At any given time, a prospective buyer might find themselves thinking something along the lines of this: “I wonder if I can afford to buy a house? I have a bit of savings, I think my credit is okay, and I wouldn’t mind moving before my rental lease expires.”
If you’re in these beginning stages of determining whether or not buying a home is the right decision for you, we strongly recommend attending a home buyers class! Even if you’ve bought a home before, it may be well worth your time to freshen up on the details (and, keep in mind that a “new home buyer” is classified as anyone who has not owned a home in the past three years).
Here are a few reasons why a new home buyer should attend a home buyers class:
1. Learn more about how long it really takes to buy a home.
The home buying process takes way longer than popular television shows make it seem! In a one-hour episode, it can feel as if everything comes together so quickly, and at the end of the episode, buyers are all moved into the home. Well, it is not that easy, and heading into the process equipped with a foundational understanding of what to expect is the best way for a buyer to begin the process. A qualified home buyer instructor will carefully explain the process and go through in detail the timeline of buying a home, the application process, the escrow process, home inspections, the appraisal, etc.
2. Some financing options require you take a home buyer class.
Most home buyers’ down payment assistance programs require that you attend a five-hour in-person class or take it online for a fee. If two people are buying a home together, they must BOTH attend the class or take the course online and submit their certificates.
3. Learn more about whether or not you actually qualify to purchase a home.
Many people have no idea what their FICO score is and are shocked to know that they would not qualify to purchase a home in their current situation. In class, prospective buyers will learn ways to check their score (as well as targeted and intentional ways they can make corrections if they find errors) as well as improve their score.
4. Figure out how much money you’re able to spend on a home.
If you need financial assistance to purchase a home, you will learn about the amount of money you will qualify for, which will then determine the home you will be able to afford.
5. Assess your unique situation.
A home buyer class can also help you know exactly what you need to do to make a home purchase, and can help you address some important questions, such as:
How much savings do I need to have?
What is the minimum credit score needed to qualify?
Can family members help me by contributing funds?
How long does the whole process take?
Why should a home buyer work with a real estate professional?
What type of lender will work best for me?
What down payment assistance program works best?
Do I get a certificate of completion and how long before it expires?
Being informed is the most important first step to home ownership—taking the time to learn about each step of the process will set you up for success down the road!