The pre-purchase home ownership program has educated hundreds of people each year on the availability of a number of mortgage products and grants that allow home purchase with little or no money down. Through our services, people with no thought of ever having the opportunity to own a home, have fulfilled the American dream of home ownership. Homeownership is one of the most important steps any of us will ever take. Getting the most of your housing dollars requires some skill, some homework, some instinctive knowledge and professional help.
A qualified housing counselor will help you evaluate your credit, set up a budget, and discuss financing options and housing grant opportunities. Together, you will prepare a plan for accomplishing your goals. Counseling consists of meeting in person or over the telephone one-on-one with a counselor. The counselor will focus on the same subjects as in a workshop: credit readiness, affordability, down payment, working with a lender, working with a realtor, selecting a home, offers and closings, and home maintenance.
By the end of the counsel, you’ll be prepared to pursue home ownership and feel more confident about the entire home buying process. The session takes an average of 1 1/2 hours and includes a credit report analysis and a homebuyer education certificate at completion. This certificate is necessary to access many of the financial assistance programs.
Money isn’t the only thing to consider when you’re thinking about buying a home. Money is important, but remember, you are buying more than just a roof over your head. Consider also the psychological importance of creating a sense of stability and identity for yourself and for your children. Owning a home isn’t just the “American Dream.” It fulfills a basic human need for privacy, for independence, for self-sufficiency. Money alone doesn’t satisfy these needs, but owning a home can.
Homeownership can be a good investment opportunity. Homeownership offers a combination of advantages not found in the stock market, bonds, gold, and other investments. Homeownership offers leverage. It offers the possibility of appreciation in value. And unlike most other investments, you get to use this one while it’s working for you. Homeownership also offers financial security not available to renters. The price is set at the time of the sale, even though a home’s market value may increase. Renters on the other hand, face rising costs due to demand and inflation. Prospective buyers who save for a large down payment and wait for interest rates to drop may find that strategy can backfire. In the meantime, prices may go up and offset any savings in interest payments. For many, it’s cheaper to put 10 percent down than to delay a purchase.
Renting, while attractive for many families, does not protect you against rising occupancy prices. Rental units are just as susceptible as houses to rising tax, insurance, utility, and maintenance costs. The landlord will pass those added costs on to tenants – if not month by month, then as each lease is renewed. Landlords also are inclined to want to increase the profit on their investments and have tenants foot that cost as well. That’s one problem you don’t have to worry about as a homeowner.