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Ready, Set, Own!, a new community program created to help more people become homeowners, was announced at a press conference featuring executives from Radian Guaranty Inc., Tucson, Ariz. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and the local housing, credit counseling and lending community. Ready, Set, Own! was designed to assist potential homeowners by providing them with the information and resources they need to begin the path toward sustainable and responsible homeownership. The program is sponsored by Radian, a provider of private mortgage insurance, which enables homebuyers to purchase a home with less than a 20 percent downpayment. Tucson was selected as the pilot city for the Ready, Set, Own! program, which may expand to additional communities across the United States.
Ready, Set, Own! brings together local housing, lending and credit counseling resources to develop a personalized plan that results in successful homeownership for anyone wishing to buy a home. The all-encompassing approach is open to everyone, regardless of financial status, and is entirely free.
As a key component of the program, Ready, Set, Own! participants will be paired with local credit counselors and mortgage lenders to create a mutually supportive team of three who work together on the individual’s step-by-step plan toward homeownership. These co-mentors and strategic guides will provide assistance with the qualifications process, credit and debt issues and establishing a downpayment savings plan.
"Tucsonans considering buying a home need good information," said Mayor Rothschild. "I'm very pleased that Tucson will be the first city to launch the Ready, Set, Own! homebuyer assistance program."
“The American dream of owning a home is the cornerstone of vibrant, healthy and happy communities,” said S.A. Ibrahim, CEO of Radian. “At Radian, our goal is to help people from all walks of life and all financial backgrounds to responsibly achieve that dream, but we know it isn’t always easy. Potential homebuyers sometimes need resources and guidance to help them on their way, and the Ready, Set, Own! campaign is designed to empower them with the knowledge and preparation they need to turn homeownership into a reality.”
Radian selected Tucson for this program because it was a market hit particularly hard by the housing crisis, with the homeownership rate falling to a recent historic low of less than 50 percent. The long-term goal of the program is to restore the local homeownership rate to 55 percent, the level it was averaging shortly before the recession. The national homeownership rate, by comparison, currently sits at 64.7 percent.
“The decision to buy a home is one of the most important financial decisions a person can make,” said Ray Desmond, president and founder of NOVA Home Loans. “We’re proud to serve as mentors for the Ready, Set, Own! program and believe this campaign will provide clarity and opportunity for anyone considering homeownership in Tucson. We know that by helping more people own their own homes, our entire community stands to gain as homeownership has been tied to significant economic, social and civic benefits.”
Ready, Set, Own! is open to any and all national, state and local organizations, businesses, groups or even individuals who want to support the program and give help to potential homeowners in Tucson. Current Ready Set Own! partners include the Primavera Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Family Housing Resources, Chicanos por la Causa, Nova Home Loans and V.I.P. Mortgage.
In addition to support from Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and the City of Tucson, Ready, Set, Own! has also received endorsements from: America’s Homeowner Alliance, Pepper Viner Homes, Keller Williams Realty, La Frontera Housing, NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals, the Southern Chapter of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Professionals and the Southern Arizona Mortgage Lenders Association.