If you are buying a home, you probably already have a real estate agent and a lender in mind to help you. But have you thought about talking to a housing counselor?
A housing counselor can be invaluable in helping you navigate the home buying process and avoid making mistakes, particularly if you are a first-time buyer. Like other home buying partners, a housing counselor can help you determine if you are truly ready to buy a home. He or she can review your credit score and your monthly income and expenses and provide recommendations on whether now if a good time for you to buy. And if you aren’t yet ready, your housing counselor can help you improve your credit to meet loan requirements and establish a budget that will help you better afford a home purchase when you’re ready.
If you are ready to buy, a housing counselor can provide you with an idea of how much you can borrow and buy before you start looking at homes. In addition, a housing counselor can provide information on affordable mortgage, down payment and closing cost assistance programs such as those available from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.
Many mortgage programs require their buyers to obtain pre-purchase counseling from a HUD-approved housing counselor. Engaging HUD-approved counselors is important because they have been specially trained and certified by the government to help you navigate the home buying process and assess your financial situation and evaluate options if you have difficulty paying your mortgage in the future.
Find a local HUD-approved housing counselor through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s online tool.