Posts by Katie Claflin
Katie Claflin is the Director of Communications & Development for TSAHC, where she is responsible for writing grant proposals and marketing materials to help grow TSAHC’s housing programs. She also administers TSAHC's Texas Foundations Fund program, which supports home repairs and supportive housing services provided to very low-income Texans. Katie earned a B.A in History from Hendrix College and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. She can be reached at 512.334.2152 or via email.
December 14, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
Rental housing affordability continues to get worse. These are the general findings of two high profile reports we’ve covered in past On the House entries. A new Freddie Mac study confirms the findings of these reports, but the scope and methodology of this study are a little different.
November 3, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
Much attention has been paid to millennials’ attitudes toward homeownership. However, an article published by CNBC in August argues that it’s actually baby boomers—not millennials—that are having the greatest impact on the current housing market.
September 15, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
For this week’s blog post, we have compiled a list of resources that can help Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey find temporary shelter or rental housing, file an insurance claim, postpone their mortgage payment, or find employment.
August 11, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
Housing affordability is generally measured as a percentage of income spent on housing costs. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a household is considered cost-burdened if it spends more than 30% of its income on housing. But Joe Cortwright, Director of City Observatory, argues that traditional measures of affordability do not consider other related costs, particularly transportation, when calculating whether a household’s housing is affordable.
July 21, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
This week we are spotlighting James Matias, Manager of Asset Oversight and Compliance at TSAHC. James has more than 13 years of experience in the housing industry and just celebrated his fifth anniversary at TSAHC this spring.
June 16, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
GOVERNING magazine reports that most major metro areas in Texas are experiencing gentrification. As housing prices in Texas increase, community leaders are scrambling to find solutions to protect long-term residents without undermining growth.
June 2, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
June is National Homeownership Month, and we want to take this opportunity to educate first-time buyers about our Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program, which can save you up to $2,000 every year on your income taxes and put more of your hard-earned money back into your pocket.
May 5, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
Now is the time of year that Texas homeowners receive their 2017 property tax appraisal from their county. The appraisal lists what you’ll owe in property taxes at the end of the year, based on the value of your home.
April 7, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
On Monday, April 3rd TSAHC implemented several enhancements to our home buyer programs. These changes will make it easier for even more low and moderate-income home buyers to qualify for down payment assistance grants and mortgage credit certificates through TSAHC.
March 3, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
Spring is officially around the corner, and the changing seasons can often bring storms, some of them severe. Storms can turn your backyard into a mud pit and wreck your morning commute but they can also cause severe damage to your home.
February 10, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
You’re getting married—congratulations! Like many couples, you may be thinking about starting your life together in a home of your own. In fact, according to a study conducted by Coldwell Banker, 35% of Americans purchased their first home together within two years of getting married.
February 3, 2017 | by Katie Claflin
The number of single women buying homes is on the rise. According to data collected by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), single women now make up 17% of all home buyers, while single men represent a mere 7%.
November 18, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
For this week's blog post, we would like to share the stories of San Juanita and Pete Ortiz, and Charlee Ross and her son Jonathan, two families who were able to access critical, live changing services thanks to TSAHC's Texas Foundations Fund program.
October 21, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
This week we are featuring Kathy Tyler, Housing Services Director of Motivation, Education and Training, Inc. (MET). Kathy has spent 17 years with MET and has played a critical role in helping the organization grow its housing services for farm worker families.
September 16, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
Do you want to buy a home, but you're worried you don't have enough for the down payment? For this blog post, we want to focus on a valuable savings resource for home buying hopefuls—matched savings programs.
September 2, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
One of the most exciting things about buying a home is that you can make it your own. From the paint colors to the floor plan, owning a home gives you the ability to customize everything to fit your specific wants and needs. As an added benefit, many improvements add value to your home, helping you protect and grow your investment.
August 12, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
Health experts and policy makers have known that housing conditions can have a big impact on residents' health and well-being. But in recent years, researchers have focused not only on the connection between physical health and housing, but specifically on the role that housing concerns can have on residents’ mental health.
August 5, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
Owning a home is one of the primary ways that many families ensure their housing stability while also building wealth for the future. But for homeowners saddled with too much mortgage debt, the American dream of homeownership can become a nightmare that threatens their credit and financial future. A 2015 report by the Center for American Progress found that, nearly 10 years after the housing crisis, more than 7 million Americans are still underwater on their mortgage loans (defined as owing more than their home is worth).
July 15, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
Nationwide, the lack of down payment has long been the primary obstacle keeping families and individuals from becoming homeowners. In fact, Zillow issued a press release in November 2015 reporting that up to 13 percent of home purchases were only made possible through a down payment gift or loan from a friend or family member. But as we reported in a blog post last month, there's a new obstacle holding potential buyers back: the lack of entry-level homes on the market.
June 24, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
There’s a housing shortage in Texas, and it’s affecting younger, first-time and lower-income buyers the most. That’s because, although there are fewer homes available to buyers at all income levels, it's starter homes that are in the shortest supply.
June 10, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
It may be easier than you think! There are several misconceptions about down payment assistance programs, including the belief that programs are only available for first-time home buyers and that programs aren’t available in your community. But the truth is there are many programs available, so you may be eligible for assistance without even realizing it.
May 20, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
June is National Homeownership Month, and to celebrate, TSAHC is hosting free webinars every Wednesday in June to help Texas families and individuals navigate the home buying process. Do you want to buy a home this summer or at some point in the future? Here are five reasons you should sign up for one of our webinars.
May 6, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
For many people, buying a home can be a better financial option than renting. However, a recent survey conducted by Braun Research on behalf of Bank of America found that the financial benefits are not the primary factor motivating first-time home buyers. Instead it’s the emotional benefits of owning a home that are attracting younger adults to homeownership.
April 15, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
For this week's blog post, we have interviewed Bobby Calvillo, Executive Director of Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc. (AHSTI). AHSTI is a nonprofit homeownership organization dedicated to improving substandard housing conditions in South Texas and helping prospective home buyers achieve their dream of homeownership at a price they can afford.
April 1, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
For most people, housing is their single largest expense every month. Imagine if you could eliminate that expense heading into retirement while still guaranteeing a roof over your head. That might be possible, if you own instead of rent a home.
March 18, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
You've probably heard that ordering a home inspection is a critical part of the home buying process, but did you know that inspections can be very useful for existing homeowners too? A licensed home inspector can provide both buyers and homeowners with an unbiased report of a property’s condition to inform them about health and safety issues and other defects that affect the value of a property.
February 22, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
Last week, TSAHC's Board of Directors approved publishing a draft of the 2016 Texas Foundations Fund Guidelines for public comment. With the 2016 application round right around the corner, we would like to share two more inspiring success stories submitted by our nonprofit partners.
January 22, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
If your 2016 New Year’s resolution is to buy a home, Realtor.com®’s #1 recommendation is to start the process early in the year. Buying a home can be a very complicated process, so TSAHC has created a checklist to help you determine if you are ready to buy a home.
January 8, 2016 | by Katie Claflin
Whether your goal is to buy a home, improve your financial management skills, decrease your debt, or increase your savings, nonprofit housing and financial counselors can be a great resource to help you make progress toward your goal in the New Year. For this week’s blog post, we want to help you navigate the different types of counseling and find the one that's right for you.
December 4, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
The holidays can be an expensive time of year. According to a survey conducted by the American Research Group, the average American plans to spend $882 in gifts alone this holiday season. If you are trying to buy a home, the additional expenses can derail your plans to save for the down payment. Fortunately, there are smartphone applications (apps) for almost everything these days, including managing your money.
October 9, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
For this week's blog post, we interviewed Paige Omohundro, TSAHC's Homeownership Finance Manager. Paige oversees our down payment assistance and other home buyer programs, helping thousands of Texas families become homeowners each year. Under her tenure, TSAHC has expanded the options we provide to help meet the varying needs of Texas home buyers.
September 18, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Last week TSAHC's Board of Directors approved the 2015 Texas Foundations Fund grant awards. For this week's blog post, we would like to share the stories of Ida and Willy, who were able to improve their lives thanks to the Texas Foundations Fund. We look forward to partnering with our 2015 grantees to help families and individuals achieve similar successes in the coming year.
September 4, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
As parents of school-age children know, teachers play a critical role in not only educating children, but preparing them to become productive members of society. But rising home prices have left many Texas teachers unable to buy a home in their district, forcing them to move further out where home prices are cheaper.
August 21, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Texas state law provides rental housing tenants with basic rights to help ensure their health, safety and security and to protect them from discrimination. Knowing these rights can help tenants identify if their rights have been violated and, if necessary, take action to defend themselves.
July 31, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
The Pew Research Center estimates that in 2015 millennials (defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34) will surpass baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. By the end of the year, there will be a projected 75.3 million millennials in America, compared with 74.9 million baby boomers.
July 17, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
In May 2015 the National Low Income Housing Coalition released its annual Out of Reach report, which calculates the hourly wage a household needs to earn to afford a modest market rate apartment. The 2015 report finds that the hourly wage needed to afford a two bedroom apartment is $19.35/hour, which is more than 2.5 times the current minimum wage.
June 1, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
June is National Homeownership Month, and to celebrate, TSAHC is doing a special blog series every Monday in June. To kick off our home buyer blog series, we have created a short video to share the story of Ann and Doug Foxworth, a visually-impaired couple who purchased a home using our down payment assistance programs.
May 15, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Your credit score can affect more than just your ability to qualify for a loan. Even if you’re not in the market for a home, a new car or a credit card, if you have bad credit, you could see some unexpected consequences impacting other aspects of your life.
May 1, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
For many of us, buying a home is the most important financial investment that we will ever make. But the recent housing crisis has left many people wondering if buying a home is still an effective tool for people to save money and generate wealth for the future. The answer is ‘yes,’ according to recent studies.
April 24, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
In 2004 the U.S. Senate established April as National Financial Literacy Month in an attempt to encourage Americans to be more proactive about their financial health and establish good financial habits. To emphasize the ongoing importance of financial literacy, we want to share some alarming statistics about the current financial health of Texas families and individuals.
April 17, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
For this week's blog post, we have interviewed David Danenfelzer, TSAHC's Development Finance Manager. Dave has been with TSAHC for more than eight years and has played an instrumental role in expanding the programs and financing options we provide to local housing developers.
April 10, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Texas property taxes are among the highest in the nation; however, Texas law does provide some relief by allowing a variety of partial or total property tax exemptions. If you purchased a home in 2014, the deadline to file your exemption application is April 30th.
April 3, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
On April 11, 1968 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968—otherwise known as the Fair Housing Act. This historic legislation expanded on previous laws to prohibit housing discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, and (as amended) handicap and family status. To commemorate the passing of the Fair Housing Act, the month of April has been designated as Fair Housing Month.
March 27, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
You’ve decided to buy a home—congratulations! But which type of home should you buy? The choices seem endless. Should you buy a newly built home in a brand new neighborhood or an existing home in an older, established neighborhood? TSAHC staff has done some research to help you make your decision.
March 20, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
In its recent study The Rise of the Renter Nation, the national Homes for All campaign reports that there are currently 43 million rental households in the United States and that nearly half of these households are paying more than they can afford toward their rent.
March 13, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
For many families, there are financial benefits to owning a home, including tax deductions and building wealth through home equity. But did you know that there are social and economic benefits to owning a home as well?
March 6, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
As the baby boomer generation gets older, the number of senior citizens is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years. In the midst of this unprecedented growth, a Harvard University study has identified four housing- related challenges commonly encountered by senior citizens.
February 27, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Are you thinking of buying a home this year? If so, there are some significant income tax benefits that you should be aware of. Depending on your income, mortgage size and filing status, these benefits can reduce your federal income taxes by thousands of dollars each year.
February 6, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Next week TSAHC's Board of Directors will meet to consider and approve publishing a draft of the 2015 Texas Foundations Fund Guidelines for public comment. With the 2015 application round right around the corner, we wanted share a couple of inspiring success stories submitted by two of our recent awardees.
January 30, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
Researchers have long studied the links between decent, affordable housing and health outcomes for families and children. While some of the links may seem obvious—such as reduced exposure to allergens and environmental toxins—there are others that are harder to quantify.
January 23, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
According to a 2014 CNN Money article, the American student loan debt balance has risen to 1.1 trillion dollars, with the debt for a graduate under 30 averaging $21,000. What affect will this debt have on millennials' ability to purchase a home?
January 16, 2015 | by Katie Claflin
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced significant changes to increase homeownership rates and bring first-time home buyers out of the shadows and back into the home-buying market.
December 19, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
Homeowners who have built a substantial amount of equity in their homes may be eligible to refinance their mortgage loan and cash out some of their equity. While cash-out refinances can provide homeowners with quick cash when they need it, there are significant risks that each homeowner needs to consider when deciding whether to dip in to the equity in their home.
December 12, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
Housing costs have increased dramatically over the past decade, leaving many Americans struggling to keep up. Millions of households nationwide have resorted to moving in with a friend or relative to split rent or mortgage payments, resulting in the loss of 5.4 million households nationwide since the year 2000. As the housing market recovers, these doubled-up households will begin looking for a new place to live.
December 5, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
Stricter credit requirements, rising home prices and stagnant wages can make it more difficult for families and individuals to qualify for a mortgage right now. As a result, some consumers may want to consider a rent-to-own contract in which they can apply their rent payment toward the purchase of their home. While there are advantages to this type of contract, there are also some significant risks.
November 7, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 is Veterans Day. According to the most recent US Census data, there are more than 1.6 million veterans currently living in Texas, and that number could increase as soldiers return from wars that are winding down. These brave men and women whose job is to protect our country need access to programs and services that can help them fully participate in the communities they worked to protect.
October 31, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
The month of October has been designated as Texas Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month. In honor of this important month, we have decided to focus this week's blog post on important rules and regulations that help ensure that Texans with disabilities have the opportunity to live in housing that is safe, accessible and affordable.
October 24, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
On Thursday, October 16th the Rio Grande Valley Partnership (RGVP) Chamber of Commerce hosted its 27th annual golf tournament. TSAHC's Texas Foundations Fund program was selected as the nonprofit beneficiary of this year's tournament. Thank you RGVP for your support!
October 17, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
Each year we strive to grow our Texas Foundations Fund so we can assist more low-income Texans; however, we know many more families need help. For this blog post, we want to call attention to other funding sources that support similar critical housing services.
October 10, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
In its August National Foreclosure Report, the financial research firm CoreLogic reported that Texas’ foreclosure inventory (defined as the percentage of homes currently in the foreclosure process) is 0.7%, down from 1.0% a year ago.
September 12, 2014 | by Katie Claflin
Taking good photographs at different stages of construction is an excellent way to demonstrate the quality of your work to clients, funders, and other important community stakeholders. For this week’s blog post, TSAHC staff members David Danenfelzer and Charlie Leal have done some research and put together 12 tips for getting great photos of your homes.