Experts Wanted: The Role of Pre-Purchase Counseling When Buying a Home
Nearly anyone who has gone through the home-buying process can confirm that it’s an overwhelming ordeal, particularly when it comes to finding and applying for the right mortgage. While there are some universal considerations and sources of stress that affect everyone, a recent Associated Press article suggests that there may be additional ones for homeowners in certain age brackets.
The story notes that all first-time homebuyers face a myriad of hurdles when pursuing homeownership, but that the challenges differ depending on their age. Those in their 20s and early 30s likely face a more rigorous creditworthiness assessment as the result of their shorter credit and income history – and the potential for high levels of student loan debt; those aged 33-47 tend to have established careers and credit histories, but must place greater thought and consideration on how paying the down payment and monthly mortgage payments may impact their retirement savings goals. These may be difficult choices to make.
The complexity of the home-buying process and potential long-term financial consequences of the paths chosen are why many would-be homebuyers seek an outside expert’s opinion before making their first home purchase, including from the counselors staffing our HOPE Hotline. Such pre-purchase counseling gives consumers the financial education and insights they need to make better-informed decisions that increase their likelihood for sustainable homeownership. Independent studies have confirmed the positive impact of pre-purchase counseling, as we’ve written about here and here.
Just as a homeowner brings in an outside home inspector to make sure the house’s foundation is solid and there are no structural complications that could turn their dream home into a nightmare, the housing counselor offering pre-purchase advice does essentially the same thing, just with your finances.
As HPF looks forward, we hope to not only help current homeowners avoid foreclosure and preserve their homes, but also to assist more and more prospective homebuyers in considering the financial and emotional significance of what, for most, is the biggest investment of their life.