Beginner to Buyer

Chase

Buying your first home is a huge milestone, but it can also be overwhelming. Join Nadeska Alexis as she sits down with real people to talk about their essential home buying questions, and hear from top real estate experts as they weigh in. This 10 part series will help you get an insider's view into the home buying process. Learn more by visiting beginnertobuyer.com read less

Homeownership: Why it matters
Aug 17 2021
Homeownership: Why it matters
Homeownership is good for families, businesses, and the broader community—but historical barriers have made it difficult for many to succeed at buying a home. So what should you know about the history, data, and current trends in homeownership before you buy? And why should you care?In this episode, Beginner to Buyer podcast host Nadeska Alexis sits down with Cerita Battles, Head of Community & Affordable Lending at Chase to talk about these historical trends and unpack why they are relevant to homebuyers today. Cerita overviews data on the importance of ownership to family stability as well as the benefits that higher rates of homeownership confer on communities. She outlines historical barriers to entry that excluded some groups more than others from homeownership, and she describes how those policies and norms have impacted generational wealth in this country for centuries.It’s enough to discourage many minority or less-privileged individuals from even attempting to buy a first home, but Cerita delivers an encouraging perspective. As Head of Community & Affordable Lending at Chase, her mission is to help tear down those historic barriers faced by minority consumers and underserved communities. And, she shares, the demographics around homeownership are improving. For instance, according to the National Association of Realtors, nearly 25 percent of properties today are owned by single women.Cerita also shares how the financial services industry is prioritizing strategies aimed at expanding homeownership to more families and individuals. You’ll hear her discuss both the real obstacles and the misperceptions about homebuying that can impact your progress toward homeownership. So if you’re someone who wants to buy a home but is concerned about qualifying for a mortgage or other aspects of the homebuying journey, you’ll find inspiration and pearls of wisdom as Nadeska and Cerita de-mystify the process and arm you with knowledge for success.You can read the full transcript on the Chase Website
Am I ready for homeownership?
Aug 17 2021
Am I ready for homeownership?
Is homeownership really for me? How do I know if I’m ready to buy a home? And can I afford to buy and still live the life I love?These are just a few of the questions people ask as they consider buying a home for the first time. They may sound elementary, but as Beginner to Buyer host Nadeska Alexis uncovers, they are actually essential starting points for a successful journey to homeownership. In this episode, she hears from a first-time home-buying couple and then discusses their questions and concerns with Keosha Burns, Executive Director and Senior Advisor for Community and Affordable Lending at Chase.Brandy Stone and her husband Shawn Butler currently rent a home in Rancho Cucamonga, California. They want to buy a home, but they’re not quite sure they know the best way to get started. Brandy is 30, she’s still paying off student loans, and she feels she’s spending too much on rent. She tells Nadeska that she doesn’t know where to look or who to trust for advice. At this point, she feels confused, intimidated, and naive.Brandy has many questions for Nadeska: How do I get started? Who should I talk to? How much money do I need to have saved up? Is there a certain credit score I need to qualify for a mortgage? And are there going to be any surprise costs? Can I negotiate? Are there resources available to help me navigate this process?And finally: How do I do this without spending so much that I can’t also live my life?Nadeska knows these are common questions. To help Brandy and Shawn feel more confident moving forward, she turns to Keosha Burns, Executive Director and Senior Advisor for Community and Affordable Lending at Chase. Keosha has dedicated her career to the human side of homeownership and aims to make homebuying more accessible to young people and historically underrepresented groups, especially single women.Keosha acknowledges that buying a home is a huge milestone—and knowing whether you’re “prepared” for it might look different for different people. But there are questions that every potential homebuyer can ask themself as they evaluate their own circumstances. For instance, she says, emotional readiness is a big factor, and homeowners who have prepared themselves for the ups and downs they might encounter will likely be more successful—and less stressed. She also has information about practical matters such as how your income, debt, savings, and credit score can impact your mortgage application.Listen to this episode to hear Keosha’s advice to people who are already feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by the process. Often, she shares, an image of a certain kind of family or home comes up when people talk about homeownership in the United States. But homeowner demographics are changing, and there are key differences between millennial homeowners and their older counterparts.Keosha’s advice includes “practicing” your potential mortgage payment for several months before signing a purchase agreement. This can help you understand if you can really afford it and see how it will impact the rest of your finances. Overall, she shares, the best way to avoid buyer’s remorse is to have a deep understanding of what life looks like post-purchase, and to budget ahead of the purchase so you won’t be shocked about life on the “other side.”You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
How much can I afford?
Aug 17 2021
How much can I afford?
Credit scores, concerns about income and debt, and estimated monthly payments: the financial details before you even make an offer on a house can quickly feel overwhelming. In this episode, Host Nadeska Alexis hears the concerns of a single mom navigating the housing market and checks in with a certified financial planner to help it all make sense.Nadeska talks with Nadia Harrald, who lives in Chicago with her nine-year-old daughter and her parents. Nadia’s looking to buy her first home, and she’s hoping to have it double as an investment property. She knows she needs to get her credit score up and pay off some debt—and she’s working toward both those goals. She’s proud of herself for her progress and she’s learning a lot.But Nadia still has plenty of questions and concerns: How much should I save up for this kind of venture? What other costs might come up that I should be accounting for? Is there an amount of debt I should pay off before moving forward? Having only one income to work with makes her feel even more distressed. She’d like some reassurances that she’s on the right track, and she’d like to learn about any assistance programs that could help her.These questions surrounding what you can afford as a homebuyer are quite common—and quite personal. For an expert perspective, Nadeska turns to Arielle Minicozzi Figueroa. Arielle is a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Student Loan Professional. Her mission is to help millennials achieve financial stability and sustainable homeownership skills, and she has many resources and much good advice to share with Nadia.Listen to this episode to hear Arielle discuss how you can start to plan for a big investment like buying real estate. She offers tips to help you determine how much savings you might aim to have before embarking on the home-buying process, as well as other financial decisions or considerations first-time buyers should be aware of.Arielle also addresses the thorny issue of debt. (Spoiler: Yes, you can still buy a home if you have large debt.) She discusses some steps for managing debt while moving forward on a home and identifies debt guidelines for some grants and other assistance programs.As far as the bigger questions of Am I ready? and What can I afford?, Arielle describes how these decisions are ultimately personal—but can and should be backed up by sound financial understanding. She acknowledges that there are some financial red flags that might indicate someone should wait to buy a home, and there are also some misconceptions about financial readiness that prevent people from moving forward. A good way to understand if you can in fact live with a potential monthly mortgage payment, she says, is to “practice” paying that amount—you’ll soon see what it feels like to live with that reality.With a good strategy and financial planning, Arielle assures, you can achieve homeownership and maintain financial stability for a lifetime.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
The mortgage
Aug 17 2021
The mortgage
Let’s face it: mortgages are complicated. Would-be buyers have to think about prequalifying, down payments, and an array of mortgage types. Luckily, home lending advisors are here to help. In this episode, host Nadeska Alexis sits down with a new homeowner to hear about her mortgage experience, and then checks in with a veteran home lending manager to get expert tips and resources.First Nadeska talks with Rita Hill, a veteran and a single mom who just bought her first home in Richmond, Virginia—an increasingly popular destination as people leave big cities. Rita bought with a VA loan and didn’t put any money down. Rita describes her homebuying process, including the team she worked with and what she learned along the way.Rita’s experience with the home lending process was typical of many first-time home buyers. For help illuminating the process, Nadeska turns to Felton Ellington, the Community Home Lending Manager at JPMorgan Chase. Ellington describes why working with a home lending advisor is key to a smooth lending experience.Felton advises listeners to involve a home lending expert while they are still in the early stages of homebuying. For one thing, getting your questions answered up front can ease the rest of the process for you. For another, an advisor can help you identify the type of mortgage that’s right for you and help you get prequalified so you can be more competitive as a buyer. A prequalification can also help you identify your price range so you can target your search more effectively, he notes.Felton also offers tips for helping you select a home lending advisor, including questions you should ask and red flags you should be on the lookout for. He identifies some simple steps a homebuyer should take before sitting down with a lending adviser, as well as paperwork or information you should gather to bring to your first meeting.Listeners of this episode will also learn some nuts and bolts about mortgages. Felton discusses some of the most popular types of mortgages and helps homebuyers learn how to evaluate if they would be a good fit. He talks about down payments and breaks down the fees and payments associated with a mortgage loan. He also goes over other lending terms that buyers should understand.Overall, Felton says potential buyers should take the time to find a home lending adviser who is a good fit. Feeling comfortable with your advisor—and being able to ask questions at every step of the process—can help you select the right mortgage product and ensure that you don’t fall into traps such as over-buying or over-extending your finances.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
Signing with an agent
Aug 17 2021
Signing with an agent
Having the right team of trusted advisers along with you on your homebuying journey is key. In this episode, host Nadeska Alexis chats with a potential first-time homebuyer who’s currently trying to select a real estate agent. Nadeska also brings in a veteran agent to provide expert advice on how to go about assembling a top-notch team to guide your own buying process.Nadeska first sits down with China Wheeler, a prospective buyer, to check in on how the process of selecting an agent can go. China is a single mom saving up to buy her first home in Arkansas. She is the first person in her family to buy a home. She’s nervous about choosing a real estate agent, because she feels like the odds are stacked against her as someone from a low-income family with no history of homeownership.After chatting with China, Nadeska brings up some of her questions and concerns with experienced agent Ryan Serhant. Ryan understands China’s nervousness and describes why it’s important for a first-time homebuyer to select a trusted group of advisors early on in the process. He notes that a team of advisors will help guide the process and describes the agent as the team captain. Filling out the team is a home lending advisor (a topic Nadeska covers in Episode 4) and any other people in the buyer’s orbit who can ground them throughout the process—that could be a partner or other family member, or even an acquaintance with homebuying experience.Ryan discusses the role of a real estate agent and talks about when exactly a homebuyer should begin looking for an agent. He also offers tips on where a prospective homebuyer can find a real estate agent and how you can prepare for conversations with potential agents. You’ll hear ideas for questions you can ask when evaluating agents, and you’ll get examples of qualities to look for as you search for a good fit.Once you’ve selected an agent, it’s helpful to know exactly what you should expect—and not expect—from your agent. Ryan breaks down the relationship and explains why you’ll want to enter the relationship with an understanding of how the communication is going to go throughout the process.The emotional stakes are high during the homebuying process, and Ryan describes some common pitfalls or mistakes people encounter when selecting an agent. He offers tips for dealing with conflict or disagreement if it arises. Overall, when you have a good team in place you can spend more time focusing on the home you want to buy and less time worrying about the process of buying it.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
Finding your dream home
Aug 17 2021
Finding your dream home
Prequalified for your mortgage and signed with a real estate agent? You’re ready for the fun (and hard!) part: finding your dream home. In this episode, host Nadeska Alexis sits down with recent homebuyers who discuss their complicated path to finding the right home—and then she brings in television personalities Drew and Jonathan Scott to offer an expert perspective on how to identify the kind of home that will fit both your short- and long-term lifestyle goals.Nadeska first talks with Lisa Greene, who just closed on her new home with her husband. They were actively home hunting in South Carolina and had relocated from Denver, living temporarily in Alabama. Because they weren’t living in the location where they were looking, they felt an added sense of urgency. And they had to either tour houses virtually or make a five-hour drive to tour in person. The couple didn’t want a new build, but they knew they couldn’t handle a true fixer upper, so they ended up looking for older homes that needed some updating. They wanted to be closer to their family in the South, and they were expecting that the lower cost of living would be reflected in their search. But, they explain to Nadeska, reality did not meet expectations and they found themselves being consistently outbid.Television personalities Drew and Jonathan are no strangers to the story of reality not matching expectations. In the second half of this episode, they sit down with Nadeska to offer tips and perspective on how prospective homeowners can answer questions such as What kind of home do I need? What kind of home do I want? What should I look for when touring houses? and What are some long-term considerations?The Scott brothers acknowledge that the homebuying process can be daunting, especially for those who have never gone through it. They offer listeners some ideas for how first-time homebuyers can prepare themselves and set realistic expectations. Early preparation, they share, will pay off in the long run. They suggest that homebuyers try to narrow down exactly how much they can afford and limit their searches to below that price range.The brothers also talk about short- and long-term considerations when buying a house. Knowing whether they are searching for a home they can grow into or one that is a right fit for today is an important factor. Thinking about longer-term considerations can help homebuyers prioritize features and amenities. Sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out which features are important to them versus which ones are important for resale value.Nadeska also asks about remodeling and fixing up older homes—a particular area of expertise for the Scott brothers, whose television show helps participants find​, buy, remodel, and transform extreme fixer-uppers into their ultimate dream. They have advice about the main considerations when looking at a fixer upper as well as the kinds of upgrades and repairs that tend to add to a home’s value. They also offer tips to help homebuyers make sure their fixer upper goals are reasonable—and have advice about how to identify what they can and can’t handle themselves.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
Making the offer!
Aug 17 2021
Making the offer!
Falling in love with your dream house feels wonderful—until you start to feel anxious about making an offer. How much should you offer? What about contingencies? How soon do you need to act? In this episode, host Nadeska Alexis talks with a woman who is feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of putting in an offer on a house in a hot real estate market. Nadeska gets many of her questions answered when she sits down later with real estate expert Matt Laricy.Tasha French Lemley has been renting from the same landlord in Nashville for 11 years. Her rental is in a great location at a low cost, but she and her husband have decided it’s time for them to buy their own home. The pandemic was a big factor; all of the uncertainty has made her want more security, and being home all the time while she’s working remotely has only added to that desire. Tasha and her husband tried to buy a home for sale by owner, which turned out to be a frustrating disappointment. At that point, prices had gone up considerably, and they weren’t prepared to put in truly competitive offers. Since then, they’ve had a couple of unsuccessful offers and have worked with two realtors. Now, they’re facing the potential that they’ll be priced out of their neighborhood. Tasha is feeling emotional about the process and unsure about putting higher offers in. Her main question is, how do you know when you’re too late to make an offer?To get answers for Tasha, her husband, and homebuyers everywhere, Nadeska turns to Matt Laricy, the Managing Broker for Americorp Real Estate and the head of his own team, Laricy. Matt specializes in all facets of the real estate business, including helping first-timers navigate the market. Matt understands that the process can feel intimidating. He also says it can move quickly, and the more prepared homebuyers are, the more likely they’ll be to put in a successful offer.Nadeska asks Matt to describe the process for first-time buyers, including what their first move should be once they’ve toured a home and love it. Listening to their conversation, you’ll learn how the process works as well as the kind of information you should have ready so you can quickly put in an offer. Matt describes tactics agents and buyers might use to make their offer more competitive.Since deciding to make an offer can be such a quick decision, Matt says it’s helpful to have strategies for avoiding emotional offers and ensuring you’re making an offer on a house you can actually afford. He also outlines the next steps after an offer is submitted, how to respond to a counteroffer, and what happens once an agreement is reached.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
Offer accepted! Now what?
Aug 17 2021
Offer accepted! Now what?
Congratulations, your offer was accepted! But there are still a few steps to take before you get those keys in hand. In this episode, host Nadeska Alexis talks with prospective buyers and a real estate expert to discuss what to expect when your offer is accepted, and what comes next.Andrew and Lauren Adams are based in Columbus, Ohio, with their one-year-old daughter. They paused their original search three years ago when an offer went sideways. Now, they’re looking in Upper Arlington, attracted by the school districts and proximity to downtown. They’re ready to make an offer if they find the right place, and they have a knowledgeable realtor on their team, but the market is extremely competitive. They’ve submitted a couple of unsuccessful offers. At this point, they feel like it’s getting harder to make a competitive offer, especially when they’re not sure who they’re up against.The Adams worry they might end up settling for the wrong house because they’re so sick of the process. They need insight into the kinds of concessions they could safely make to secure a house, and which things they should not negotiate on. They’re wondering about the outlook on the market: Are they buying at the peak of a bubble? Should they buy the most or least expensive house in the neighborhood? And can they add value later through renovations?Nadeska takes those questions to Matt Laricy, Managing Broker for Americorp Real Estate. She asks Matt to walk listeners through what happens when an agreement is reached, and what kinds of issues can come up when navigating next steps like a home inspection.Overall, Matt says buyers should strive to ensure that they’re not over-compromising on the things they want in a house, or getting in their own way with unrealistic expectations.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
Let’s close the deal
Aug 17 2021
Let’s close the deal
The closing process can feel complex and overwhelming. With so many important details to manage, many people choose to hire an attorney to counsel them through the legal process, and some states require it. For 29-year-old homebuyer Omar George, the closing process was frustrating and anything but smooth. He talks with Beginner to Buyer host Nadeska Alexis about his experience with closing on his first home—an apartment in Chicago.Omar didn’t grow up hearing about investments or homeownership, and he was cautious about the homebuying process. In talking about his perspective on becoming a homebuyer, he reveals that financial stability is a primary concern for him, and he is looking at his first home as more of an investment than a forever home. Omar tells Nadeska about his buying process, explaining the tactics his realtor recommended.In the second part of the show, Nadeska brings in Alexis Hart McDowell, a real estate attorney based in Chicago with sale, purchase, and community revitalization experience. Alexis provides a broad overview of the closing process, with tips for buyers to prepare for the big day. Besides explaining what needs to happen during closing, Alexis answers a few core questions many buyers have, such as Should I consult a lawyer during closing? What is escrow? What’s a title, and do I need title insurance? What should I bring to closing, and what exactly are all those forms I’ll be signing? What’s in all that fine print?Alexis explains closing costs and whether they can be negotiated, as well as other fees that might crop up. Learn about the HUD-1 settlement statement, a standard mortgage lending form used in the United States, and three things you should do before sitting down at the closing table. Finally, learn Alexis’s number one piece of advice for new homebuyers who might be feeling intimidated.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website
Congratulations, you’re a homeowner!
Aug 17 2021
Congratulations, you’re a homeowner!
The end of the homebuying process is just the kickoff to your homeownership journey. And, as new homeowner Amaya Gunasekera finds, the excitement comes along with some new questions—and new worries.Amaya was thrilled when she moved into her very own house in Greenville, SC, last summer. As a single person working full time, though, she has found it tedious to accomplish home improvement projects alone. On top of that, she has also run into a major problem with wiring that didn’t come up in her inspection. Amaya talks with Beginner to Buyer host Nadeska Alexis about these issues as well as building equity and budgeting for homeownership.In addition to financial issues, being a new homeowner brings a host of emotions. Amaya and Nadeska review her homebuying process, including why she decided to buy, what it means to her to be a homeowner, and her hopes and concerns as she looks forward. To finish up their discussion, they talk about the costs of being a homeowner as well as Amaya’s budgeting and saving goals.To help new homeowners get a handle on these things, Nadeska brings in two experts. Arielle Figueroa is back to share best practices for making a homeowner’s budget and explains some of the routine expenses a new homeowner should expect. She helps take the mystery out of property taxes and helps homeowners plan for the costs of routine maintenance. For those who belong to a homeowners association, she explains what these organizations do—and cost. And, as you get settled into your new place, what projects should you invest in first?Arielle also discusses equity, refinancing, renovations, and when is the right time to sell, as well as the benefits and costs of renting to a tenant. Listeners will come away with Arielle’s three priorities for first-time homeowners to keep in mind.Nadeska’s second guest is Amy Bonitatibus, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of Home Lending at Chase. Amy takes a deeper look at a new homeowner’s relationship with their home lending advisor after their purchase is complete and the services available to them. Many homebuyers featured on Beginner to Buyer have talked about building equity, and Amy discusses when is a good time to think about doing a renovation or improvement project. How can they prepare for and finance this kind of project?If you are, or soon will be, a new homeowner, you’ll find wisdom, reassurance, and sharp advice in this episode to get you ready for life under your very own roof.You can read the full episode transcript on the Chase Website