The Complete Package: Smart employee benefits now include homebuyer benefits

In a competitive job market, (Utah currently has a 3.5 percent unemployment rate), companies are coming up with creative ways to attract and keep employees. One of those innovative approaches is adding homebuyer benefits to their current employee benefits.

Should employers be stepping into this category? HR professionals certainly seem to think so. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management said, “employees who own their own home are less likely to call in sick, miss work, or job hop.”

Purchasing a home is among the top stressful experiences for employees. In most cases, it’s their single largest purchase with hundreds of thousands of dollars tied to the decision.

According to the MetLife Annual Study of Employee Benefit trends, 78 percent of employers report that employees are less productive at work when worrying about personal financial problems. And over 92 percent of Americans admit to losing sleep over financial worries. This is why Utah companies are teaming up with top real estate and mortgage professionals to create smart employee benefits that include homebuyer benefits to help eliminate stress when purchasing or refinancing a home.

With homebuyer benefits, employees have access to a dedicated team of professionals in the real estate and mortgage industries. The benefits provide training and one-on-one support through the home buying process. Your employees will receive advice when searching for a home, getting pre-approved for a loan, underwriting, processing and then receiving final funding. It provides employee discounts at closing, with home inspections, moving recommendations and more.

One of the best parts about homebuyer benefits is that they come at no or little cost to the employer. Depending on the customized level of the program, it is a complete value add for both the employee and employer. If you are a company trying to be competitive and want to attract and retain top talent, take a look at adding the homebuyer benefits program to your employee benefits.

How to reduce stress when buying a new home

As part of the homebuyer benefits program, here are a few quick tips for homebuyers:

Have an idea of what home you want
If you don’t know what you want, you’re going to spend a lot of time looking at houses that just don’t match your needs. Provide a little direction to your real estate agent so you can get to the finish line faster. (Things to take into consideration are the type of home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, neighborhood, distance to work, square footage, etc.)

Be flexible
Be open-minded and know that there is no such thing as a perfect house—unless you have the money, time and patience to design and construct one from the ground up. Prioritize your wants and determine which features you can or can’t live without.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan
Get pre-approved for a mortgage before bidding on houses. If you fall in love with a property, you want to be able to move forward as quickly as possible. Save yourself a lot of heartache and stress by putting all the financial pieces in place from the start.

Another way to avoid stress is to ease your path toward pre-approval. Keep all of your recent income records and bank statements on hand. Make sure to pay your bills on time. Pay down any debt, since lenders factor in your debt-to-income ratio when deciding to approve your application. However, while debt repayment is important, you shouldn’t sacrifice building a financial cushion in favor of it. Buying a house is expensive, and you’re going to need money in the bank for moving costs, fees, repairs, furniture and other related expenses.

Use an experienced real estate agent and loan officer
Sure, you can educate yourself on the buying process, but unless you have a background in real estate or loans, and are well versed in the local market, chances are they know a lot more than you. In other words, once you provide the destination, let your agent and loan officer help get you there!

David Bollard is the marketing public relations director for SecurityNational Mortgage Company. He can be reached at [email protected].