SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With all of the research and work that goes into it, the actual process of buying a home doesn’t feel like a fairy tale at first. Still, the California Housing Finance Agency does all it can to make sure its homebuyers live happily ever after.
With that goal in mind, CalHFA this June handed out coupons for free sessions of online homebuyer education and counseling — normally $99 — through eHome America in celebration of National Homeownership Month. Once all of the certificates have been redeemed, CalHFA will have provided free sessions to 400 first-time homebuyers in California.
“Owning a home has been part of the American Dream for many generations, but the process of buying and keeping a home can be challenging,” said CalHFA Executive Director Tia Boatman Patterson. “Complementing the financial education with individualized counseling during the early stages of buying a home is a particularly effective way to help first-time homebuyers.”
Education is an important, yet underrated aspect of the homebuying process, and one that has been proven to increase the chances of comfortable and successful homeownership. CalHFA’s research has shown that online homebuyer education followed up with one-on-one counseling can significantly reduce the likelihood that a homeowner will fall behind on payments or face foreclosure.
CalHFA requires all first-time homebuyers who use its first mortgage programs to complete homebuyer education and counseling. First-time homebuyers include those who have not owned or occupied their own home in the last three years.
Along with its first mortgage programs, CalHFA offers down payment assistance and can also help with closing costs. Both the down payment and closing cost assistance come in the form of junior loans that don’t need to be paid back until the house is paid off, sold or refinanced.
Homebuyer education typically includes information on budgeting and credit, financing a home, shopping for a home, maintaining a home, avoiding foreclosure and much more. The eHome America online course is interactive, with videos, animation, worksheets and downloads to make sure homebuyers get the most out of the experience. Help and support is also available on the platform.
The one-on-one counseling that follows, over the phone, Skype, Facetime or in person, allows the homebuyer to gain more insight on their individual situation. During these sessions, homebuyers talk to a live counselor for up to one hour.
“An educated homebuyer will be a stable homeowner,” said Boatman Patterson. “We’re happy to help more Californians find a place they can call home with a mortgage they can afford.”
Visit CalHFA’s website for links to register or learn more about homebuyer education options.
The California Housing Finance Agency was created in 1975 with the goal of helping more Californians find a place to call home. CalHFA's Single Family Lending Division has invested more than $21 billion to help more than 163,000 families buy their first home with a mortgage they can afford. CalHFA is a self-supported state agency that doesn't rely on taxpayer dollars. For more information on CalHFA programs, and how we are creating progressive financing solutions for affordable housing in California, visit www.calhfa.ca.gov or call toll free at 877.9.CalHFA (877.922.5432).