Homebuyer education courses: VA, HUD, and more
If you’re ready to make the leap from renting to owning your own home, homebuyer education courses can help you prepare. You’ll learn what to expect when applying for a mortgage, how much home you can afford and the ongoing responsibilities of maintaining a home. In addition, taking a HUD-approved homebuyer education class can save you money because it may help you qualify for certain down payment assistance and affordable lending programs.
What are homebuyer education courses?
When applying for first-time homebuyer grants and assistance or certain affordable lending programs, you may be required to enroll in a homebuyer education workshop. These courses are offered online, over the phone and in person. Although most people enroll after applying for a loan, they can be completed even before you start shopping for a home.
Benefits of homebuyer education courses
Homebuyer education courses prepare you for the mortgage application process. In addition, by attending a class that helps you qualify for an affordable loan, you can potentially save thousands of dollars. You may also become eligible for down payment assistance, free grants and closing costs assistance. Lastly, homebuyer education courses set you up for success by explaining what expenses you can expect to maintain your home.
Types of things you might learn about
- Budgeting and credit
- How much home you can afford
- Choosing the best loan
- Home loan interest rates
- Tips to lower your down payment
- Shopping for a home
- What to include in your offer
- The closing process
- How to maintain your new home
- Managing your finances
Eligibility and requirements
Everyone is eligible for homebuyer education courses, regardless of whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, an existing homebuyer or a renter. A course may be mandatory when applying for down payment assistance or certain affordable lending programs. For example, Fannie Mae guidelines require housing counseling for some three percent down payment mortgages, regardless of your loan-to-value ratio.
Are there free homebuyer education courses?
Yes. Homebuyer education courses are available both free of cost and for a small fee. However, some state mortgage and down payment assistance programs waive this fee.
- For Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), Fannie Mae offers HomeView™. This online homeownership education course helps consumers navigate the mortgage and homebuying process confidently and responsibly—available free of cost and accessible online anytime on any device at fanniemae.com/education.
- For Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) affordable programs, Freddie Mac offers CreditSmart, a free online resource for consumers seeking information on buying and maintaining a residential property.
VA and FHA approved homebuyer education courses
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country that offer courses that may be approved for certain Veteran’s Administration (VA) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. Homebuyer education is typically required by housing agencies versus VA and FHA directly. These agencies provide tools and advice, answering the questions many first-time homebuyers have, such as, “What should my mortgage payment be in relation to my monthly salary?” and “Are there hidden costs to homeownership that I should know about?”
Homebuyer education courses by state
A great way to find a local homebuyer education course is to reach out to the state housing agency in your state. You can also search for a first-time homebuyer course online. However, if your mortgage lender requires you to take a class, you’ll want to check to see if they accept online courses before enrolling. The following are homebuyer education course options for each state. Additional housing counseling providers can be found on the HUD website.
This homebuyer education agency in Alabama offers courses in English and Spanish and is HUD certified as a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency.
This homebuyer education course provider in Alaska works in collaboration with eHome-America. Their goal is to make sure that you’re purchasing a home that you can afford to buy and afford to keep.
The Greater Phoenix Urban League offers online homebuyer education courses to help families in the City of Phoenix and surrounding Arizona areas navigate the process of buying and keeping a home.
Designed for first-time homebuyers, this homebuyer education course benefits those eligible for the Arkansas Development Finance Authority’s homebuyer and down payment assistance programs.
The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) requires homebuyer education and counseling for first-time homebuyers using a CalHFA program.
California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) Homebuyer Education
CRHDC is a HUD-approved Housing Counseling agency offering free counseling services and education in Colorado.
Homebuyer education classes from The Housing Development Fund (HDF) in Connecticut are open to everyone, whether you’ve already applied for a mortgage or not.
Housing Opportunities of Northern Delaware (HOND) offers an eight-hour course that covers the basics of homebuying. For example, household budgeting, credit awareness, shopping for a house, obtaining a mortgage and maintaining the home to avoid foreclosure.
NID Housing Counseling Agency is the largest African-American HUD-approved National Intermediary of Housing Counseling and Education across the United States, including Florida. Their free or low-cost homebuyer education includes one-on-one and group counseling.
Georgia-based Totally Free provides comprehensive eight-hour HUD-approved training detailing steps to move from renting to owning.
The mission of Hawaii HomeOwnership Center is to provide education, information and support to create successful first-time homeowners in Hawaii.
GreenPath’s counseling and education in Idaho can help you navigate the process and make informed decisions.
The Neighbor Project in Illinois will walk with you through each step of the homebuying process, helping you discover how to leverage your income into an asset.
This Indiana-based program has several modules, taking a family through the essential steps in making their way to homeownership. Some of the information covered in the modules addresses budgets, shopping for a home wisely and cleaning up credit reports.
Community Action Program of Western Indiana Homeownership Education and Counseling
Horizons Financial Wellness Center in Iowa is approved by HUD to provide comprehensive housing counseling and education services.
Housing and Credit Counseling (HCCI) offers approved online homebuying educational courses in Kansas, which provide a comprehensive look at the homebuying process and sets the foundation for purchasing the best home within your budget.
This homebuyer education course provider in Kentucky works in collaboration with eHome-America. It covers a wide range of information for prospective homeowners, so you’ll have the facts you need to navigate every step of the buying process.
The Louisiana Housing Corporation’s homeownership (LHC) education counseling program can help you understand homeownership rights, privileges, and responsibilities.
Avesta Housing in Maine offers an 8-hour class taught by certified housing counselors and industry professionals with expertise in their fields.
Join Comprehensive Housing Assistance (CHAI) in Maryland at one of their monthly workshops to learn everything you need to know about becoming credit-ready, selecting a realtor, getting a mortgage and down payment incentives.
The Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) offers information on working with real estate agents, choosing an affordable mortgage, accessing down payment and closing cost assistance, budgeting, planning, record keeping, home repair and taxes.
Free class opportunities from the Habitat for Humanity Huron Valley, Michigan, are geared towards people thinking about purchasing a home. Habitat Housing Pre-Purchase/Homebuyer Education
Home Stretch 8-hour interactive online workshops help you prepare for a successful homebuying experience in Minnesota. You’ll walk through all the steps of purchasing a home and leave with a better understanding of how the whole process works.
The 8-hour class hosted by Mercy Housing and Human Development in Mississippi steps the buyer through the entire process from credit ratings to available down payment assistance programs to escrow.
North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) provides group and individual counseling to prospective Missouri homeowners to help them on the path to buying a home.
In partnership with NeighborWorks Montana, Headwaters RC&D offers in-depth information on all aspects of homeownership through a series of classes held throughout Headwaters economic development region on a bi-monthly basis.
High Plains Community Development Corp. (HPCDC) counselors are here to help you understand the homebuying process in Nebraska.
Navicore Solutions’ certified housing counseling services enable Nevada consumers to make informed and reasonable decisions to achieve their housing goals.
Affordable Housing Education and Development (AHEAD) provides a first-time homebuyers workshop that gives an overview of everything you need to know about the homebuying process.
To assist those seeking homeownership for the first time in New Jersey, Neighborhood Housing Services of Camden (NHSC) offers counseling sessions that include an analysis of the participants’ financial situation, assessment of their ability to qualify for a mortgage, and development of a corrective action plan.
Native Partnership for Housing (NPH) serves the housing and homeownership needs of Native and non-Native clients in the Four Corners region of New Mexico in both remote and urban areas.
The AHP Homeownership Center offers programs to promote successful and affordable homeownership in New York’s Capital Region.
EmPOWERment, Inc. is a HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency in North Carolina that offers an array of housing counseling services at no cost to the individual or family.
Community Action is a certified housing counseling agency in North Dakota.
Working In Neighborhoods (WIN) provides counseling on homebuying and home maintenance in Ohio.
If you plan to purchase a home in Oklahoma, consider attending Community Action Resource and Development (CARD) homebuyer education classes. These courses will provide you with the necessary tools to make an informed decision about if homeownership is right for you.
HomeSource of NeighborImpact offers public workshops and online homebuyer education to help guide your path to homeownership in Oregon.
If you’re in the market to buy a home in Pennsylvania, Advantage Credit Counseling Service (CCS) can prepare you for every step of the process. Their homebuying workshops will help you understand the loan process, mortgage options and insurance needs.
As a certified HUD Housing Counseling Agency, the Providence Housing Authority (PHA) offers homeownership counseling services in Rhode Island.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of South Carolina offers a free first-time homebuyer workshop. The workshop provides information on financing options, pre-qualifying for a mortgage, down-payment programs, working with a real estate professional, making an offer on a home, home inspections, homeowner’s insurance, closing a loan transaction and fair housing.
Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of South Dakota offers a free homebuyer education program that provides the information and resources available to purchase and own a home successfully.
Community Housing Partnership (CHP) of Tennessee provides homebuyers education courses that walk clients through the complete homebuying process—from shopping to maintaining a home.
Frameworks Community Development Corporation (CDC) educates Texas families not only about buying a home but keeping it through a comprehensive pre-purchase homebuyer education program.
Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Corporation (NNHC) is a HUD-approved Housing Counseling agency providing services to households across Utah.
Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) offers online and in-person homebuyer education workshops to help buyers in Vermont make sense of the complicated process of buying a home.
Virginia Housing offers a one-day free homebuyer class where you’ll learn the entire homebuying process from start to finish and how to stay on track as a responsible homeowner. The course is offered in English or Spanish, in person or online.
Community Frameworks guides families on their path to homeownership across Washington state.
HomeOwnership Center of West Virginia offers affordable, comprehensive full-day Homebuyer Education Seminars (HBE seminars) that cover everything you need to know about making the best home purchasing decisions for you and your family.
Purchasing a home is one of the most important financial decisions most people make. The homebuyer education classes taught by the NeighborWorks Green Bay’s staff will help create a strong foundation for both your homebuying and homeownership experience.
Wyoming Housing Network’s (WHN) homebuyer education and counseling program provides borrowers with all the information and resources necessary to stay informed, make decisions, and ensure long-term sustainability.
Do mortgage lenders give special rates to those who complete homebuyer education programs?
By completing a homebuyer education program and earning a HUD-approved certificate, you may be eligible for an affordable lending program depending on your financial eligibility.
Are you ready to start down the path towards homeownership? Talk to a loan officer to learn more about homebuyer education course requirements.
The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.