Many mortgage incentives and programs require first-time homebuyers to take a HUD-approved housing pre-purchase counseling course. Be sure to check with the particular program to find out about requirements and restrictions. Visit the Maryland Mortgage Program website or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a list of HUD-approved agencies in Maryland.
- Home buying readiness
- Managing your money
- Understanding credit
- Getting a mortgage loan
- Shopping for a home
- Keeping your home and managing your finances
Facts and Fiction About Homebuyer Education
Pre-purchase housing counseling can help homebuyers become eligible for various financial benefits.
True. Housing counselors have specialized knowledge of down payment and closing cost assistance programs based on income, geography, and employment. Counselors may have additional information about below-market mortgage and fixed-rate loans.
Housing counselors can help clients with credit repair.
True. Housing counselors are professionally trained in financial coaching and they do not have a financial interest in your housing transaction. Realtors may know about credit from their experience in home sales, but their primary role is in buying and selling real estate.
Having counseling AFTER you have signed a real estate contract is just as valuable as pre-contract.
False. If your goal is to buy a home, it’s ideal to see a counselor before you sign a contract. There is far much less benefit to counseling once you have picked a Realtor, lender, and a house. The earlier you work with a counselor, the better the results will likely be.
Housing counseling is for low-income people who need help with budgeting.
False. Housing counseling is for everyone. The most successful people are those who are open to learning and working with a trained professional to make sure that they have invested in their own education before completing such a big financial transaction. Housing counselors can help introduce you to the local market and help you understand what your rights and responsibilities are before making a commitment.