If you’re a first-time homebuyer, there may be a lot about the homebuying process that you are unfamiliar with. You also have a lot to consider:
- You want a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.
- You have to choose the right lender.
- You want to negotiate the best terms for a mortgage.
The truth of the matter is getting through the homebuying process can be downright overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. A first-time homebuyer course can arm you with the information you need to make the best decisions. Not only that, but it may be able to help you qualify for lower mortgage rates and downpayment assistance too.
- What is a homebuyer education course?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) came up with course content that would be most helpful to homebuyers. HomeFree-USA and other non-profit organizations across the country offer the courses. Most courses also follow the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling – a set of guidelines for homeownership and counseling services.
While some courses are designed for those who are seeking to become homeowners for the first time, others can guide you through the homebuying process if you’re re-entering the housing market after suffering from a financial setback.
These classes will let you know about some of the costs that come with homeownership, and will help you know what to expect throughout the homebuying process. Some topics that might be covered include:
- How to know when you’re ready to move from renting to owning
- Pros and cons of owning a home
- What to look for in a lender
- Steps you should take to apply for a mortgage
- How to plan for maintenance and other costs
- How to budget and manage your credit
These classes come in various formats, including online, one-on-one phone sessions and in-person courses.
- How homebuyer education works
While there are certain elements you can expect from a first-time homebuyer course, there may be minor differences depending on where you take it. Here are the answers to some common questions about first-time homebuying courses and what to expect:
- Must I take a first-time homebuyer class?
While there is no rule that says you must take a first-time homebuyer class to buy a house, you may be required to take a course if you want to be eligible for a particular program or to receive funds that can be applied to your downpayment. Lenders want to make sure you have the financial education you need to not only buy your house but to keep it. For example, HomeFree-USA’s approved eHome course lets you earn a lender-required homebuyer certificate that can be used to qualify for downpayment assistance.
- How long does a first-time homebuyer seminar take?
You can complete many online classes at your own pace so if you’re busy you can take a course in your spare time. However, in most cases, you don’t have to invest a lot of time when taking a first-time homebuyer class. Some even take place within a single day.
In addition to taking a course, you may spend a few hours receiving additional counseling and guidance, and working with a Homeownership Advisor to create a detailed action plan that will work for your particular situation.
Continuous counseling can be particularly helpful because it gives homebuyers an ally who can help them get through the entire homebuying process.
- Why should I take a first-time homebuyer course?
While qualifying for special programs that can save you money is a great reason to take a first-time homebuyer course, there are other benefits to doing so.
- You can increase your confidence. Some people find the homebuying process very intimidating because there is a lot of information that they are unfamiliar with. By taking a first-time homebuying course, you will know what to expect from the process and you may feel more comfortable dealing with lenders and other real estate professionals.
- You can identify more favorable loans. Unfortunately, there are lenders who will take advantage of a consumer’s lack of knowledge about the homebuying process and will offer them unfavorable loans. For example, the higher the interest rate you get, the more money you will spend over time. A first-time homebuyer course can teach you about different types of mortgages and help you identify the best type of loan for your particular situation.
- How to find a homebuyer education course
HomeFree-USA offers classes and one-on-one guidance to help renters learn everything they need to do to become successful homeowners. If you’re ready to stop renting and become a homeowner, schedule a free consultation with HomeFree-USA and sign up for a first-time homebuyer course. You’ll have the education you need to control your financial destiny.