Closing costs in New York state are high, so you can imagine that coming up with the money for first-time buyers is a challenge. That was a problem the New York State Association of REALTORS® identified several years ago, and it took steps to do something about it by creating the NYSAR Foundation and its first-time homebuyer program.
Now, several years later, the NYSAR Foundation has helped more than 70 households become first-time buyers, and that has increased business for the association’s members.
What’s more, the Foundation did it in a way that maximizes the use of every dollar in assistance that it receives. As NYSAR CEO Duncan MacKenzie says, “For every dollar that we get in, we put a dollar back out, and we think that’s a proper way to do it.”
If you’re interested in creating a first-time buyer program in your local area or state, I’m sure the folks at the NYSAR Foundation would be happy to share with you how their program works. You can also get some ideas in the 3-minute video above. There, Foundation leaders talk about why they started the Foundation, some of the program’s operational details, and how REALTORS® in the state like the program. (They like it a lot.)
NAR’s a program partner, too. It contributed $130,000 in funds that NYSAR is using to provide some of the closing cost help. The funds came through NAR’s Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants program. Those grants have ended, but NAR still offers funding through its Housing Opportunity Program, which is a competitive grant program that NAR makes available every year.
You can learn more about applying for that money by sending an e-mail to Wendy Penn of NAR at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a program for state or local associations, so the application has to come from your association.
Other associations have used NAR HOP grants in their programs. Here are videos on how the Fredericksburg, Va., Springfield, Mass., and Charlotte, N.C., associations of REALTORS® structured their programs: