Planet Home Lending’s Andy Insua: Breaking Down Barriers–Empowering Hispanic Borrowers in Homeownership

Andy Insua

Andy Insua is Regional Sales Manager with Planet Home Lending.

One of the most important missions for today’s mortgage loan originators is empowering people and communities in the journey to achieving homeownership. To succeed in this effort, we need to recognize and address the unique challenges facing the Hispanic community, one of the largest and fastest-growing demographic groups in the country.

The number of Hispanic homeowners increased by 377,000 last year despite elevated interest rates and tight housing inventory, according to a recent report from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. That increase puts the national Hispanic homeownership rate at 49.5%. NAHREP expects this number to continue to increase as more young Latinos form new households. In 2023 alone, Latinos saw a net gain of 450,000 new households and were responsible for a quarter of overall U.S. household formation growth. Latino household income is on the rise, as well.

Understanding the Road to Homeownership

For some Hispanic borrowers, navigating the complex landscape of credit profiles and mortgage options can be daunting. Originators can play a pivotal role in demystifying this process by focusing on homebuyer education.

A critical first step is having a conversation about what affects their credit profiles. By offering insights into credit use, payment history and strategies for improvement, we empower borrowers to take proactive steps toward solid financial health.

Another step in the education process is introducing borrowers to low downpayment programs and down payment assistance (DPA) programs at the local, state and federal levels. By highlighting options tailored to their circumstances, such as FHA loans or state-specific assistance programs, originators can open doors to homeownership that may otherwise seem closed.

Making Homeownership Feasible Through Affordability

Affordability remains a significant concern for many Hispanic borrowers, especially in markets with rising property values. To address this challenge, loan originators can use innovative strategies to enhance affordability and maximize purchasing power.

Collaborating with real estate agents committed to serving diverse communities is critical. Aligning with professionals who understand the unique needs of Hispanic buyers can help ensure borrowers see housing options that match their budget and lifestyle preferences.

Having access to niche loan product can also help MLOs fully serve Hispanic homebuyers. Where affordability is an issue, purchase plus renovation, accessory dwelling unit (ADU) financing, and manufactured and modular home loans can be solutions. Buydown products can also reduce borrowers’ upfront costs. ITIN products serve recent immigrants.

Building Trust and Understanding Through a Cultural Connection

Educating borrowers and providing access to financing for affordable housing are only part of the toolkit required to gain trust in the Hispanic community. Cultural nuances play a significant role in the homebuying process. Establishing meaningful connections and fostering trust is essential to building a relationship leading to a positive customer experience 

Having bilingual support is a baseline feature originators should offer. Investing in bilingual loan officers who can effectively communicate with clients in their native language shows a commitment to meet borrowers where they are and to truly supporting their needs.  Having conversations in their native language helps to reduce language barriers and can build confidence with borrowers.

Another important cultural tradition is recognizing the importance of multigenerational households within the Hispanic community. Even though younger family members may be leading the homeownership search, it’s important to engage the entire family in the transaction. MLOs that have a solid understanding of the underwriting rules for co-borrowers, co-signers, ADUs, and border income are best positioned to serve the Hispanic community.

The commitment to increasing homeownership in the Hispanic community starts with a commitment to understand its unique needs, helping members navigate complexities and tailored home loan solutions. The road to homeownership is not always straightforward, which is why developing and nurturing client relationships is so very important. By addressing barriers related to homebuyer education, affordability and cultural connection, originators will truly serve this growing market. 

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policies of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Editor Michael Tucker or Editorial Manager Anneliese Mahoney.)