Written By: Stacey Sprain, Op-Ed Writer
I had to do some research last week to help a top producer put together presentation materials for a first time homebuyer workshop and I was reminded of how under-used and under-appreciated these valuable resources really are. If I were an originator, I can tell you right now I would be lunching with the folks who provide Homebuyer Education seminars or getting myself approved to provide them myself because I would want every single one of my first-time homebuyer applicants to go through a course before moving them on through to closing. It blows my mind that the agencies continue cracking down on credit and product guidelines yet wouldn’t it make absolute and complete sense to REQUIRE that all first time homebuyers go through an acceptable education course as a condition of loan approval? The information that is reviewed and communicated in these courses is absolutely invaluable. There are so many things that first-timers just don’t think about or consider when they decide it’s time to take the leap toward homeownership. So many folks go into homeownership with blinders on. I mean hello! Why do you think we’re all sitting in this ridiculous crisis of an industry that we have been for the past three years! It’s because so many folks rushed into responsibilities they were not nearly prepared for and they were allowed to do it on our watch!
And then there’s the $8000 tax credit. Super incentive for the housing industry but might it have made a little more sense to have provided the incentive to those buyers who could prove they’d been educated best as possible beforehand? The government, which stood back and opened the doors for the financial crisis to occur in the first place decides to hand out money to stimulate the suffering market but doesn’t even learn from the mistakes of the past and require more education for qualifying for it? Common sense things like this just drive me crazy. Sometimes our government makes things so much more difficult than they need to be when there are more obvious and simple solutions sitting right under our nose.
Now I’m not saying that requiring an education certificate is the solid fix but come on! Homeownership is a privilege and not a right to be abused, right? Let’s make sure our borrowers are well-educated on the process, their rights, the responsibilities, the maintenance, the upkeep, the expenses, the budgeting and the credit maintenance!
In addition to those courses and sessions you may find offered through your state and local housing offices, there are some really great homebuyer education resources out there. Many of these are easily accessible on the web, offer courses in English or Spanish and provide their materials right at their website for access and review. These opportunities are all at no cost to your applicants and quite frankly, they outta be a requirement. Take advantage of the opportunities! Make sure that every homebuyer you assist with home buying is educated and aware of the details that he or she is relying on you to teach them!
Homebuyer Education Resources
Helpful Tip ► Utilize these resources to assemble your materials for presentations and seminars in your area!
Fannie Mae Homebuyers Site
Refer to the website for partners, tools, and resources for buying a home.
Freddie Mac Homeownership Website
Refer to this website for an online guide to the home buying process and other useful information!
Genworth Homebuyer and Landlord Education Site
Register borrowers right on the website. Utilize the Homebuyers Education Overview for presentations and marketing.
Study Guides, available in both English and Spanish, are posted right at the website for access.
Ginnie Mae Homeownership Information Center
Website provides links to helpful checklists, online calculators, overviews of loan programs, explanations of terms and more!
HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies
Search for a list of local providers at the website. HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country that can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues.
MGIC Borrower Education Website- with Access to Buyer’s Ed Homebuyer Education Suite
MGIC’s Buyers Ed program offers online homebuyer and landlord education, testing and certification at no charge to you or your customers. Materials are available in both English and Spanish right at the website. Simply choose Lenders link to register for a Buyers Ed code which you can use to register all of your participants going forward by clicking the registration link on the same page. This one is really great because MGIC will also forward a copy of the certificate of completion directly to you for the loan file! Note the great worksheets and materials available right on the Buyer’s Ed Website at http://www.mgichome.com/resources/resources.html.
Radian Homeownership Counseling Center
Radian’s Homeownership Counseling Center supports a variety of counseling options. They also provide a Homeownership Study Guide and workbook right at the website for preview. Materials available in both English and Spanish and in addition, they offer a language line to support 140 other languages. Simply contact their Homeownership Counseling Center at 877-723-4261 to register.
RMIC Borrower and Landlord Education Site
Simply complete and submit the online registration form to register your borrowers. Materials like the Pre-Homeownership Education Manual and online calculators are available right at the website. Spanish speaking counselors available. Link to the Landlord Counseling section is right at the website.
United Guaranty Loan Officer’s Guide
I have directed many folks to this website over the years because of the excellent collection of materials assembled and provided here on subjects that cover lenders, realtors, financial planners, homebuyers and homeowners alike. I find the materials that would appeal to homebuyers after they’ve closed to be excellent tools for outgoing newsletters and follow ups. What a great way to keep feeding education on homeownership to your borrowers even after they’ve moved in! These are tools that any new homeowner can appreciate. You can also order the Guide on CD which gets delivered right to your desk for download on your computer.
About The Author
Stacey Sprain - As an op-ed writer, Ms. Stacey Sprain is currently a NAMP® Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (NAMP®-CALP). With over 15+ years of mortgage banking experience, Stacey is also a Quality Control Manager for a major mortgage lending institution.