From dashed hopes to ‘a home that feels right’
Minneapolis mom hurdles final homebuying barrier with a hand from a determined mortgage consultant and a closing cost credit.
In early 2022, Tracy Kaplan set a goal of buying her first house closer to family and work. Soon after, she was having a hard time getting her foot in the door. “Every time I put in an offer on a preexisting home, I was being outbid by huge amounts,” Kaplan said. So much so that she stopped taking her girls with her to open houses. “I didn’t want to get their hopes up.”
Kaplan and many other would-be homebuyers are finding themselves in a perfect storm of high inflation, low inventory, and rising mortgage rates. In fact, housing affordability has fallen to its lowest level since the Great Recession, according to an August 2022 report from the National Association of Home Builders, which used data from the Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.
So, when Kaplan got an opportunity to purchase a townhouse being built by a national builder, she jumped at the chance. As she moved through the homebuying process, she was under the impression that she had to use the builder’s financing.
Late on a Friday afternoon, she went to a Wells Fargo branch to make a deposit and mentioned to the banker that she was purchasing a home. The banker referred her to Autumn Gohman, a Wells Fargo home mortgage consultant.
“The closing cost credit was what I needed to get into this house.” – Tracy Kaplan, Homeowner
“Autumn was life-changing for me,” Kaplan said.
“This is one of my most heartfelt stories,” Gohman said. “Tracy had gone through a divorce. It was a very emotional experience for her. I said, ‘Let’s see how we can get you the best deal.’”
Working by phone with Kaplan in the evenings after her kids were in bed, Gohman saw that Kaplan qualified for a lower down payment amount, lower interest rate, and lower mortgage insurance premiums through the Wells Fargo Dream. Plan. Home.℠ mortgage, which added up to a more affordable monthly mortgage payment.
And she qualified for a closing cost credit, which was more than what she would have gotten as a credit from the builder.
“The closing cost credit was what I needed to get into this house,” Kaplan said. “That amount is huge, especially for a single-income family. It could have been the deal-breaker right there.”
The closing cost credit is one of many steps Wells Fargo is taking to drive economic growth and increase sustainable homeownership and neighborhood stability. “We believe that everyone should have access to quality affordable housing, and that is why we are tackling this problem from every angle,” said Kristy Fercho, head of Wells Fargo Home Lending.
Pristine carpet, an extra bedroom, and a weight lifted
By summer, Kaplan and her kids were exploring the park across the street and meeting neighbors, with plenty of time to get ready for the first day of school. “I can’t believe I’m in a brand new home,” Kaplan said. “No one has walked on this carpet. And when we’re cuddling on the couch, I know this home feels right.”
The girls have their own bedrooms. “It’s a weight off my shoulders. I’m more relaxed, and the kids can sense that,” she said.
Kaplan has some advice for homeowners-to-be: “Do a lot of research, ask questions, and don’t just settle.”
Taking aim at a key barrier to homeownership
Nonrecurring closing costs, such as appraisal fees, processing fees, title-related fees, recording fees, and city, county, or state tax stamps, are often overlooked by buyers.
The Wells Fargo Dream. Plan. Home.℠ closing cost credit may be an option.
- Up to $5,000 toward nonrecurring closing costs
- For borrowers with a combined income of up to 80% of the median family income in select counties in 18 markets across the US.
- May be combined with other Wells Fargo-approved down payment assistance programs and gift funds
A home mortgage consultant is available to discuss your options with you. Find one near you.