Rocket Mortgage offers $2,500 for Detroit homebuyers

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Rocket Mortgage is offering $2,500 in lender credits to homebuyers purchasing a primary residence in Detroit, the mortgage giant of Rocket Companies Inc. said Monday.

The program is a part of a new "Detroit Home Loan+" initiative seeking to provide wraparound resources to Detroit residents who are looking to buy a home in the city regardless of the stage they are at in the process, according to the company. That includes assistance for those in areas where it may be difficult to obtain banking services. Credit counseling and homebuyer education also is available.

Rocket Mortgage is offering a $2,500 closing cost credit to Detroit homebuyers as a part of its new Detroit Home Loan+ program.

"Detroit has a huge history of homeownership," said Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Rocket Community Fund, Rocket's nonprofit arm supporting the program. "It’s only over the past few years we’ve moved from a majority homeownership city to a majority rental city. We have a real belief and standing in homeownership and building wealth through homeownership. It’s really providing pathways for all residents to be able to experience that stability."

The $2,500 is a closing cost credit. It's available to current Detroit residents and those moving into the city. Rocket Mortgage will apply the credit to eligible mortgages, which include conventional, Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs loans.

"A down payment can be an obstacle to homeownership," said Bill Banfield, Rocket's executive vice president of capital markets. "We can contribute $2,500 toward those closing costs for those that are eligible and get them ready to go, and they can keep more money in their pocket ... if something happens to the house."

But what Rocket has found through other initiatives that help to renovate homes and provide tax assistance to residents is that many have common obstacles to being ready to own a home, Grannemann said.

That's why Rocket Mortgage also is partnering with Mobility Capital Finance Inc. — the Black-owned FinTech company based in New York City doing business as MoCaFi — to work with Detroiters who do not have a bank account or need to boost their credit score.

"We believe offering Detroit residents strong banking and credit fundamentals," MoCaFi CEO Wole Coaxum said in a statement, "will create a better path to purchasing a home and getting the stability and equity that comes with it.”

Rocket Mortgage will connect Detroiters in need of additional support with the Detroit Housing Network — a conglomerate of six Detroit-based nonprofits providing housing services for renters, homebuyers and homeowners from trained specialists.

"This program," Dana Arrington — director of homeownership and sales of CHN Housing Partners, administrators of the Detroit Housing Network — said in a statement, "will help Detroiters find the right resources to create a path to homeownership, build equity and unlock the generational wealth that comes with homeownership.”

The program is more of a business initiative than a philanthropic one, Grannemann said. Rocket chairman Dan Gilbert earlier this year pledged to invest $500 million into the city of Detroit over the next decade.

This latest program may lead to an increase in loan preapproval denials, but that's OK, Banfield said: "It’s not a bad thing. It means we can help them get ready and take advantage of the programs that are available."

What Rocket Mortgage learns from the deployment of the program in Detroit, it hopes to be able to use to offer the initiative in other communities, as well.

To learn more about the Detroit Home Loan+ program, Detroit homebuyers can go to the Rocket Mortgage app, visit RocketMortgage.com/Detroit or call 800-291-1488.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble