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Why I Created the Qualified Buyer Index (QBI)

After I started the nation’s first national down payment assistance program, The Nehemiah Program, prospective homebuyers would reach out to us directly to begin the home-buying process. Since we were just the down payment source and not the real estate agent or the lender, we would try to refer these prospects to participating agents or lenders across the country. Candidly, that didn’t go very well. Most of the prospects, lured by the hope of down payment assistance, had other qualifying challenges. Often, their credit scores or incomes were too low to qualify for the home they were seeking to purchase. Given this, agents and lenders asked us to please stop referring our prospects to them. They were getting tired of having to tell these hopeful people “No” and then being perceived as the bad guys. Unfortunately, this also meant that our prospects who could credit and income qualify and only needed down payment assistance did not get referred to real estate professionals who could have made the home-buying process much easier and faster for them. This experience inspired me to create the Qualified Buyer Index (QBI).

QBI is an app that allows a prospective homebuyer to self-assess their homebuyer readiness. QBI generates a three-digit number that reflects credit readiness, ability to purchase based on housing affordability, and information provided fundamental to the loan approval process. Prospective homebuyers who meet certain criteria are immediately directed to lenders or real estate agents who are QBI subscribers. Prospects who don’t meet baseline criteria are given suggestions on how to best move forward.

QBI benefits prospective homebuyers because it offers a free self-assessment of where they stand in the homebuying process. It benefits real estate agents and lenders because it helps manage prospect expectations while still allowing them to customize solutions, such as down payment assistance, to that prospect’s needs.

Perhaps what excites me the most about QBI is that it is designed to leave people better than where they started. Our goal is to leave as many people as possible with a clear roadmap to homeownership. If someone isn’t ready now, our mission is to help them understand what they need to do to become ready in the future. If they are ready now, our mission is to get them in contact with a real estate professional that can help them as soon as possible. We want to create both hope and help for thousands of Americans who are closing to homeownership than they think. This is why I am so passionate about QBI and the mission of making homeownership accessible to all. I believe that together we can make the dream of homeownership a reality for more people than ever before.

My hope is that through QBI, we can help reduce one of the largest barriers to entry into homeownership: lack of information. We want to give people the information they need in order to make the best decision for their financial future and empower them with the knowledge they need to make an informed choice.

In addition, we want to make sure that lenders and agents are getting high-quality leads that have been pre-qualified. This saves everyone time and energy, which is an important win for all involved.

Ultimately, our mission at QBI is to make homeownership more accessible to everyone by providing free access to information on the home buying process, pre-qualifying potential buyers, and connecting them with lenders and agents who can help them achieve their goals.


Don F. Harris


Don F. Harris is the Founder of The QBI Companies (Getqbi, LLC and QBI, LLC). Mr. Harris is a nationally-recognized social entrepreneur and innovator in the fields of housing and community development.

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