You learn an awful lot in high school and even more if you go on to college or a trade school; all this knowledge is important and will help you get a job and begin life as an adult. But, during all those years of education did anyone ever teach you how to create a household budget, manage your money and establish credit? Some folks are lucky enough to have parents that taught them these skills, but most people simply learn as they go – and make mistakes. Now imagine the time has come to purchase your first home – who taught you how that process works or even where to begin? Jumping into the process by looking at homes first is usually the first move, but a wrong one.
Before you can get started you really need to understand the entire process, all the professionals involved and most importantly, how to make wise decisions for you and your family. Northern New Hampshire is fortunate to have a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency, AHEAD (Affordable Housing, Education And Development), that provides homebuyer education both in person and online. While the counselors at the agency feel strongly that attending an in-person class is the most beneficial, they recognize that with work schedules, kids, etc., it just might not be possible, so they have the option to do the on-line course.
The class is beneficial to people of all walks of life and economic status and covers the full homebuying process. Topics covered are; establishing a household budget, understanding credit, how to find a lender and the loan process, how to find a Realtor and negotiate when you find a home.
You will walk away from this class a far more confident homebuyer, but the education doesn’t stop there. AHEAD also offers individual financial counseling so you can review your household budget and credit report. Counselors are trained to show you where you can save money and many things you can do to establish or even repair your credit. Consulting with a financial counselor four to six months before you plan to start the homebuying process is very wise, it gives you the opportunity to get your finances in order and the time to explore the many loan options that are available to first time homebuyers.
AHEAD offers in-person workshops monthly, their schedule can be found on their website, homesahead.org where you will also find the information for the on-line course. You can also call them (603) 444-1377 for more information on all their programs.
The bottom line about homebuyer education is it’s the smartest place to start before making the largest purchase of your life.