BECU Turns Members’ Home Ownership Dreams into a Reality
August 23, 2021
For the past 15 years, BECU has made it possible for members to realize an essential part of the American Dream: owning a home. The credit union has taken the hurdles of purchasing a home and turned them into a helping hand for more than 500 individual homebuyers annually through its Home Rewards Program.
Members in the market for a new home can self-enroll in the program on the BECU website. Once enrolled, BECU pairs members with a certified real estate agent and a BECU Member Advocate – a home-buying team – who offer support like information about the mortgage loan process, different types of loans, and other financial questions. The real estate agent works with members to find and negotiate for their dream home in their desired location.
Members who sign up for the Home Rewards Program receive 20% back of their agent’s commission – and if they both buy and sell with that agent, they receive 20% of both commissions. According to Kitty Rich, BECU’s Senior Business Development Manager – Mortgage, the program has helped nearly 4,500 members since 2012.
“Generally, the average is $1 million per year that BECU gives back to members — and that’s just on our Home Rewards Program. If the member is a first-time home buyer, they can also apply for the First-Time Homebuyer Grant and use both programs,” Rich said.
BECU rolled out the First-Time Homebuyer Grant in 2018, and since that time, the grant has provided approximately $5.5 million to members purchasing their first home. The biggest hurdle for most first-time homebuyers is finding the money for the down payment. This program eases that burden by allowing eligible buyers to come up with only 1% of the down payment instead of the typical 3-5%. Another plus is that the buyer’s 1% contribution can be gifted from a relative.
“This is a true grant program, and the amount never has to be repaid,” said Rich. “We have a lot of members who utilize the programs in tandem. We’re able to help them with the down payment and then, after closing, members can replenish the savings account that they used to buy the home.”
If members don’t quite qualify for the grant program, BECU offers financial education and credit and debt counseling to help those members get their credit where it needs to be to get them into a home of their own.
During the first half of 2021 alone, the Home Rewards and First-Time Homebuyer Grant programs have helped BECU return $1.7 million to its members.
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