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You can take a cooking class to be a better home chef or a computer class to grow your job skills. But what about a first-time home buyer class? Here, we'll discuss what these classes entail and help you figure out if you need one.
A first-time home buyer class is a course featuring content developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The purpose of these classes is to help first-time buyers navigate the world of mortgages and understand what homeownership really entails.
A home buyer education course will typically cover topics such as:
For example, there are many different types of first-time home buyer mortgages you can apply for. Going to a class that helps you find the right loan type for you can save thousands of dollars. As a quick overview:
Of course, a first-time home buyer class will go into these loans in more detail.
Some of the best mortgage lenders require mortgage borrowers to take a home buyer education class. But even if you don't need counseling to buy a home, it could still pay to take a first-time home buyer class. Doing so could make the process of applying for a mortgage a lot less stressful.
A home buyer class could also help you figure out what loan program is right for you and what your housing expenses outside of your monthly mortgage payment might look like. That education could come in really handy not only when you search for a home and apply for a loan, but when you're ready to close and take ownership of a property you'll be responsible for maintaining.
Home buyers who want to participate in a state-sponsored home-buying assistance program are generally required to enroll in a first-time home buyer workshop. There are also some specific loan programs that typically require borrowers to participate in a home buyer education course:
A good way to find a first-time home buyer class is to reach out to the state housing agency where you live and see if it offers a first-time buyer assistance program. Generally, that agency will be able to provide you with course options and locations that are local to where you live.
Another option is to search for an online home buyer education course. The upside of taking this type of course is that you can do so from the convenience of your own home. Not only that, but many online home buyer classes aren't live, but rather, are pre-recorded. That means you can go through these courses at your own pace rather than have to sit through an entire course without a break. Given that online home buyer courses can be six to eight hours long, that's a good thing!
First-time home buyer classes range in price. Free options are available, depending on your loan type, including Fannie Mae's HomeView free online course. If your loan program doesn't offer free home buyer education, you can still generally find a course for under $100.
Even if you have to pay for the privilege, you'll learn a lot about the home-buying process, as well as the mortgage application process, and that alone could help you make smart decisions. Buying a home is a huge step and one every buyer should make armed with knowledge. If you feel that you're going into the process blindly, then a first-time home buyer class could be a very worthwhile investment.
Here are some other questions we've answered:
You may need to take a first-time home buyer course in order to buy a home. Some specific loan programs require this type of class, and you can count on having to take one if you're applying for a state-sponsored home-buying assistance program. But even if you're not required to take a first-time home buyer course, it could pay to sign up for one anyway. That class could teach you about different loan products and help you figure out how much house you can afford -- points of information that will make the home-buying process less stressful.
A first-time home buyer class is basically a crash course in all things related to buying a home. In one of these classes, you'll learn about different types of mortgages (for example, conventional loans versus FHA loans versus USDA loans), how to figure out your home-buying budget, what expenses come with homeownership, what to look for in a home, and what requirements you need to qualify for different types of mortgages.
You can find a local (in-person) first-time home buyer class through your state housing agency that offers first-time buyer assistance programs. An easier option, however, may be to search for a first-time home buyer course online. That way, you can take that class at your convenience and at your own pace, since many online classes aren't live, but rather, are pre-recorded.
If you're already working with a mortgage lender, ask for a list of courses that meet its first time home buyer education requirements. Some programs prefer you use their specific course so they're assured you've learned all they hoped you would.
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