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New American Funding helps first-time buyers become homeowners

Photo by Jason Lewis


The Ladera Heights branch assists people who believe that they do not qualify for home loans.

They will host a first-time homebuyer seminar on March 30.

By Blake Carter

Real estate can be intimidating to people who have never purchased a home.  Many life-long renters have the belief that their income may not be sufficient, they do not have a high enough credit score, or they do not have enough money saved up for a down payment to purchase a home.  Many people believe that their student debt prevents them from obtaining a home loan.

While these hurdles can make it difficult for a person to buy a home, New American Funding’s Ladera Heights branch is helping people overcome those issues.

“Some of our borrowers are apprehensive about borrowing because they think that you have to have a lot of money to buy a house,” said Melinda A. Harleaux, branch manager.  “We’re just trying to educate the community that that’s not the case.  We’re trying to let people know that these first-time homebuyer programs are available, because most people don’t know about it.”

New American Funding supports the National Association of Real Estate Broker’s goal of creating two million new African-American homeowners over the next five years.  

Harleaux recalled two women who benefited from the resources that New American Funding has.  One woman had health issues, which caused her to lose her home.  She was trying to figure out how to become a homebuyer again, and after attending a New American Funding seminar, she was assisted in purchasing a home.

Another woman was in her 50s, and she had never purchased a home.  She was living with a niece on a temporary basis, but she had to locate a new residence.  She qualified for a home loan slightly above $200,000, which would put a person in a less desirable part of the city.

“A couple of agents gave up on her, and they stopped calling her because she wasn’t the prime customer,” Harleaux said.  “I stayed with her, we worked through it, I found her another agent, and fate would have it that there was a new development in Carson.  One of the requirements for the developers was that a certain amount of units had to be set aside for low to moderate income people.  So she got the place, I gave her a silent second for $55,000, I gave her a grant for five percent of the loan amount, and we got her in.

“This place is beautiful.  It has granite countertops, it has a beautiful community room, it has a state of the art swimming pool.”

The woman was extremely thankful for the services that New American Funding provided.

“She said ‘I thank God for you, because you didn’t give up on me.  I never ever thought I could buy, and look where I am,’” Harleaux said.  “And she started crying because she was so grateful.  She spoke with so much passion, and that’s why I do what I do.  I don’t go after the jumbos (designed to finance luxury properties and homes), which I could because we are in Ladera Heights, but this is my niche.  My purpose is to help those who think that they cannot buy.”

Harleaux pointed out student debt can be worked around, as about 75 percent of her customers are dealing with student loans.  

While many renters may be saving up to live in a certain area, or until they feel that they make enough money to become a home buyer, Harleaux encourages people not to wait to become homeowners.

“This may not be your dream house, but this is to get your foot in the door so that you can get your dream house,” she said.  “Besides the financial benefits, the tax write-offs, and the equity that you accrue, it’s the personal things, the memories that matters the most.  And the legacy that you leave to your family and your kids.”

New American Funding is partnering with West Angeles Community Development Corporation to host a free seminar for first-time homebuyers on March 30.  People can learn how to buy a home with little to no down payment, steps to buying a home, grant and silent second programs, differences in FHA/VA and conventional loans, and the do’s and don’ts when buying a home.

The seminar starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at New American Funding’s office, located at 5120 Goldleaf Circle.  To RSVP for the event, or to find out about future seminars, contact Toni Carter at (310) 356-0406.  Contact New American Funding at (844) 869-3278, or visit their website at http://branch.newamericanfunding.com/laderaheights Find them on Facebook