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Back-to-School Strategies for Staying Out of Debt

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

Tax filing options to consider

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Strategies for Financially Surviving the Holidays

Creating a fun and memorable holiday on a budget

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

Tax Refund Delays for some in 2017

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

Making the holidays memorable for families on a tight budget.

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

Should Consumers Use the New EMV Cards?

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Homeownership is possible

Q. We have friends who took classes before they bought their first house and said that the experience made all the difference for them. We’d like to buy a home, too, but feel overwhelmed by the process.  Where can we get more information on home-buying classes?

A. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approves housing counseling agencies all over the country. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies offer homebuyer education programs and pre-purchase counseling.  To find a list of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in your area, you can go to https://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm.

Since buying a home is the single largest purchase most people make, you’re wise to seek pre-purchase housing counseling and homebuyer education early on in the home-buying process.  Before signing a 30-year loan, you want to ensure you are well prepared to handle all lies ahead.  What’s more, you want to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible.

In a homebuyer education class, you will learn about what it means to be credit ready for homeownership, the costs of purchasing a home, all the professionals involved in a real estate transaction and the types of loans available to you.  You will also learn about getting pre-qualified, the parts of your house payment, shopping for a home, home inspections, finalizing your loan, what to expect at closing and even how to schedule regular home maintenance. 

In a pre-purchase counseling appointment, the housing counselor will assess where you are now by reviewing your budget, credit, assets and debts.  You may be ready for homeownership, or the counseling session may reveal that you need a year or two to prepare for buying a home. Perhaps you need to save for closing costs or work on your credit. The housing counselor will help you develop a plan to address areas you need to work on and help you reach your goal of homeownership. 

Homebuyer education classes and pre-purchasing housing counseling are available to anyone; you need not be a first time homebuyer to participate in them.   A lot has changed in the home-buying process in the last few years, so a homebuyer education program can be a great refresher for anyone who hasn’t purchased a home in the last five years.  Even families that lost homes in the financial crisis may now be eligible to purchase a home once again. 

June is national homeownership month.  If owning a home is something you truly desire, enroll in a homebuyer education program today.  Get yourself credit ready, save for the closing costs and down payment, and you too will have an opportunity to have a home of your own.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email acce@acce-online.com.

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.