IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington hosted a first-time homeowner’s summit at city hall on Saturday, May 6 to encourage residents to apply and buy their first home.
The Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation, M&T Bank, the Department of Economic Development, the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America and other corporate representatives were in attendance during the event.
“It is always a good time to buy a home,” Madison Frazier, Real Estate Attorney, said during the summit. “Both rent and mortgage are currently between $2,700 and $3,500 if you are a first-time homebuyer, and you build equity and credit when you purchase a home.”
The summit’s aim was not only to educate residents on the benefits of homeownership, but to inspire some residents to stop renting and start owning property. In order to start building credit and earn disposable income through equity that they would build through owning property for multiple years.
“When you buy a home, you are making a long-term investment that will pay off,” Benjamin Codjoe, vice president of sales at M&T Bank, said during the summit. “Equity is the amount that your home is worth subtracted from how much you owe in total mortgage.”
M&T Bank’s business model is based on multicultural banking that reflects the communities that they operate in. Attracting and retaining diverse clients, from people of color, multilingual people and immigrants to those with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. M&T has driven projects to reinvest and give back to local communities and has prioritized diversity, equity and inclusion in their banking practices to build a large client base.
“First-time home buyers are able to use grants when they apply through M&T Bank,” Codjoe said. “Buyers should seek out every grant that is out there, they can be specific to the city that you live in. M&T offers $7,500 for buyers in this region, we also work with non-profits that offer anywhere between $10-30,000 to help you buy you home.”
Attorneys were also present during the summit to discuss their role in the home buying and ownership process for first-time owners.
“Buyers definitely need an attorney when purchasing a home,” said Darcey Thompson, an attorney, at the summit. “An attorney’s whole purpose is to protect your interests, if you do not have an attorney, you do not know what interests needs to be protected or what changes need to be made. There is something wrong with every single home and attorneys are prepared to negotiate on your behalf.”
The concept of overspending also came up at the summit, where individuals would also buy a car in addition to their home. To warn against this, Greg Hargrave, executive director of NACA, spoke to residents about how this has affected previous clients that he has worked with.
“Car payments limit your capacity to afford a bigger and better home,” Greg Hargrave, executive director of NACA, said at the summit. “Some clients that I have had decided to buy a car before buying the home, and the $600 car payment reduced their spending power to $200,000, even if they could afford a $3-400,000 home.”
After the Q&A portion of the summit, many residents spoke to Hargrave and Codjoe to sign their applications to begin the process of home ownership. Others enjoyed food and refreshments that were offered by the township.