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What is It?
People often ask “What is Housing Counseling?” and “Why do I need it?” Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions that you will ever make, and Housing Counseling and Education can assist you in making the best possible choice. We recommend Housing Counseling and Education to anyone that has not purchased a home in the past three years.
During the Housing Counseling process, Clients considering the possibility of purchasing a home will be counseled by one of our certified homebuyer education counselors. Our counselors work with each client to establish a working budget while assessing the client’s debt load and possible obstacles. Some of the obstacles may include debt load, debt to income ratios, credit issues, employment history, and available savings. Each counselor will work to build a personal action plan that will assist the client in his/her financial goals. The action plan can include ways to pay down debt, options to clean up a credit report, ways to save money, programs for down payment and closing cost assistance, public and non-profit resources that can offer assistance, and applicable laws and regulations which include client rights.
We offer free First-Time Homebuyer Education workshops which utilize the Home Stretch Curriculum (developed by the Minnesota Homeownership Center). The program, offered monthly, is an eight-hour workshop held over two evenings, followed by a one-on-one Housing Counseling session with one of our certified homebuyer education counselors. During the workshop, area professionals in the housing industry present on their areas of expertise, with topics including: Finding a Realtor, Homeowners Insurance, Finding the Right Mortgage and Home Inspections. By developing these kinds of partnerships, our program becomes more and more relevant to the unreached audiences we are trying to educate and empower. Additional topics covered include: Is Homeownership Right For You?, Money Management, Financing a Home, Qualifying for a Mortgage and the Loan Application Process, Shopping for Your Home, the Closing Process, Preventing Foreclosure, Life as a Homeowner, and Predatory Lending.
Many communities offer incentives for completing a homebuyer workshop and/or housing counseling, such as down payment and closing cost assistance, as well as below-market interest rates guaranteed by the government. Many of these funding programs are only available if you attend and complete a certified homebuyer education workshop. Check with your local government to see if they may be offering incentives for completion of a first-time homebuyer workshop. The First-Time Homebuyers Program is certified through the City of Fargo, the City of Moorhead, and the State of North Dakota as an eligible homebuyer program for closing costs and down payment assistance programs.
During the home buying process it is always difficult to know who you can trust. FLCS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our counselors and educators are not compensated based on whether you purchase a home or not. Your counselor will act as a neutral party to help determine a realistic purchase price for your budget, address potential credit obstacles, review credit reports, review difficult documents, and help to set achievable short and long-term goals. Your housing counselor wants to see you succeed!More common questions about Housing Counseling…
Get Started Now – Request a Consultation
Register for a free Homebuyer Education workshop by calling (701)237-9247.
Complete both evenings of the workshop.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
Make an appointment with a Housing Counselor by calling (701)237-9247.
Attend the one-on-one Housing Counseling session. Your counselor will provide you with a Personal Action Plan to help you achieve your goal of homeownership. Once you have completed the workshop and the counseling session, your counselor will issue you a Certificate of Completion. Depending upon your situation, this certificate may entitle you to down payment or closing cost assistance from your local government.
Top 10 Reasons for Housing Counseling and Education
- You’re not sure where to start in the home buying process.
- You haven’t purchased a home or land within 3 years.
- You want to feel better-equipped through the process.
- You want to find ways to save thousands of dollars over the course of homeownership.
- You’re not sure if now is the best time for you to buy.
- You want to increase your understanding of the variety of different topics included in the home buying process.
- You want to qualify for the different incentives First-Time Homebuyers can obtain for completing the course.
- You want to get unbiased information from area housing professionals who will answer all of your questions and concerns.
- Over 70% of people who take the First-Time Homebuyers Course diminish their risk of foreclosure happening in their lifetime.
- They are excellent money management tools that will help increase your awareness on how to handle your entire financial situation.
Sample Action Plan/Goals
What Our Clients are Saying About Us:
Thank you for all you have done. Your staff has helped me in a time when I felt I would be in debt forever.— Hurst, TX
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