Conversations with Counselors: Homebuying Myths Debunked

Conversations with Counselors: Homebuying Myths Debunked

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NWWPA Welcomes New Housing Counselor
Conversations with Counselors: National Homeownership Month
Remembering Dolores Swartworth
New Website Coming Soon!
What's Next with NeighborWorks?

NWWPA Welcomes New Housing Counselor

George Burgardt joined the NWWPA team as a Housing & Financial Counselor in May 2019. A native of Northeast Ohio, George and his family moved to the Pittsburgh area in 2012, and have embraced the city, its people, sports teams, and restaurants. A graduate of the University of Akron, George earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Operations Management with minors in Finance and Human Resources. George brings with him 18+ years of experience as a mortgage loan officer, having coached hundreds of families through the homebuying process. George, his wife, and four daughters currently reside in Mars, PA. George loves to play golf, fish, cook, and listen to music. We welcome George to the NWWPA Team!

Conversations with Counselors:
Debunking Homebuying Myths

In honor of National Homeownership Month, we decided to ask our counselors to help debunk some common homeownership myths. We asked whether each of the following statements was true or false.

1. You need 20% down to buy a home.
Tammy: False! The more you put down, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be, but there are many reputable programs and lenders requiring much lower down payments - sometimes only 1% - for certain mortgage products, often at the same interest rate. 
George: Yes, this is false. Many lenders today offer programs with a much lower down payment than 20%. The key is to do your research!

2. You should be debt-free when you buy a home.
Tammy: False; you do not have to be debt free. It would be great, but for most people, it's just not realistic. Just because you have debt, do not let that stop you from pursuing homeownership! Lenders will consider your debt to income ratio, but if you have enough income to cover your debt as well as your housing costs, you can definitely purchase a home.
George: If you have a history of making monthly debt payments on time, that actually demonstrates to lenders that you're capable of managing debt effectively. 

3. It’s cheaper to own than rent. 
Tammy: True! In order to make a profit, most landlords charge rent payments that significantly exceed the owner's monthly mortgage payment. When you own, you are putting the money in your own pocket as equity as opposed to someone else’s. 
George: The tax benefits of ownership almost always outweigh renting, assuming that you are able to qualify for a low interest, fixed rate mortgage. 

4. A 30-year mortgage is always the best deal.
Tammy: This is false. Always compare a 15-year mortgage and a 30-year mortgage. For just a little more each month, you can cut 15 years off of your mortgage. Consider all the money you will be saving in interest!
George: A shorter term is best if the borrower can qualify and can afford the higher monthly payments. Over the life of the loan, a homeowner with a 30-year mortgage could pay more than $100,000 or more than a homeowner who took out a 15-year mortgage in the same amount. Regardless of the length of your mortgage, always look for a mortgage with a low fixed rate.

5. There will be other costs in addition to the down payment when you buy a home.
Tammy: True. There will be a few up front, out of pocket expenses for your home's appraisal and inspection and then you'll be responsible for closing costs. On average, buyers can expect to pay 2 to 5% of the home's purchase price in closing costs. 
George: There are always closing costs and upfront expenses. The good news is that there are many resources available to help first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs! 

Remembering Dolores Swartworth

Last month, we lost a longtime friend. Dolores "Dee" Swartworth, who served on the board of NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania for nearly 15 years, passed away on May 24th at age 88. She was an active member of the Fineview Citizens Council, a founding member of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, and a boy scout leader for many years. We are honored by her service to our organization. 

New Website Coming Soon!

This month, we are excited to announce that with the help of our Marketing team from TrailBlaze Creative that we will be launching our new website! The website will feature our new branding, designs, and colors, also shown here in this month's newsletter. We are also featuring our new slogan, Home Starts Here. Our website features photos and testimonials from many of our satisfied customers, and an easy online way to sign up for our workshops. Check back soon for more details!

What's Next with NeighborWorks?

Independence Day

Financial Wellness Workshop at Homewood Library
Homebuyer Education Workshop sponsored by PNC
Homebuyer Education Workshop sponsored by KeyBank

Financial Wellness Workshop at Homewood Library
Homebuyer Education Workshop sponsored by First Commonwealth

July 4th

July 9th

July 13th

July 20th

July 23rd

July 27th


For a list of all upcoming workshops, visit or call 412-281-9773

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