fla., discusses his approach to marketing, technology, and more.

Region Served: Winter Haven, Fla.
Years in Real Estate: 3.5
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 2

You utilize Homes & Land as part of an integrated marketing strategy that includes print publications. How does this benefit you?
Homes & Land is an excellent tool that gives me the ability to be a small, independent company and still compete with the bigger companies in the industry—all without having to join the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Joining the MLS would cost me a great deal of money, but Homes & Land does it all for me. They provide me with everything I need to be successful in real estate, including a website, an independent main marketing platform, tech assistance and great advertising. While Stambaugh Realty is a small company, thanks to my partnership with Homes & Land, I do closings every month and have a great business. With Homes & Land, I have the technology to track each step of the transaction along the way, and can even communicate with buyers and sellers through the dashboard I have access to. I even have the ability to do virtual tours. The reality is, if I want to be in the real estate business, I have to invest money in it, and Homes & Land is the only tool I need to invest in.

How do you stay ahead of the competition?
Discipline. And I do local promotions, as well. I take advantage of everything Homes & Land offers, especially advertising, so that I’m always getting new clients. As an independent contractor, I make sure that I’m making money, not just spending it.

What is the one piece of technology you can’t live without?
The two things I can’t live without are my iPad and iPhone. I’m in the field a vast majority of the time, and with my iPad and iPhone, I can do it all, from listing presentations to appointments. The only other piece of equipment I would like to have to make my mobility perfect would be a small printer so that I could do absolutely everything on-site.

Is there a specific motto/work philosophy that you live by?
The motto/work philosophy that I live by centers around being honest and sincere with my clients. Prospective clients aren’t looking at the car you drive or the way you dress; they’re looking for performance and honesty. I don’t promise anything I can’t do; however, I do promise that when working with sellers, I’ll work very hard and sell the home as quickly as possible.

For more information, please visit www.homesandland.com/benefits.

Lesley Grand is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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We Invite You to Cozy Up to These 9 Winter Wonderland Homes

We Invite You to Cozy Up to These 9 Winter Wonderland Homes

Winter Wonderland Homes

istock; realtor.com

Some homes are ideal venues for a Christmas break—we all aspire to spend a holiday in a house that’s warm and cozy on the inside with a blanket of white, fluffy snow on the outside. Feeling the holiday spirit, we set out to find a few picturesque homes so magnificent in winter that they’re just waiting to be featured on the front of a Christmas card.

If you’re on the hunt for a winter escape of your own, grab a mug of hot cocoa, and cozy up with these nine incredible properties, each ideally suited to spending the holidays watching the snow fall. Happy holidays!

25 S. Yuba Dr, Soda Springs, CA

Price: $349,000

Tinsel in Tahoe: This quaint chalet sits in the middle of the woods surrounding Lake Tahoe. The rustic interiors will appeal to a buyer in search of lodgelike charm. Outside, there’s every winter activity imaginable: line skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, and more than 50 feet of frontage on the Yuba River. Buyer, be aware: The road to the home is only open in the summer, which means you’ll need to ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile in during the winter months.

Soda Springs, CA

realtor.com

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733 Sunset Dr, Morgan, VT

Price: $987,500
Hilltop home: Sitting on a hilltop in the Northeast Kingdom and overlooking more than 200 acres, this three-bedroom home is nearly 3,500 square feet. The property teems with wildlife and also has a barn. According to the listing, it’s the perfect spot to start a sugaring operation or plant a tree farm—perhaps a Christmas tree farm?

Morgan, VT

realtor.com

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76 Cox Rd, Campton, NH 

Price: $177,750

Remodeled retreat: Built in 1982, but recently remodeled, this three-bedroom weekend getaway is great for summer entertaining. However, the A-frame truly shines in the winter, nestled among the snow drifts. Close to Valley, Loon, and Cannon Mountain, the little yellow house makes a perfect place to enjoy any number of winter sports and activities—including holiday celebrations.

Campton, NH

realtor.com

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760 N. Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

Price: $169,900

Winterport wonder: Built in 1834 and sitting on nearly 6 acres, this roomy home is begging for a family to come and celebrate Christmas. The property includes a four-bedroom main house, a two-car garage, and a log cabin, which could be used as a rental, playhouse, or guesthouse. There are also several storage sheds and a pole barn on the grounds, in addition to multiple varieties of antique roses and private trails.

Winterport, ME

realtor.com

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2863 Steam Mill Rd, Odessa, NY

Price: $125,000

Remote ranch: Private and tucked in the woods, this two-bedroom home built in 1984 sits on over 3 acres. The enclosed porch overlooks a pond (now frozen!) and Catlin Mill Creek, and trails on the property lead to Texas Hollow State Forest. The Grinch will never find you here.

Odessa, NY

realtor.com

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174 White Pine Canyon Rd, Park City, UT 

Price: $12,950,000

Park City paradise: Forbes magazine has described it as the “granddaddy of all estates.” This posh, nine-bedroom mansion is enormous, with almost 16,000 square feet of living space. Stocked with every amenity imaginable, the contemporary ski-in and ski-out home is the ultimate in high-end winter vacationing. Santa had better bring his A-game when delivering toys to this luxe address.

Park City, UT

realtor.com

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220 Cortina Dr, Mountain Village, CO

Price: $4,995,000

Merry and modern: This brand-new home near Telluride, CO, is right on the slopes. Flooded with natural light, thanks to an abundance of windows, the three-story custom estate is set among mature aspen trees, which create the perfect backdrop for elegant winter living.

Mountain Village, CO

realtor.com

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102 Grand Valley Rd, East Wenatchee, WA 

Price: $267,900
Candy canes in the Cascades: Built in 1980, this two-story home sits on a nearly 12-acre lot on Badger Mountain, with breathtaking views of the Cascades and Mission Ridge. Large picture windows take full advantage of the surrounding beauty and natural light. From ATVs and snowmobiles to skiing and hiking, this home offers a variety of outdoor activities, yet is still just a short 15-minute drive into town.

Wenatchee, WA

realtor.com

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5235 N. Conway Rd, Alanson, MI 49706

Price: $312,900

Fa-la-la family fun: Set on 2 wooded acres, this three-bedroom home provides plenty of outdoor space for epic snowball fights and snowman-building contests. Ski slopes and snowmobile trails are right outside the door for active winter fun. A pellet stove keeps everyone toasty when it’s snowing outside.

Alanson, MI

realtor.com

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