New translated real estate and lender documents will facilitate homebuying
When 900 real-estate professionals gathered for the third annual Asian Real Estate Association of America in Los Angeles last weekend, the air was filled with uncertainty. After all, the U.S., and especially California, is experiencing one of the most challenging real-estate markets in recent history.
But dozens of experts, including representatives from major lenders, the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae and real-estate advocacy groups, assured convention participants that there are ways to prosper in today’s market.
“Asian Americans in the real-estate industry need to create a strategic path for themselves to become better educated about opportunities out there,” said Jim Park, president of the AREAA. “For some, that may mean improving English language skills or increasing technical knowledge… for others it could mean getting into corporate listings or international real estate.”
As the largest national organization of pan-Asian American real-estate professionals, AREAA offered several workshops on ways to help homeowners and small-business people avoid foreclosure.
Non-profits such as the Los Angeles-based Korean Churches for Community Development, for example, have received federal funding to provide in-language counseling to those threatened with losing their homes negotiate better terms with lenders.
“The culture of shame and language barriers make the Asian American community particularly vulnerable in this housing crisis,” said Hyepin Im, KCCD president.
To reduce language barriers, AREAA recently announced a new partnership with Stewart Title Guaranty to make available to its 1,200 members Asian-language translations of key real-estate and lender documents. The translated documents will include affidavit of debts and liens, bill of sale, FIRPTA affidavit, quit claim deed, compliance agreement—refinance transaction and sale transaction—and HUD1.
AREAA Chairman Allen Chiang said he anticipates that translated documents will facilitate the homebuying experience for limited English proficient buyers and help buyers better understand how to avoid delinquencies and foreclosures.
Asian American homebuyers have on average the greatest median household income, median down payment, home purchase price, educational attainment (which predicts future income potential) and some of the lowest delinquency and foreclosure rates compared to other demographic groups, according to AREAA.
“Additionally, the Asian American population is growing at a rapid rate, and with average home purchase prices and loan sizes greater than any other population,” said Chiang. “However, language barriers are commonly cited by experts as one reason Asians trail other ethnic groups in homebuying and we are trying to close that gap.”
John Lee, AsianWeek real-estate columnist and a top San Francisco real-estate expert, shared this piece of advice on a panel about how to adapt and thrive in the current real estate market: “Just ignore the bad news you hear and focus on identifying really motivated buyers and sellers.”