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Moya helps Latinos discover pride, joy of home ownership

Necesita ayuda para comprar una casa en Espaol?Llame a Quim Moya.Quim (rhymes with “team”) Moya, a partner-broker with Prudential Town & Country Realty in Carbondale, offers all of the services of a knowledgeable real estate broker. He also speaks fluent Spanish. Since joining Prudential six months ago, he has established himself as a Realtor for the valley’s growing Latino community.”There are other Realtors who speak Spanish,” said Moya. What sets him apart from the other Spanish-speaking agents in the area is his familiarity with the Latino culture.”It’s not enough to speak Spanish,” said Moya, a native of Spain. “You need to understand where these people are coming from.”Moya is a tall, slender gentleman with an easy and welcoming demeanor. His nearly indiscernible accent lies somewhere between Spanish and Italian, with possibly a hint of Russian.”The American dream to own a house definitely, for these people, plays an important role,” he said of Spanish-speaking immigrants. “If they own a home, they become more stable and take ownership in their community.”Since joining Prudential, Moya has closed on homes for 32 Spanish-speaking individuals and couples. Most were first-time buyers, he said, and most are from Mexico. A handful come from Central American countries, including El Salvador.There’s more to helping people buy a home than just translating language, he said. Completing a transaction involves coaching and counseling, and even bridging cultural gaps.”Most don’t understand the concept of buying a house,” Moya said.They left their homes because they had little money and little opportunity to make money. Purchasing land and a home in Mexico or Central America, where poverty is far more prevalent than in the United States, was never an option.The first thing they need to understand, he said, is that there are three requirements for purchasing a home: a good credit record, a down payment, and a steady and sufficient family income.When prospective buyers first hear all the steps they need to take before they can purchase a home, it’s very daunting to them, he said. His job is to take them through the process and help them learn along the way.Moya said most of his clients are hard-working couples with children. Between them, they often hold three to four jobs. They qualify as homeowners, but it takes work to prove that.Many Latinos have no concept of credit or debt-to-income ratios – the percentage of a household’s income that is required monthly to pay all debts, said Moya. Even the concept of signing a contract is quite foreign to many.Some, he said, believe when a contract is signed, the negotiations begin. He must explain that putting a signature on the contract is the end of negotiation.Many times, he said, prospective homeowners come to him believing they can buy a place in Carbondale. With prices averaging more than $270,000 for a single-family home and a little less for a townhouse, that is often impossible, he said. Many have to look to New Castle and beyond, where prices can be as much as $100,000 lower for a comparable home.The good news, said Moya, is that lending requirements have eased over the years. For now, interest rates are low, which keeps payments down. And while a 10 to 20 percent down payment was once the norm, qualifying buyers can now put as little as 2 percent or less down. Some of Moya’s first-time buyers have taken advantage of the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtor’s Affordable Housing Fund. The fund helps first-time home buyers with moderate incomes make a down payment or cover closing costs for homes from Parachute to El Jebel. Money comes primarily from interest paid on escrow accounts, donations, and an annual balloonfest fund-raiser.With so little down payment required, Moya said, it is much more important to have a good credit record.For buyers with no established credit, payment records from alternative sources, such as utility and insurance companies, can provide sufficient documentation that the borrower has an ability to make timely payments. Often, he said, because of language constraints, his clients need help in contacting those creditors and getting payment histories. “It all takes a lot of coaching, a lot of counseling,” said Moya of the process. “When they reach closing and they realize they own a house, it is very rewarding.” Latinos, he said, want very much to be a part of the community in which they live.”They want to make the United States their permanent country,” he said. Purchasing a home is one of the biggest steps toward that goal.Moya’s own journey from Spain to the Roaring Fork Valley has taken him throughout the world and to jobs in such diverse countries as Peru, Hungary, Canada and China.He lives in Carbondale with his wife, Sharon, a former Peace Corps volunteer. She is the English as a second language teacher at Basalt High School. Many times, he said, the couple discovers that he knows the parents and she knows the children.Moya was educated in animal sciences at the University of Florida and worked as a business manager for Ralston-Purina. His job took the family all around the world, including on ski vacations to Colorado.About six years ago, he said, he enrolled his daughter in Colorado Rocky Mountain School and purchased a vacation home in Carbondale. About two and a half years ago, the family made Carbondale their permanent home. It may not seem like it, but Moya actually retired.”Well,” he said with a smile, “I retired for, like, two days.”After looking for a job, he decided real estate was the thing to do and quickly obtained his license.By chance, he discovered the Spanish-speaking market and began to concentrate on it. He also welcomes Anglo clients, but places priority on his Latino clients. Moya served on the Asistencia para Latinos board before it closed its doors late last year. He is also an active board member for the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. “There is a very large Spanish-speaking minority in this area,” said Moya, “and they are here to stay. Any efforts to address the needs of these people, I think, are worthwhile.”Quim Moya can be reached at 963-5165. The Prudential office is located in the basement level of Alpine Bank of Carbondale.


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