Ask the Experts: How Do Homebuyer Workshops Help?
Why it’s worth your time to sign up for a course if you’re a first-time buyer.
I noticed that you offer courses for first-time homebuyers. How does that course help me? What will I get out of it?
An expert answer from Maria Gaitan and Realtor® Donnie Witherspoon
They tell them specifically what they need to do to qualify for a loan and then what they need to do to get into a home – for example, get a home inspection, get a survey, get an appraisal.
When individuals come to our workshops they get to hear from industry experts. At the end of the workshop they receive a certificate of completion, which is necessary for some down payment assistance or closing cost assistance.
A first-time homebuyer tells them exactly what they need to do so they have realistic expectations for their real estate agent.
A HUD-approved homebuyer course essentially helps you in two ways:
- You learn about the process so you know what’s going to happen at each step – it takes the mystery and uncertainty out of the process so you can move forward with confidence.
- You get a certificate of completion that’s often necessary to qualify for first-time homebuyer assistance programs.
The first part of that equation gives you peace of mind, which is worth a lot more than you might think as you look for a home. The homebuying process is stressful enough as you compete with cash-only investors and wait for approval from the underwriter. The last thing you want is to add the stress of uncertainty on top of that. By knowing what comes next, you aren’t left to guess about the homebuying process. You can make informed, sound decisions that help you reach your goal.
The second part – the certificate – is extremely invaluable. First-time homebuyers often struggle to meet the upfront costs of purchasing a home, specifically when it comes to the down payment and closing costs. There are state and local programs that provide financial assistance to help first-time buyers to overcome those challenges, but they expect you to put in some effort in order to qualify for the assistance. That effort usually comes in the form of taking one of these 8-hour courses that meet HUD standards.
Surprised the course takes that long? It’s actually just barely enough time to cover everything you really need to learn to become a successful homebuyer.
“It may seem like a big commitment,” Consolidated Credit Housing Director Maria Gaitan agrees, “but the potential cost savings and peace of mind you gain as a homebuyer is worth one Saturday of your time.”
Consolidated Credit is HUD-approved to offer the 8-hour course and South Florida residents can take advantage of the live version at no charge. We typically hold one homebuyer workshop each month at our home office in Plantation, Florida. The course runs from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, so plan to stay for the whole day in order to get your certificate of completion.
In addition to the free live course, homebuyers outside of South Florida can take advantage of HUD-approved homebuyer workshops by either finding a HUD-certified housing counseling agency in your home state or by taking the online version of the homebuyer course for a fee.
“A local program that you attend in person where you live is often the better choice if you can make that work,” Gaitan encourages. “First-time homebuyer assistance programs vary by state and even by city or municipality, so a local HUD-certified housing counseling agency is your best resource for identifying programs that apply where you want to live.”
For more information about buying a home, visit the Homebuyer Education section of our website or call 1-800-435-2261 to speak with one of Consolidated Credit’s HUD-certified housing counselors at no charge.