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Student Loan Debt Didn’t Stop These First-Time Homebuyers Thanks to Maryland SmartBuy

Homeownership is a game-changer for most people. For those with student loan debt, it can be a lost dream. In Maryland, a college graduate owes an average of $27,000 in debt. And in most cases, this keeps them from being able to buy a home until that debt is paid down or paid off, which can take years.

A Smart Option to Renting
SmartBuy is a nationally-recognized program assisting first-time homebuyers burdened with student debt. SmartBuy homebuyers are homeowners that were able to pay off student debt and purchase a home in Maryland through the program. They have seen a big difference in their quality of life as new homeowners and being student debt-free. Jake L., of Montgomery County, Maryland, was tired of renting. He started researching home financing options and didn’t know if his student loan debt of nearly $25,000 would hinder him from buying a home. He found a good team.

“My real estate agent and lender were great! They were transparent, on top of things, and very helpful through the process,” Jake said. He used a SmartBuy loan through one of Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s certified SmartBuy lenders.

Jake was able to pay off his student loan debt with a SmartBuy loan and move into his 2 bedrooms, 2 bath condominium last year.

“I could not have purchased a home without the SmartBuy program,” Jake said.

Jake advises potential homebuyers to use SmartBuy. “You have to do it. If you owe student loan debt, SmartBuy can help you buy a home. Buying a home builds equity and eliminates debt at the same time. Start planning now and contact a lender.”

Everyone’s Home
Another SmartBuy success story is Sarah N., who also purchased in Montgomery County. Sarah now has a home where she welcomes family members from far and wide. A native of Kenya, Sarah wanted a home for her big family events and celebrations. She had student loan debt and was concerned she couldn’t afford student loan payments and a mortgage payment. “I could afford my student debt loan payment of $750 per month, but I didn’t think I could afford a home mortgage payment as well,” she said.

So, she researched online looking for first-time homebuyer opportunities, hoping to find some good news. A real estate agent forwarded Sarah an article on SmartBuy. She ended up working with several agents before finding one that was a good fit for her, however. The agent she chose listened to her needs, including her need to stay in budget, and also helped her through the lender approval process.

Sarah had purchased a 3 bedroom, 1 ½ bath single-family home in 2017. She has entertained family and friends and looks forward to many more years of family celebrations in her new home.

She advises homebuyers to be patient, especially since closing can sometimes take more than thirty days. She also recommends reading all the documentation and requirements so homebuyers can be better prepared. She added that taking the homebuying counseling course online versus in a classroom was very helpful and convenient.

A Life Changer
Sarah said, “the Maryland SmartBuy program was absolutely the reason I was able to purchase a home. I would not have had the ability to purchase a home and stay in the area I wanted to live without SmartBuy.”

Jake adds, “SmartBuy had the power to change my life in a powerful way. It was absolutely vital to getting into my home. I would not have been able to do this, buy a home, right now without SmartBuy. Also, I am now working on going back to graduate school to continue to invest in my future.”

Last month, Governor Hogan announced that the popular Maryland SmartBuy program will expand on August 6. The limited-time expansion, called SmartBuy 2.0, allows participants to purchase any eligible home in the state while eliminating up to $30,000 in student debt. Currently, SmartBuy requires buyers to purchase select homes designated by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

If you have student loan debt, SmartBuy loans can make a difference in your homebuying experience. Contact a certified SmartBuy lender today to get started!