August 21, 2014
Wanna Be a Homeowner? Take a Class
In case anyone has forgotten, buying a home can be damaging to your financial health.
But prospective first-time homeowners may want to take advantage of still-low mortgage interest rates and the recent, slower increases in house prices. Homebuyer classes can provide an excellent crash course in the mysteries of mortgages, maintenance, taxes, and risks – information that can help preclude the kind of mistakes made during the subprime mortgage crisis.
There’s a tool on the website of the federal government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to search for first-time homebuyer classes and housing counselors. Enter your desired zip code here to find classes and counselors nearby.
The agencies listed appear to be mostly non-profits and were approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It’s wise to do some research on a specific agency to find out where the non-profit’s underlying funding comes from and what services it offers.
So, is now a good time to buy a house? Conventional wisdom says this depends on how long the buyer intends to live in the house – the longer the better to cover the high upfront costs of buying and moving and to ride out price fluctuations in the housing market.
Affordability – and not the potential for profit – should drive the home-buying decision, and borrowing costs remain low. Interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages are just over 4 percent.
Most of all, buying a home requires a buyer to take on the required responsibilities, financial and otherwise.