Homebuyer education, also called housing or pre-purchase counseling, helps homebuyers prepare for the process of purchasing a home and the challenges of being a new homeowner. Some loan programs, like the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP), require homebuyer education courses.
Recently, the Maryland Mortgage Program has made updates to their homebuyer education requirements to simplify and standardize the process. Effective for MMP reservations dated on or after October 1, 2018, the following will be implemented:
- Homebuyer education may be taken online or in person, individually or with a group, as long as the class has been approved by HUD, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
- For Baltimore City and Baltimore County, the above flexibility will apply, but the homebuyer education must be completed prior to signing the sales contract.
The homebuying process is complex and if you are a first-time homebuyer (someone who has never owned a home, or has not owned a primary residence in the last 3 years) it can be a little confusing. This is why homebuyer education courses are so important. They help new homebuyers understand the process and what to anticipate as a homeowner. Below are some of the topics you can expect to learn about during your pre-purchase counseling.
- Process of purchasing a home- You will be given an overview of the entire homebuying process, from application to closing, exploring each step more in-depth.
- Budgeting- Buying a home will be one of the biggest purchases you will make, so knowing how to afford your mortgage and budget for extra expenses will be covered.
- Shopping for a mortgage- Different types of home loans will be reviewed and what you will need for pre-approval. Your credit score, and ways to raise and improve it, will also be covered as a topic since this can help determine which type of mortgage and rate you qualify for.
- How to maintain a home- Upkeep and regular maintenance of your home lowers the risk of major problems down the road; it is essential to know how to maintain your home and the budget you should keep for maintenance.
Even if you aren’t a first-time homebuyer, taking a homebuyer education course can be beneficial, since the mortgage industry is always changing and new programs are emerging. Additional one-on-one homebuyer counseling is available, and it is sometimes required, depending on the state/county you are purchasing in or loan program you are using. It’s better to have more information than not enough, especially when it comes to buying a home. Please reach out to any one of our loan officers if you have questions.