By Charlestien Harris
Thanks to low mortgage interest rates, for some buyers this is the perfect time to think about purchasing a home. The best time to take a homebuyer education class is when you are starting to consider buying a home, not after you’ve already signed on the dotted line.
Many lenders require home purchasers to take an eight hour homebuyer education class. Often the buyer doesn’t know about this requirement until about a week or two before they get to the closing and find out it is a necessary part of this final process. This leaves the home purchaser scrambling trying to find a homebuyer education class to complete before they can close their loan.
Education helps you learn about the entire home-buying process and make wise choices about one of the largest purchases you may ever make in your lifetime. Home Buyer Education is usually an eight-hour course that educates a potential buyer on the critical steps of the home buying process including topics such as: Are you ready to buy a home, Managing your money, Understanding credit, Obtaining a mortgage loan, Shopping for a home and Keeping your home once you have purchased it.
Enrolling in a homebuyer education class is a good start for any first-time homebuyer. Research conducted by HUD suggest that when potential homeowners have access to homebuyer education course content they are more likely to understand the overall purchase process better and are more likely to take a closer look at their finances and their ability to retain ownership after the purchase. It also suggests that the participant could improve or at least familiarize themselves with mortgage terminology, may increase communication with lender, improve their underwriting qualifications and would be more likely to ask for assistance when or if they should fall behind with the mortgage.
Access to these classes was fairly easy before the pandemic but the crisis may have made it more difficult to find one before you go to your closing. The in person options may be very limited because of the coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing requirements for large group meetings, so you may find the online option more appealing right now.
Southern Bancorp has partnered with eHome America which offers a viable online option. eHome America’s signature Homebuyer Education course is a certified web-based program for prospective first-time homebuyers. This outstanding course creates knowledgeable and default-resilient buyers ready for a lifetime of homeownership. Easily accessible through any device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can learn the ins and outs by taking the comprehensive, fun and engaging course at your own pace.
Our agency partners have varying hours for follow up (if required), so if that is a concern for you, please verify with them before registering. If homeownership is your goal, eHome America will help get you there. The class does have a $99 fee and requires registration. Once you select your agency and you complete the course you will be instructed to contact a housing counselor and then the certificate of completion will be issued.
For more information or to enroll in the course visit www.ehomeamerica.org/southernpartners. Once completed, Vida Fielder is the HUD certified housing counselor you’ll need to contact for SBCP. She can be reached at 870-816-1126. The certificate you receive will expire two years from the date issued.
You can also go to www.hud.gov to get a list of HUD-approved counseling agencies by state, contact information and the services each agency offers. Until next week, stay financially fit!