Affordability remains the biggest barrier to homeownership in most markets across the nation—yet prospective buyers are still determined to turn their homeownership dreams into reality. 

As real estate professionals, we need to equip ourselves with the knowledge and tools necessary to help buyers navigate the complex landscape of upfront costs. Below, I’m sharing five strategies designed to assist buyers in overcoming affordability hurdles and achieving homeownership.

#1—Down Payment Assistance Programs

Most states have various down payment assistance programs, which can provide financial support to eligible buyers. These programs often offer grants, loans, or other forms of assistance to help cover down payments, closing costs, and other upfront expenses. 

Each state is different, so take the time to educate yourself on programs in your market. Get to know the eligibility criteria, application process, and available resources to effectively leverage these programs for your clients. And be sure to continually look for new opportunities—you never know what a new program may become available.

#2—Crib Equity

Think of Crib Equity as a “co-investor” for your buyer. This residential home purchase partner helps home buyers double the funds they have saved up for a down payment. 

This helps buyers increase the amount of cash put up at closing, which allows them to:

  • Save up to 25% on monthly mortgage payments, OR
  • Afford a more expensive home

Since Crib Equity acts as an investor, not a loan, there is no additional debt or monthly payments added on to the mortgage. Instead, when the property is sold or refinanced, Crib Equity receives its share of equity earned. Homeowners also have the option to buy back Crib Equity’s share at any time. Agents can learn more about Crib Equity here

#3—Gift Funds and Co-Signing

Gift funds are on the rise: over one-third (36%) of Millennial and Gen Z home buyers plan to use money from family members for a down payment, according to a recent Redfin report.  

You should have a comprehensive understanding of how gifted funds and co-signing processes function, especially when working with younger generations. 

Being adept at how the gifted funds and co-signing processes work enables you to offer valuable insights and guidance to clients, facilitate smoother transactions, and expand your buyers’ pool of opportunities.

#4—Professional Career Programs

Stay informed about loan products designed for professionals such as doctors, teachers and other specialized industries. 

Many banks offer tailored mortgage programs with favorable terms and benefits for individuals in these professions. By cultivating relationships with lenders offering these niche programs, you can provide your clients with access to customized financing solutions, thereby enhancing affordability and expanding homeownership opportunities.

#5—Cultivate Relationships with Diverse Mortgage Professionals

Finally, establish strong partnerships with a network of mortgage professionals encompassing a range of loan products and financial institutions. 

Collaborate with brokers, private banks, and other key players in the lending landscape to offer your clients access to a diverse array of financing options. This helps you provide personalized guidance and support to help buyers navigate down payments and mortgage payments with confidence.

Final Thoughts

Some consumers are losing hope on the idea of homeownership, thinking that they’ll never be able to save enough to cover upfront costs. These five strategies can provide more options as buyers navigate the upfront costs of purchasing a home.