#2013-13 Money matters: Helping New American homebuyers understand home financing in the U.S.

Never underestimate the buying power of multicultural homebuyers in the United States. By 2016, the national buying power is expected to grow 27.5 percent—to $14.7 trillion—while the Hispanic population’s financial strength in the U.S. is projected to increase 48.1 percent, to $1.6 trillion. People from other cultures come here with a different perspective on money. As a new home sales professional, you need to be aware of the differences so that you can help them understand the American way of making a major purchase, like a new home.

Borrowing. In a previous post, I explained that immigrants can be secretive when discussing their finances. They’re also not nearly as comfortable as we are with the concept of borrowing money. Asian people, for example, consider it shameful to owe money.  So, be sensitive to this fact when talking about mortgages Explain how buying a home and financing work in this country, and that borrowing is a normal part of the process.

Many new homebuyers—and not just from other countries, but also from America—do not realize their many choices when it comes to financing programs. You can make the process much easier by staying on top of any special financing packages available in your state so you can relay that information to your buyers.

Down Payment. Because some—maybe many—New Americans don’t trust banks, they stash large sums of money somewhere in their homes. This makes them vulnerable to robbery, so they’re not going to divulge any information to a new home sales professional. You might discover that they don’t want to tell you how much they’re prepared to give as a down payment. Rather than try to win this game of “kiss and tell”, give them an easier way to clue you in. Show them various options for down payments—10, 15, 20 percent, for example—and just let them select their preference.

You should also consider that they might be prepared for a cash purchase, or at least, a cash down payment.

Credit. Good, old American plastic is a way of life here in the States, but not so prevalent elsewhere. If your multicultural sales prospect doesn’t have a credit history, don’t count them out. Find a loan officer who understands these issues and knows how to handle them appropriately.

Korea has only recently discovered credit cards. If you’re working with a Korean homebuyer, they might not understand things like “Payment Due” dates, which could cause them to have some “late payment: black marks in their credit reports.

On the other hand, credit is rather easy to obtain in countries like Jamaica. These buyers may not fully grasp the necessity of following proper credit procedures, so you should help them realize this is not optional when buying a new home.

There’s tremendous opportunity for selling new homes to immigrant homebuyers, but you need to invest a little time to better understand who they are and what they need and want. Check out my ebook, New Home Sales Training: Selling New Homes In a Multicultural America” to give you the necessary insight into this niche.

Next: Good gifts for New American homebuyer clients

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