How To Be A Prepared Homebuyer

How To Be A Prepared Homebuyer
For those of you that are considering buying for the first time, it can be pretty intimidating.  So how can you prepare yourself for the most significant financial purchase of your life?   

Meet our home buying expert, Colin Kelley.   Colin is CEO of NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania (, a regional non-profit housing education organization and chartered member of NeighborWorks America, that has been helping people prepare to purchase homes they can afford for more than 50 years.

Below, Colin shares his guidance and input on how you can become a prepared and informed home buyer.

It’s the time of year when you can’t go online without seeing an article with experts predicting the housing market over the next 12 months. After reading these articles, renters ask themselves, “Should I buy a home this year?” Instead, a first-time homebuyer should ask, “Am I prepared to buy?” Getting caught up in predictions about mortgage rates and inventory is moot if you don’t understand the purchase process, from credit to closing. That’s where homebuyer education comes into play.

Homebuyer education is an investment in one’s future. A comprehensive homebuyer course will cover topics such as:
  • How your credit score affects your mortgage rate
  • The various loan options available to borrowers
  • How to shop for a home
  • How to plan for a down payment and closing costs
  • The types of insurance all homeowners need
  • How to maintain your home after purchase and avoid foreclosure
While there are different ways to get homebuyer education, not all courses are equal. Consumers should seek a provider certified by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide homebuyer education, with experienced housing counselors and educators who adhere to the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling. An unbiased, experienced counselor can walk you through the homebuying process, providing trusted guidance. 
If your mortgage lender requires proof of homebuyer education to access certain home buying assistance programs, mortgage products or rates, be sure to check that the education provider issues an accepted homebuyer education certificate to those who complete a qualifying course. 

Purchasing a home doesn’t have to be complicated. With education and coaching, you can become a more comfortable, confident and informed homebuyer.
Not in Western Pennsylvania? NeighborWorks America is a network of more than 240 community development organizations. You can view their locations at

We wanted to thank Colin for sharing his expertise with us, and also for his years of commitment to preparing first time home buyers enter the market with confidence.  
Colin Kelley
CEO of NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania

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