Nonprofit Counseling: Protecting and Preserving a Vital Service to American Homeowners and the Finance Community

The past decade has taught us a great deal about housing loss and preservation. Many of us were personally affected, or know someone affected, by the 2007-08 economic downturn period our country experienced.

There have been several lessons learned. Most of all, we learned that too many U.S residents have too much debt and lack the necessary reserves to weather the slightest bump in their financial lives.

History will argue about what went wrong and who to blame. There were lots of mistakes but there were several good lessons. One was the reminder of the value and need for nonprofit housing advocates, educators and counselors.

We learned that homeowners and homebuyers who took advantage of homeownership, credit and financial literacy counseling fared far better during the housing and economic crisis and avoided foreclosure and delinquency more than homeowners who did not. We learned that pre-purchase education, credit and budgeting courses prevented many homebuyers from buying more than they could afford and taught them to avoid the pitfalls of over leveraging their home and excessive debt.
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Maintaining a Personal Connection With Your Clients

One lesson I’ve encountered in my tenure as a realtor is that learning to stay away from the shiny object syndrome is a big challenge. I’ve always admired technology and what it has done for my business and industry. I admit I am the agent who downloads every new application I can find and I love finding ways I can apply it to my business. Technology has made my life simpler in many ways, but I believe it has also taken some of the true essence of real estate away from us. We can communicate faster; we don’t have to drive documents around or even worse, fax them; we can instantly have all the information we need about a property at our fingertips; and we have numerous platforms to connect with the people we serve. However, everything comes with a cost. The cost is the threat of losing that personal, face to face connection with our clients.

Something on which I advise my team, and the agents I mentor and train, has always been preventing yourself from being replaced by technology. At the end of the day our clients need us for many things that technology cannot provide. My personal experience has taught me that clients, especially millennials, love using technology; they love being able to sign things digitally on their phone, look up schools in the area, browse homes in a neighborhood by using GPS and even utilize email and text to communicate while they are at work and can’t talk. What I have also learned is more than ever, people are longing for human connection, guidance and support. Believe it or not, millennials are craving this the most.
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SheCenter(FOLD): Marcia Davies

NAWRB: What is your favorite characteristic of Washington, D.C.? What sets the nation’s capital apart from other cities in which you’ve lived?

Marcia Davies: Washington is a beautiful city, with all of its historic landmarks and rich culture. We who live there sometimes don’t stop and really appreciate when we see a monument or the cherry blossoms in bloom, that it is unique and beautiful.

I think what really separates it is you definitely feel the political energy when you work in Washington. Sometimes it’s subtle and other times, like most recently with the inauguration, you feel it in everything, whether it’s your commute or how hard it is to get into a restaurant or make reservation. There is a real political vibe and energy. We know when Congress is in and when it’s going out. I really think that it makes it a dynamic place to live and work.

I have been privileged on several occasions to be in the White House, and not just see it during the holidays when the beautiful Christmas decorations are up. I’ve attended meetings in the Roosevelt Room and as I’m leaving I always stop before I get on the other side of the gate to take it in for a moment, thinking, “Wow, I was just in the White House.” Then in 10 minutes you’re back in your office. For a lot of people, that’s not a normal day. I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been able to do that on more than one occasion.

I can honestly say that when I was growing up I never thought I would be in a meeting, let alone more than one meeting, in the White House. And it happened.
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Introducing Women’s Homeownership Series: Rachel

Rachel, a single mother living in Hayward, California, enjoys spending time with her son, seeing friends, going to the movies and imagining her dream home. Her weekday morning routine consists of waking up at 6:30 a.m. to pack lunches, dropping Sam off at preschool by 7:30 a.m. and driving 15 minutes north to her job at the local high school.

Rachel loves her job, and she’s great at it; helping her students thrive in a daunting subject matter is incredibly rewarding. Her talent and dedication as an educator recently earned Rachel a job offer from a private San Francisco school. It’s a dream job, head of the mathematics department with the opportunity to create her own programs and curriculums.

During the interview, Rachel fell in love with the school and felt welcomed by the staff. Whether she wants the job isn’t the issue, it’s whether she can make it work.

Commuting to San Francisco from her home is out of the question. A two-hour commute would mean having to leave home before 5:00 a.m. and moving closer, perhaps to Oakland, still results in a commute exceeding an hour.

Despite earning more than the median weekly income of $1,049 for women with a bachelor’s degree or higher, Rachel’s salary doesn’t go very far in the City by the Bay. In fact, after rent, Sam’s preschool tuition is more than all her other bills combined.

Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco would run Rachel about $4,550 a month. Neighboring Oakland’s rent is much more affordable, but still averages a whopping $2,500 a month in addition to the commute. With rents averaging $3,330, Rachel wouldn’t even be able to afford downsizing to a one-bedroom in San Francisco.The difficulty in affording a move for her job is an unusual challenge for Rachel, a successful, independent person who has always earned her keep by the sweat on her brow. Her life has developed in line with her achievements. Now, though, Rachel’s efforts have landed her a dream job, but they cannot sustain the living expenses. The scale is tipped, the conditions imbalanced. She is qualified to teach students in San Francisco, but not capable of living in their city.

Rachel’s new salary—an attractive $60,071 a year—is a great increase from her current earnings; but still leaves her with less than $4,000 a month and makes a minimal dent in her projected living expenses. What does she do? What needs to change? What can change?

Let’s keep in mind that for a person seeking a move, Rachel is equipped well. She has a steady job, good credit, is a responsible mother and even has a job secured in her desired city. And yet, the obstacles facing her are powerful and pervasive. What would be the case for a person hoping to move without a good job or a great job offer? Would this feat be impossible and keep them perpetually stuck in their current location?

Being priced out of certain neighborhoods has been a reality for Americans. This is a difficult situation, but could she make it work if she really wanted to? There’s options. Possible options range from having a roommate, maybe two, asking someone to borrow money, even just making do and enduring a long commute to the city.

What if a person doesn’t have somebody to grant them the huge favor of lending money? Consider the impact commuting would have on Rachel’s quality of life. Spending hours driving every day to accommodate her job and rent. Having just a few moments to relax with Sam after her long commute rejuvenates the essence of being a working mother.

Rachel has put in the work, what does the future hold for her options?

2017: The Year of Women & Minorities

The housing ecosystem is evolving and we are witnessing circumstances to be more favorable for underrepresented groups than previously. Will 2017 continue this progression?

While low mortgage rates are undermined by high home prices, buying in southern metros is at times over 50 percent cheaper than renting, according to Trulia. Buyers in the West, where high rents often remain preferable to the rising home prices, face a tougher task.

Agents must recognize these conditions and the fact that international investment in U.S. real estate is expected to continue. In the first half of this year, Asian investors have invested $4.02 billion in New York real estate and $1.4 billion in San Francisco property alone, the top two most desired American destinations for their capital.

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The NAWRB Women’s Homeownership Initiative

Homeownership is a central part of the American dream, for most people, it is the American Dream. Owning a home connotes success and achievement.

As women progress in the workforce and receive the consideration and participation they have earned, it is essential to fortify their growth with strong economic foundations. Why is it important for women to become homeowners? Homeownership provides the financial security to safeguard women’s progress, and paves the way for future generations.

Women continue to face obstacles in their career paths, with a pervasive 27 percent gender wage gap and lack of advancement in hierarchy. This disparity significantly impacts women’s ability to incur savings and secure a home to call their own, as their paychecks don’t travel nearly as far as men’s.
There are encouraging facts, however. According to 2014 Census Bureau data, there are 18,057,000 female homeowners in the United States. Ten million live alone, 6.7 million live with relatives without a husband present and 1.3 million live in two-or-more person households.
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Women’s Homeownership Initiative (WHI)

Homeownership is a central part of the American dream, for most people, it is the American Dream. Owning a home connotes success and achievement.

As women progress in the workforce and receive the consideration and participation they have earned, it is essential to fortify their growth with strong economic foundations. Why is it important for women to become homeowners? Homeownership provides the financial security to safeguard women’s progress, and paves the way for future generations.

Women continue to face obstacles in their career paths, with a pervasive 27 percent gender wage gap and lack of advancement in hierarchy. This disparity significantly impacts women’s ability to incur savings and secure a home to call their own, as their paychecks don’t travel nearly as far as men’s.
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HISPANIC WOMEN ARE THE KEY TO HISPANIC BUYING POWER

As Hispanics continue to thrive—in education, career, resources, representation—their access to capital and buying power will increase accordingly and their purchases will have a significant impact on the economy, not the least of which will be the purchase of a home. It is crucial to learn the best ways to serve Hispanic homebuyers, not only to help them make the best purchases, but to ensure their growth is encouraged and safeguarded rather than delayed or prevented altogether.

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2015 there were 57 million Hispanics in the United States, accounting for 18 percent of the entire U.S. population; this is a grand increase from 1980 when this group comprised 6.5 percent of the population. In their 2014 population predictions, the Census Bureau estimates that the Hispanic population will more than double by 2060 to 119 million.
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