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Homebuyers workshop shares tips for first-timers

LANSING, Ill. (September 15, 2023) – Signature Realty Services hosted a pop-up event at the Lansing Public Library to discuss the best practices, guides, and resources for home-buying. The event was held on Wednesday, September 13 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

The two-hour seminar focused on the real estate market in Lansing, Flossmoor, and Homewood; credit education; and the process of applying for a mortgage loan.

Providing info to homebuyers

Kisha Wells, real estate agent and local resident, wants to give back to the community by supplying potential homebuyers with essential information to help them purchase their first home. She received her real estate license in 2016, after purchasing her first home.

“When I was a first-time homebuyer I did not have [a lot] of information,” Wells said. “I went into the process and figured it out as I went along.”

“I want to help other people to know what to expect as their walking into the process so that it will be easier and less stressful,” she continued.

Wells believes that most people purchase their first home “for freedom” from all the rules and regulations that are associated with renting.

According to Wells, important factors to consider when looking for a first home are:

  • What is your budget?
  • Will this be your forever home?
  • Does the property need repairs?
  • What is the size of your family?
  • Are you looking to grow your family in the future?
  • How long would you like your commute time to be?

Kelly Martin, a homeowner in Lansing, attended the event because she is interested in buying a second home.

“[The seminar] was very informative,” Martin said. “They had enough people to discuss various aspects needed to make an educated decision for buying a house.”

Wells partnered with experts from Wealthy Minds Tax Services in Burbank and The Money Store in Naperville to speak at the event.

Diamond Donley, owner of Wealthy Minds Tax Services, discussed the importance of credit scores, how credit bureaus determine your credit score and helpful tips to increase your score.

Donley gave the following information:

Credit bureaus determine credit scores using the following factors —

  • 35% payment history
  • 30% amounts owed
  • 15% length of credit history
  • 10% new credit inquires
  • 10% credit mix

Helpful tips to increase your credit score include:

  • Paying your bills on time is a major factor in credit scoring
  • Longer credit history makes you more trusted as a borrow
  • Only apply for credit when you really need it
  • It is important to not use all of your available credit

Mike Kerrigan, mortgage lender at The Money Store, advised attendees on how to apply for a home loan.

“Income, credit, assets, and savings are the top three criteria for purchasing a home,” said Kerrigan.

According to Kerrigan, the following are important to do before applying for a mortgage loan:

  • Obtain a copy of your credit report
  • Pay off debt before applying for a mortgage
  • Save for the down payment and closing cost
  • Create a housing budget based off of your annual income
  • Compare lenders to find the one that fits your needs
  • Apply for a pre-approval

A giveaway was hosted at the end of the event to give one attendee the opportunity to win a prize. The winner won an Amazon Echo.

Lansing currently has 49 active real estate listings, according to Wells.

The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue.

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Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.