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‘Exploring Homeownership’ Workshop Educates Potential Community Homeowners

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community HHS Prevention and Intervention Services, Housing Services and the Salt River Financial Services Institution present the “Pathways Home: Exploring Homeownership” workshop about every three months to Community members who are looking to build a home in the Community. The workshop explores homeownership and personal readiness, evaluating credit and financial preparedness.

Renting or Buying—Which Is Better?

There are pros and cons to both buying and renting. Some of the challenges renters face include landlords’ rules and restrictions regarding decorative changes to the rental, limiting how much the renter may personalize the place. Renters also have no stability with rent increases and possible evictions, which can occur unexpectedly, breaching the lease agreement and damaging your credit. Although renting is less costly than buying a home, in the long run a homeowner will benefit from paying for a home they will eventually own.

Owning your own home gives you the benefit of not having a landlord, a stable monthly housing cost with fixed-rate mortgage, and a sense of security and stability for your family. Although there are some challenges to owning your own home—such as maintenance and repair costs and a mortgage commitment for 30 years or longer—in the long run it will be worth owning your own home and having something you can pass on to your children.

Preparing to Become a Homeowner

Becoming a homeowner takes some time and preparation. Secure the land for your homesite through member-owned allotted land or making a request for tribal land by contacting the Community Development Department Realty Office.

Set up a meeting with SRFSI to start the home application process and one-on-one credit counseling to review your credit report. SRFSI will review your credit score and help you develop a plan to make any corrections needed if you have a low credit score. They also check for judgments, collection accounts, bankruptcies and late payments.

SRFSI will determine whether an applicant pays bills on time, what their outstanding debt is, how long they’ve been using credit and what type of credit accounts they have. Red flags include a less-than-good credit history, debt-to-income ratio over 41% and too many open credit cards. Once the credit history is reviewed, SRFSI will help applicants make a plan to improve their credit by educating the applicant on paying off their credit card bills and/or paying their bills on time. This will take some time, but the goal is to improve their credit.

Applicants are required to take a Homeownership Academy which prepares new homeowners; on saving money, home maintenance and repairs, and other issues homeowners have to deal with. Following the class, SRFSI will match the applicant’s savings for a down payment and closing costs on the new home up to a $5,000 match. After the class, applicants continue the homeownership process and go on to the development part of the process.

To start your path to homeownership, contact SRFSI at (480) 362-7600. For more SRPMIC Housing opportunities and homeownership education, contact the Community Tribal Housing Program at (480) 362-5720.