The road to what's likely the largest and most financially and emotionally trying transaction you'll ever make just got smoother.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a $6.5 million grant to 12 national, regional and multi-state home ownership assistance agencies to help them educate would-be and existing home owners.
Consumer advocates say a key to home ownership is education that teaches consumers the ins and outs of mortgages, provides the financial preparedness skills consumers need to buy a home and backgrounds consumers in the home economics necessary to own and keep a roof over their head.
Predatory lending in today's market, an ever increasing array of mortgage products, and the changing economy's impact on the housing market all make home buying education virtually mandatory.
Knowledge gives consumers the power to read the small print, the insight to know predatory lending tactics, the foresight to watch economic indicators and the wisdom to be alert to unsavory market practices before they become victims.
The grants went to agencies that distribute HUD funding to grassroots level affiliates and branches that provide low- and moderate-income home buying hopefuls with advice about buying and owning a home.
Anyone -- current homeowners, prospective buyers or renters -- can get the counseling they need to improve their housing conditions and be responsible owners and renters.
HUD says by improving renter and home owner education, families make better, more informed home purchase decisions; improve their ability to budget for needed home expenses and regular mortgage or rent payments; and it makes the lending process less intimidating.
Housing counselors offer consumers advice and guidance on a wide variety of housing topics, ranging from providing information on the home buying process and financing a home to personal budgeting and credit repair; from default assistance and foreclosure avoidance to fair housing rights; from meeting the responsibilities of tenancy to obtaining a home equity conversion mortgage.
Home buyers, owners and renters are advised to look to these agencies and others like them for housing education they should obtain before buying or renting.
The 12 HUD-approved intermediaries receiving grants are:
|Catholic Charities USA||Alexandria,||VA||$572,409|
|Citizens Housing and Planning Association,||Boston,||MA||$418,143|
|National Association of Housing Partnerships,||Boston,||MA||$633,463|
|West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc.,||Jackson,||TN||$372,024|
|Housing Opportunities, Inc.,||McKeesport,||PA||$522,467|
|National Urban League,||New York,||NY||$563,201|
|National Association of Real Estate Brokers,||Oakland,||CA||$393,876|
|ACORN Housing Corporation,||Philadelphia,||PA||$597,474|
|National Foundation for Consumer Credit,||Silver Spring,||MD||$675,770|
|Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation,||Washington,||DC||$670,086|
|National Council of La Raza,||Washington,||DC||$558,878|
|The Congress of National Black Churches,||Washington,||DC||$522,209|
Detailed grant project summaries are available on HUD's Web site.