Being a homeowner takes a whole lot of know-how that isn’t immediately obvious to a first-time homebuyer. To begin with, the financial commitment of owning a home doesn’t end at closing—borrowers have to be prepared to budget so they can afford a monthly housing payment and other home expenses. While this might be an easy transition for renters who made regular, consistent payments, other things might come as a surprise, such as taking care of home repairs personally rather than calling up the landlord, or paying for utilities and other regular expenses that may have been included in their previous rent. New homebuyers who lived with family or otherwise didn’t manage similar expenses might not even know to expect such things. Homebuyer education and counseling can help borrowers be prepared for these, and other, aspects of homeownership.
The difference between homebuyer counseling and homebuyer education
Homebuyer education and counseling are different, but fulfill similar purposes. Both are intended to empower homebuyers to become successful homeowners. Both types of programs provide education about being a homeowner and how to avoid common pitfalls. The biggest difference between the two is when the program is administered. Homebuyer education is a way that you can better understand what’s involved in finding, buying and owning a home. You might be required to complete this course by your mortgage lender, or if you’re participating in a down payment assistance or other housing financing program.
Homebuyer counseling, on the other hand, typically comes after closing and provides the onboarding needed to assist homebuyers through potential unfamiliar processes. By virtue of occurring during the new homebuyer’s initial months of homeownership, homebuyer counseling is ready to address questions and concerns as they arrive. Homebuyer counseling isn’t as common as homebuyer education among down payment assistance programs, but both are there to lower the chance of defaults and improve homeowner satisfaction. Think of homebuyer education as preparation and homebuyer counseling as support.
CBC Mortgage Agency’s Chenoa Fund down payment assistance may require homebuyer education for Chenoa Fund borrowers; through the Chenoa Fund program if the borrower is using a DPA Edge product and has a credit score lower than 640. On the other hand, CBC Mortgage Agency offers homebuyer counseling to all Chenoa Fund borrowers for the first eighteen months after closing. This counseling provides borrowers the assistance that is needed to transition into long term success with homeownership. This counseling can happen over text or email, over the phone, or even through video conferencing.