Taking a first-time homebuyer class is by no means a prerequisite to qualifying for a mortgage and buying a home. However, some lenders offer perks to borrowers who have completed a first-time homebuyer class. And if you’re planning on applying for down payment assistance programs, some of them require it.
Fannie Mae’s HomeReady program drequires first-time buyers to complete a class to qualify for competitive pricing, as little as 3% down and using gift funds for 100% of the down payment and closing costs. Freddie Mac’s HomePossible and HomeOne loan programs offer similar perks to folks who’ve completed a class.
Homebuyer workshops are also good for people who find the process daunting, just aren’t sure where to begin, or need a little extra help understanding home financing.
What Is a Homebuyer Education Course?
Homebuyer Education Courses bring together local real estate professionals who walk you through all aspects of the home buying process, including:
- Improving your credit score and qualifying for a mortgage
- Evaluating mortgage lenders
- Budgeting for maintenance
- Qualifying for down payment assistance programs
- Negotiating terms
- Home appraisals
- Homeowner’s insurance options
- The closing process
No two homebuyers classes are exactly the same, but the content is set by the the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They all have the goal of encouraging home ownership and ensuring that buyers are set up for success. For homebuyers in the early stages, the class can help you avoid making common credit mistakes and qualify for a mortgage faster. For buyers further along on their home buying journey, the class can help you understand what to expect from the loan processing, home appraisal, underwriting and closing steps.
What Does a Homebuyer Educations Class Cost?
Homebuyer education classes are affordable, with most costing between $20 and $100.
How Long Does the Class Take to Complete?
Workshops usually take a full eight-hour day to complete. Some educators spread the course out over two to four shorter sessions. Evening sessions are available. Online courses can be completed at your own pace.
Is the Class Graded?
Homebuyer education classes are graded pass/fail. You will have to show that you’ve retained the information, but the bar for passing is not exceedingly high.
Other things to keep in mind:
- If you’re taking the class to qualify for a down payment assistance program, you don’t need to take it until you get to the financing stage. If you’re taking it because it’s a lender requirement, you have until closing to complete it.
- In-person classes fill up quickly, so don’t wait until the last minute to sign up.
- Make sure you attend a class with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in your area, and plan on attending the entire class.
Upcoming Classes in Gainesville
Home Buyers Education Seminar
Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation (NHDC)
Oct 16, 8a.m. to 4:30p.m.
Oct 23, 8a.m. to 4:30p.m.
Gainesville Alachua County Assoc. of Realtors, 1750 Northwest 80 Boulevard, Gainesville, FL
Cost: $50 ($55 for couples), includes lunch.
Home Buyers Education Seminar – Evening Series
Nov 9 to Nov 18 (4 evening series), 6p.m. to 8p.m.
United Way, 6031 NW 1st Pl, Gainesville, FL
Cost: $50 ($55 for couples), includes lunch
A Home of Your Own Class
University of Florida IFAS Extension
Dec 3 and Dec 10 (2 evening class), 9a.m. to 1p.m.
Where: Zoom, TBD
Cost: $10 per person
Online, at your own pace: