Why We Don’t Listen to Housing “Experts”

If you’ve ever bought a home or even considered it, chances are you didn’t consult an expert first. You asked your friends and family for advice.

“Professionals involved in the home-buying process lag far behind when it comes to where consumers go first for information about what they overwhelmingly admit is a complicated undertaking,” says Eileen M. Fitzgerald, CEO of NeighborWorks America, an association of affordable housing professionals.

Fitzgerald’s company recently surveyed 1,000 adults who were thinking about buying a home – and found…

39 percent of people thinking of buying a home first seek advice from friends and family who own their home, while Realtors and mortgage lenders are approached just 16 and 9 percent of the time, respectively. Interestingly, the Internet is the second-most-used source of homeownership information at 17 percent.

So why are friends, family, and even the Internet perceived as more trustworthy? The answer is simple: Home-buying is complicated. The survey revealed, “75 percent of Americans agreed (42 percent strongly) that the home-buying process is complicated. Young homebuyers consider the home-buying process even more complicated, with 86 percent of respondents under 30 years old agreeing (60 percent strongly agreed).”

These numbers seemed to shock Fitzgerald, who especially urged those in financial trouble to seek expert guidance: “Friends and family could provide important support during a very stressful process, but the first step for people facing foreclosure should be to talk to their lenders and then to a housing counselor.”

We couldn’t agree more. There are so many different types of home loans out there, so you need to be careful and do your research to find the loan that will not only benefit you now but in the future. A HUD-approved housing counselor can provide the critical advice you need to be successful.

It’s confusing enough for homebuyers who have the money to meet all the terms of the loan. It’s even worse for those in financial distress. Which is why the 20-year-old nonprofit offers a half-dozen services that include:

If you have questions for a HUD-approved housing expert, all Consolidated at 1-800-435-2261. Don’t just rely on your friends and family.