‘Ready, set, own!’ a new program to assist first time home buyers

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) By Maria Hechanova

There is a new free community program that will be geared toward helping first time home buyers, sponsored by Radian Group, Inc.   

The program is sponsored by Radian, a provider of private mortgage insurance, which enables homebuyers to purchase a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. Tucson was selected as the pilot city for the Ready, Set, Own! program, which may expand to additional communities across the United States.

Ready, Set, Own! brings together local housing, lending and credit counseling resources to develop a personalized plan for successful homeownership for those wanting to purchase a home. Participants in the free program will be paired with local credit counselors and mortgage lenders to create a team of three to work hand in hand on the road to homeownership. Guidance will include the qualification process, possible credit and debt issues and a down payment savings plan.

“Tucsonans considering buying a home need good information,” said Mayor Rothschild, in a release on Tuesday. “I’m very pleased that Tucson will be the first city to launch the Ready, Set, Own! homebuyer assistance program.”

“The American dream of owning a home is the cornerstone of vibrant, healthy and happy communities,” said S.A. Ibrahim, CEO of Radian, in the same release. “At Radian, our goal is to help people from all walks of life and all financial backgrounds to responsibly achieve that dream, but we know it isn’t always easy. Potential homebuyers sometimes need resources and guidance to help them on their way, and the Ready, Set, Own! campaign is designed to empower them with the knowledge and preparation they need to turn homeownership into a reality.”

“The decision to buy a home is one of the most important financial decisions a person can make,” said Ray Desmond, President and Founder of NOVA Home Loans. “We’re proud to serve as mentors for the Ready, Set, Own! program and believe this campaign will provide clarity and opportunity for anyone considering homeownership in Tucson. We know that by helping more people own their own homes, our entire community stands to gain as homeownership has been tied to significant economic, social and civic benefits.”

Tucson was selected by Radian, according to officials, due to the city’s being hit hard by the recent housing crisis; homeownership fell to less than 50 percent, a historic low for the area.  A long term goal of the program is to raise it to 55 percent, what it was before the crisis.  The national homeownership average is at 64.7 percent.

Ready Set Own is open to everyone; current partners include the Primavera Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Family Housing Resources, Chicanos por la Causa, Nova Home Loans and V.I.P. Mortgage; with endorsements from America’s Homeowner Alliance, Pepper Viner Homes, Keller Williams Realty, La Frontera Housing, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the Southern Chapter of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals and the Southern Arizona Mortgage Lenders Association.

Those interested in Ready, Set, Own! or those who would like to support the program through a partnership or endorsement can visit www.readysetowntucson.com to learn more and sign up.