Partner Spotlight: Qualen Carter of HomeStreet Bank

May 16, 2016 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

PCRI has been working with valued partner Qualen Carter, loan officer at HomeStreet Bank, since 2014. He has helped many of PCRI Homeownership Program clients to find appropriate home financing, guiding them through the complexities of the mortgage lending process with a level of care that is distinctly unusual in his field.

IMG_3370Qualen is a tireless and resolute advocate for first-time homebuyers; his approach to his work is rooted in his deep commitment to his community, and in his belief that opportunities for homeownership should be made accessible to all. He says that most of all he wants his clients to know homeownership is for them. That message is particularly meant for African Americans, who have historically been denied the opportunity to own homes through exclusion from the mainstream mortgage market, redlining, predatory lending practices, and other forms of discrimination. As an African American loan officer, Qualen knows that it’s powerfully important for clients of color to see him — someone who reflects their identity, someone who is intimately familiar with their community — in order to gain a sense of recognition, and a degree of confidence that they will be welcomed and understood.

New Homeowner 003Qualen’s mission-driven approach runs counter to the profit-driven business model that governs much of the financial sector. He highlights what he sees as the huge disparity that exists in the industry based on a borrower’s income — whereas financial institutions ‘roll out the red carpet’ for wealthy buyers (in terms of lower interest rates, more leniency around requirements for debt-to-income ratios, and more), moderate-income buyers struggle to find affordable products. While Qualen shares that he’s had to take some losses in order to do his work with the level of care and integrity this is his trademark, the opportunity to help families get into their first home is well worth it. Qualen cobbles together all possible resources in order to make a loan work for clients, utilizing programs like the Mortgage Credit Certificate, Oregon Bond, Down Payment Assistance Loans and Individual Development Accounts (the second two are available through PCRI). If there was ever a doubt, he wants his clients to know that he’s “grinding just as much as they are” — he’s prepared to advocate and work hard on behalf of deserving first-time homebuyers.

Wondering how you might get started on the road to first-time homeownership? Qualen leaves us with some expert advice:

  • Get prepared. The importance of having a budget (that you actually follow!) and a regular savings practice cannot be overstated. They are the building blocks of successful and sustainable homeownership. Connect with a homeownership counselor (come see Ted, our Homeownership Program Coordinator here at PCRI!) to evaluate your readiness before meeting with the folks who are trying to sell you something.
  • Ask questions. It’s important to have a full and clear understanding of the home purchase process, so that you can know what to expect from each individual or institution with which you interact. The more questions you ask, the better. No amount of information is too much information when closing a loan.
  • Work with people you trust. Find a counselor, realtor, and lender that is available to you and who is transparent with information. You want to be sure that the professionals in your corner will advocate for you and prioritize your best interests.
  • Take your time. Now might not be the right time for you to buy a home — and that’s okay! Take the time you need to get your budget right, to build or repair your credit, and to accumulate some savings. Take the time you need to get yourself in the best possible position to buy — it will be worth the wait!

 

Qualen’s passion for working with first-time homebuyers, his deep commitment to his community, and his true industry expertise make him an invaluable partner to our organization and the individuals and families that we serve in our Homeownership Program. We are proud to partner with Qualen, and grateful for his work.

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