Knowledge is most certainly power, especially if you are looking to purchase a new home. There are so many factors to consider from what features you need in a property to which lender or mortgage program works best for you.
A shocking discovery recently found that a quarter of borrowers aren’t even aware that there are conforming, low-down payment mortgage programs that they can take advantage of.1 This is despite the fact that 11% of all buyers find saving for a down payment the biggest challenge when buying a new home.2
In an effort to support consumers in the home buying process, government-sponsored entity Fannie Mae recently announced its expansion of its free resources and tools to make understanding the home buying process much easier.
Specifically, the agency will be launching its new HomeView homeownership education program designed to help new, first-time homebuyers more successful homeowners.
In fact, several mortgage solutions now require homebuyers to complete certain homebuyer course work and counseling prior to closing if they are utilizing affordable programs.
What is a Homebuyer Education Course?
If you are unfamiliar with homebuyer education there are multiple third-party providers and programs to choose from. These programs can be an in-person training or online class that you can take to get a better grasp of the home buying process and aspects of being a homeowner. There may be a fee to take a course, but there are also a multitude of free programs to choose from.
Some lenders will require you to complete an eligible course in order to use specific mortgage programs. Similarly, if you are applying for down payment assistance (DPA), many providers require a copy of your certificate stating you have completed one of these programs.
What Information is Covered in the Coursework?
While the material is designed more for first-time homebuyers, even seasoned property owners can benefit from the information outlined in these classes.
While every course is different, the overarching themes are consistent. These programs are designed to take you through the entire home buying journey, so the scope is quite broad.
Nevertheless, you will also learn about specific key topics including:
- Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratios
- Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratios
- Points, closing costs, and fees
- Fair housing rules and regulations
- Different interested parties involved
- Tips for maintenance and upkeep
How is Fannie Mae’s HomeView Program Different?
Fannie Mae has taken data and feedback from consumers, in collaboration with industry experts and organizations, to design a new interactive homebuyer education program called HomeView.
Like other courses, HomeView meets the National Industry Standards (NIS) for homebuyer education coursework and addresses similar issues to provide homebuyers knowledge about homeownership and financing.1
There are many ways that HomeView has been designed to be different from other homebuyer education courses, making it the perfect alternative to other popular programs.
For starters, it is completely free which removes a big barrier for low-to-moderate income households who want to become new homeowners but don’t have enough saved up to cover their down payment let alone closing costs.1
Another key difference is that each component can take as little as 30-minutes to complete compared to other content which can take several days.1 While the material is broken up into seven distinct modules, you can pause and return at any point in time.
The coursework is also extremely accessible. Other courses may require phone or in-person discussions with a counselor or instructor. HomeView can be completed fully remote. You can access material on multiple devices including smartphones and tablets.1
Most importantly, HomeView satisfies Fannie Mae’s homebuyer education and counseling requirement for its HomeReady mortgage program. HomeReady is Fannie Mae’s low-down payment affordable housing program, geared to help first-time buyers become homeowners.
Previously, Fannie Mae had tight restrictions on which third-party programs were eligible to satisfy the homebuyer education requirement. Developing HomeView and offering an in-house option will make it easier for borrowers to access affordable mortgage offerings.
Fannie Mae’s launch of their new HomeView homebuyer education course opens a lot of doors for new and aspiring homeowners. Not only does it provide more options to consumers, it can specifically help borrowers looking for a free alternative to other programs, but that still fulfills the agency’s homebuyer education requirements.
HomeView is a welcomed resource that will help spread awareness about Fannie Mae’s affordable lending programs and make it easier for borrowers to qualify for a new mortgage. After taking this course, you should feel empowered to be a successful new homeowner.
1 Fannie Mae. (2022, January 12). Fannie Mae Launches Free Online Education Course, Empowering Aspiring Homebuyers to Become Confident, Successful Homeowners | Fannie Mae [Press release]. https://www.fanniemae.com/newsroom/fannie-mae-news/fannie-mae-launches-homeview-free-homeownership-education-course#:%7E:text=WASHINGTON%2C%20DC%20%E2%80%93%20Fannie%20Mae%20(,homebuying%20process%20confidently%20and%20responsibly.
2 National Association of Realtors Research Group. (2021, March). 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. National Association of Realtors. https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2021-home-buyers-and-sellers-generational-trends-03-16-2021.pdf