Find My Why.

Owning a home is powerful. Whether you’re seeking stability, growth, or inspiration homeownership can help. Explore our tools to find your motivation and the steps that will drive your forward.

find my why

Buying a home in this economy can feel impossible, but the benefits add up quick. Explore the many advantages homeownership brings you.

Smart Money

Smart Money.

Most Americans build wealth by owning their home. In fact, the average homeowner has $255,000 in wealth stashed away, but for renters it’s only $6,300. When you own, each monthly payment builds your personal wealth. And it also means that when the housing market heats up, you get the benefit of rising home values.

For Family

For Family.

The wealth that homeownership gives you creates options renters don’t have. You can retire on your terms, give your kids a leg up on college, or you can leave a nest egg for the next generation. And watching parents succeed gives children confidence later in life, which is especially important when 35% of Black Gen Z’ers and 50% of Hispanic Gen Z’ers say they think homeownership is “out of reach”.

Get Credit

Get Credit.

Homeowners tend to have better credit scores, which makes other major life purchases (like cars and college) cheaper. Two-thirds of homeowners have a credit score over 700, compared to just one-third of renters.

Own Your Creative

Own Your Creative.

Can’t paint the wall. Can’t hang art. Can’t light candles. Can’t play your music. Can’t plant a garden. Sound familiar? Jacob Lawrence said “all artists are constantly looking for something and they don’t always know what”; homeownership gives you room to find your something and control your space.

Flex Your Space.

Controlling your space isn’t only about how well your place meets today’s needs, it’s about how well your home adjusts with you as you grow through life. When you own, you can construct the future you want. Convert the home office into a nursery. Swap out the pizza oven for a carriage house. Show your empty nest energy by converting the kid’s room into a podcasting studio. These improvements can be impossible if you’ve got to clear them through a landlord, but ownership gives you power (and built up equity to pay for it).

Stop Shock

Stop Shock.

Since 2016, Franklin County’s rents have gone up $200 per month. Imagine locking in your payment for life and saving $2,400 a year. Over thirty years, you’d have saved $72,000. Where could you go and what could you do with that?

Build Community.

Homeownership isn’t just dollars and cents. Some owners feel a deeper connection to their community after buying. If your dreams include riding lawnmowers, community cookouts, neighborhood watch meetings, and DIY projects, homeownership might be your bliss.

Tax Perks

Tax Perks.

Tap a CPA to see how much you can deduct from your taxes by owning your own home. There’s a lot of extras out there: the mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, Ohio’s mortgage credit certificate, deductions for accessibility improvements, home office costs… the list goes on.

Reclaim History

Reclaim History.

America’s history of racism and prejudice in housing is painful. Many policies and programs were designed to segregate our community, divest in our neighborhoods, and hold people down. From redlining to urban renewal to the foreclosure crisis we demand accountability. Your personal journey to homeownership can be part of reclaiming that history.

Run the Numbers

Ready to see how much you can afford to buy? Play with Bloom's mortgage calculator to run your own numbers and see what's possible for you. Be sure to study up on all the down payment and assistance programs to be sure you're getting the full benefits you're entitled to.

To see how much money you could save by buying a home instead of renting, check out theEssentIQ Calculator from the private company Essent Mortgage Insurance.

Mortgage Calculator

Monthly Payment

Take the
Readiness Quiz

Being “ready” to buy a home means something different to everyone. There are many factors you may weigh in figuring out when the time is right for you. Take our readiness quiz to see how prepared you feel, and what you can do to jumpstart your journey.

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the Truth

It's true that buying a home can be complex. And when things get complex, facts often take a back seat to fiction. There too many myths that stop people from chasing their homeownership dream. Learn how to spot them, and how to beat them.

You need 20% down to buy a home

This is a myth that dates all the way back to the redlining era. While having a large down payment can help you go bigger, it’s just not required. Right now, the average down payment is only about 6% and plenty of tools can bring that lower or even zero it out. Check out some of Central Ohio’s down payment tools or connect with a housing counselor to see what is best for you.

There are no homes worth buying right now.

Columbus options are constantly changing with new homes coming and going all the time. But if all you’re looking at are free, public “marketplaces” (like Zillow or Trulia), you may only be seeing a slice of what’s happening. A real estate professional who knows how to navigate hot markets and can tap into other databases can help and see your full range of options.

You can’t buy a home if you’ve got student loans.

It’s absolutely possible to buy a home while paying down your student loans. 37% of first-time mortgage borrowers have student loans. Although lenders will review your debt and income to be sure you can pay your mortgage, the requirements around student loans vary by program. So, it’s best to talk to a lender or housing counselor to see what you’re eligible for before getting discouraged.

You can’t buy a home until you pay off credit cards.

Not true. Credit cards will affect your credit, so keeping up on payments and making sure your balance doesn’t get too large is important. But when lenders review your debt, they’re not looking for a zero-balance, just proof that you will be able to pay your mortgage. If you are worried about debt stalling your homeownership journey, consider starting with a credit counselor that can help you get on the right track.

A 700 credit score is non negotiable.

Your credit score is important, but the minimums change depending on the kind of loan you want. Those with a lower score may want to consider loans from the Federal Housing Administration (aka the FHA), which can be more forgiving of credit hiccups. There are lots of different loan types, and new programs emerging all the time, so it’s best to talk to a housing counselor to get a custom analysis. And if you need to boost your score or manage your debt, credit counselors can help you get positioned for success.

Mortgages are basically all the same.

Almost half of borrowers do not shop around for the best deal, and that’s a huge mistake. A study found that Columbus borrowers who shop around for a mortgage could save over $54,000 over the life of their loan. Freddie Mac recommends borrowers get quotes from three to five different banks, brokers, and credit unions to see a range of options. Shopping rates on the same day lets you get an apples-to-apples comparison, and shopping rates within a 45-day window makes sure there’s minimal effect on your credit.

It’s always cheaper to rent.

Your mortgage payment is just a big math problem. You can craft a monthly mortgage payment that’s less than your rent by finding a less expensive home, a better interest rate, or increasing your down payment, for example. It’s also important to remember that a mortgage gives you more control over cost increases that can be difficult to predict when you rent. And your mortgage payments build value for you, while rent payments build value for your landlord. Explore your options on our mortgage calculator now.

You can’t negotiate a mortgage loan.

When armed with multiple offers, you can ask your preferred lender to match another bank’s rate, waive fees, or discount closing costs. Just watch out for tradeoffs (getting a break on your interest rate might not be worth it if it also increases your fees). If you’re able to bring more money to the closing table, you can also discuss how an increased down payment could sweeten your loan terms. See some of the down payment programs working in Central Ohio.

Just shop the rate, nothing else matters.

The interest rate is important, but comparing fees and other terms is a smart move. That’s why comparing APR (Annual Percent Rate) is so helpful. The APR is like an interest rate but it also captures the cost of fees, discount points, prepaid interest, private mortgage insurance, and other charges. If this feels like new territory for you, housing counselors are always free to help you understand what’s the best deal for you and your family.

You should bust your budget to get what you want.

That’s risky. A well-made housing budget – where your monthly payment is 30% of your income or less – sets you up for long-term success and helps you weather whatever storm may come. Most buyers opt for a house with good bones that they can perfect over the years. For more adventurous buyers, there are renovation loans that let you buy your home and finance repairs at the same time. The Fannie Mae HomeStyle® Renovation loan, Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation loan, and FHA 203k loan are just a few options that let you renovate fixer-uppers that are often priced below the market. Remember, repair costs can be hard to predict and finding reliable contractors and managing the inspection process can be weighty, so working with a housing counselor in advance can help you feel in control.

You can always get a bad loan and refinance later.

Never get a loan that you can’t afford to live with until it’s paid off. When it comes to refinancing, there are too many variables that are beyond your control to make it worth risking your home and your credit. If you are weighing options that you worry aren’t sustainable, it’s time to talk to a housing counselor.

Support programs are only for poor borrowers.

There are lots of different programs that exist, with lots of different purposes. Some are to expand homeownership to households with lower incomes, but others are to help revitalize communities, incentivize certain activities, or correct past wrongs. The bottom line is: if you’re eligible and entitled to it, don’t leave money on the table. Find out what works for you.

Our Story.

Despite a rich cultural history of entrepreneurism, homeownership, and self-sustained success in Columbus’ Black and minority communities, homeownership is artificially suppressed by slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, restrictive covenants, redlining, urban renewal, exclusionary zoning, biased appraisals, and other prejudiced policies.

Bloom believes that we can amplify social courage and intensify audacious voices to change our future. Learn more about what propels us.

To reject this past, we must understand it.

We compiled the following resources to support bold thought-leadership in our community.