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Should You Get Homebuyer Counseling?


Homebuyer Counseling

If you are considering purchasing your first home (or even if it’s just been awhile since you last bought a home!), homebuyer counseling could bring big benefits to you and your family. That’s because it’s designed to walk buyers through the entire scope of purchasing a new home and discuss personal financial issues to ensure that buyers are both prepared and eligible for the purchase.

Although different counseling services have different programs, a typical homebuyer counselor will provide education and coaching, review your credit report and discuss ways to improve it, and talk about various financing options. The counselor will also help you to establish a home-buying strategy – all while helping you remain realistic about your budget.  

These counselors can also help you build a budget in the first place – by discussing the average cost of living in your area and bringing up other potential things you might not have thought of on your own. After all, many people forget about things that aren’t a consideration for renters, like the cost of home repairs or the cost of buying new appliances. Bottom line – many people want to move to a new city, but they don’t necessarily know about cost of living considerations and how they can affect their overall budget.

There are very few people who wouldn’t benefit from this service. In fact, a recent study found that those who get homebuyer counseling before purchasing their home were less likely to fall seriously delinquent on their mortgage. Lenders consider a loan that is 90 days past due seriously delinquent, and most experts consider these delinquencies to be the main cause of the housing market crash. Many experts believe that an increase in homebuyer counseling will prevent the housing market from crashing again. After all, the counseling will take an honest and in-depth look at your personal finances, so it can tell you if you can really afford to buy a home – and it can even predict whether you’ll be able to keep up with your mortgage payments.

But is this service really right for you?

Many repeat buyers who never had a problem with a previous mortgage assume that homebuyer counseling services are not relevant to them. However, things are different these days. Whether you’re a first time buyer or someone who has bought a few homes over the years, there is always a chance that you could lose your job, get divorced, get sick, or fall victim to some other unforeseen problem and fall behind on your payments. At least with some homebuyer counseling under your belt, you’ll have a better idea of what to do if the worst happens.

Although it’s unlikely that there will ever be a mandate for mandatory homebuyer counseling, all buyers should at least consider participating in this service before they dive in and buy their next home. The mortgage industry (and the government!) could save billions of dollars if people didn’t default on their home loans. On the consumer side, you could save yourself a lot of stress and heartache by being fully-prepared for all of the responsibilities that come when you purchase a new home and take on a new mortgage.  

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