October 26, 2016

Bronxites Get on the Fast Track for Homeownership with UNHP and Santander Bank


​45 Bronx renters attended the UNHP Fast Track Homebuyer Series held over three separate sessions in October of 2016. 15 individuals attended all three sessions and earned a homebuyer education certificate. There were three sessions in the series; Thursday, October 6th, Saturday, October 15th and Tuesday, October 18th, where the full range of homebuyer information was covered, including buyer readiness, credit scores, down payment assistance, special first-time homebuyer programs, the role of a professional homebuyer team, and credit and homeownership traps.

UNHP, Santander Bank, The Financial Clinic and the Parodneck Foundation teamed up to bring first-time homebuyer education resources to the northwest Bronx.

The Fast Track Series was organized by the UNHP Northwest Bronx Resource Center (NWBRC) in partnership with Santander Bank. UNHP’s financial coach, Alma Rojas, via the Financial Clinic, offered printed credit reports and analysis as well as appointments for free 1:1 financial coaching sessions at the Resource Center. UNHP offers free financial coaching at the Center twice a week by appointment. UNHP also partnered on this series with The Parodneck Foundation, our homebuyer and foreclosure prevention partner at the Northwest Bronx Resource Center. Parodneck Foundation HUD certified homebuyer counselors have worked with over 30 Bronx individuals to provide 1:1 assistance on homeownership in 2016 and with over 70 individuals at UNHP sponsored homebuyer seminars. Noemi Aviles, the Parodneck homebuyer counselor, worked with some of our clients at the event to get them pre-approved for a mortgage, answer questions and provide assistance to the attendees.

The three session Fast Track Series was well-attended and featured presentations from Santander Bank and UNHP. The Parodneck Foundation and our Financial Clinic coach provided additional assistance to attendees.

Mortgage, community social responsibility and finance professionals from Santander Bank led the three well-attended homebuyer workshops. Evie Sylvain, Toby Turney, and Heather Barbosa started out the first workshop with a discussion of renting and buying a home, personal financial planning and budgeting. At the second workshop held on Saturday morning, Toby and Heather introduced the members of the homebuying team; Realtor Joel Rivera from Douglas EllimanAttorney Ryan J. Walsh and Title Agent Carina Tom from 1st Equity Title & Closing Services. The presenters discussed their specialties and walked the attendees through the homebuyer process. Heather, the Santander Mortgage Specialist discussed mortgage origination, and how each professional links with one another and with the bank. The presenters discussed the need for independent professionals as part of the homebuying team.

Jumelia Abrahamson, Director of the NWBRC, is trained in pre-purchase homeownership education certification under NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling (NCHEC) and co-led the series. During the Saturday session, UNHP shared its BronxOwner Guide with information on the Bronx housing market, the location of ownership opportunities by neighborhood and special programs for low and moderate income first-time homebuyers. The Guide contains a Bronx Property Price Tracker which, while not a substitute for a realtor, is a good starting point to understand the price ranges of Bronx condos, co-ops and homes currently on the market. The Bronx Property Price Tracker lists Bronx properties for sale by type and price range.

The Saturday session at Refuge House focused on the roles of the homebuyer team; realtor, mortgage originator, title company and lawyer. Santander Bank brought together a team of professionals to speak with prospective homeowners. UNHP’s Jumelia Abrahamson shared the UNHP BronxOwner Guide and The Bronx Property Price Tracker with the crowd.

15 fast track attendees earned a homebuyer education certificate by attending all three of the workshops in the series. The certificate entitles graduates to apply for special first-time homebuyer programs. 45 individuals attended at least one of the sessions. Attendees were pleased with the information and professionalism of the workshops. A highlight of the event was access to the many private and public programs that can lower closing costs, and subsidize a down payment. 15 attendees obtained their credit reports, 7 people met with the UNHP financial coach, 6 people signed up to meet with the homebuyer counselors, 6 people signed up for the 5 session UNHP/Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners Getting Ahead workshop and 1 person submitted an application for the Federal Home Loan Bank First Home Club.

This Fast Track Series is UNHP’s second homebuyer event this year. UNHP held a Homebuyer Expo in April that was attended by 34 prospective homeowners.

Attendees at the Fast Track Homebuyer Series also made inroads to improving their overall financial wellness.  Many worked to create a plan to repair their credit and enhance savings.  6 participants have enrolled in the next Getting Ahead Course, 5 financial literacy workshops to work on a range of financial fundamentals.  Pictured above are our most recent graduates of the Getting Ahead Course held in Spanish during September of 2016.  In partnership with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners and the Larimar Center.