Yvonne Aileen (YvonneAileenRealty.com) is a 20-year real estate broker with a passion for expanding homeownership opportunities for those who want it. It all started with a beach walk while living on Maui for two years: Yvonne noticed some trash near the entrance and was placing it in a bin when a voice behind her said, “Thank you.” She turned to see a car parked at the entrance that had in it two people: a man and a woman, each in their seats, blankets pulled up to their chins, and all of their worldly possessions in the back seat behind them. They were locals; they had slept in their car, they lived in their car, and yet half the homes on Maui were empty 10 months out of the year. That’s when Yvonne began to educate herself on buyer-friendly loan programs for low- and moderate-income people. She connected with financing experts, attended affordable housing summits, and finally decided to write a book about it to help more people. That book is How to Buy a House.
Q: What is your book about, and why did you write it?
A: Look, I’ve been a real estate broker for almost 20 years. I’m a writer, and frankly I never wanted to get into real estate. I started in the field by publishing and selling a marketing newsletter for real estate agents locally. A few years later I tried to take it national and thought getting my license would help me market the newsletter. I got my license in 2003 and then the market took off like a rocket. I thought, “Wow, I’m really good at this!” But it was mostly the market. I’ve learned so much and I’ve lived through the bubble bursting in 2007-2008 and I survived. The reason I’m still here is that I love is helping people. And I’ve found that there are a lot of naive buyers out there–and what they don’t know can hurt them.
Q: For instance …?
A: Well, financing, for one thing. There are two issues I’ve found. The first is, a lot of would-be buyers don’t think they’ll qualify because one lender turned them down. But a lender can only offer what that financial institution has on its books. There are many programs for first-time buyers that help with their down payment, credit issues, and even one loan program that they can qualify for with a sub-600-point credit score. One program offers a 50% discount on a home for buyers in certain career fields. So there’s that: They take the first no for an answer. The other issue in financing that’s almost as bad is that they may take the first YES for an answer. Loans and lenders are not created equal, and a mistake her can cost many thousands of dollars–and if they get into the wrong program, such as an adjustable rate mortgage that ratchets up too quickly–this can even lead to them losing their home. In this book, I show buyers how to find the right lender and the right loan.
Q: Okay, what are some other issues that buyers need to know?
A: How to select a buyer’s agent to work with — no buyer should be unrepresented, and because the seller generally pays the brokerage fee, there’s no reason to go without an agent. Negotiation strategies. How to create an offer putting their best foot forward (and it’s not always about price). How to negotiate repairs. How to protect themselves throughout the whole process. I wrote this book like I was writing it for my best friend.
Q: That’s a great way to put it. Is it only for first-time homebuyers?
A: Not at all. It’s for anyone who wants to save money and hassle buying their next home.