This program is designed to allow sorority member, family, friends and the communities we serve to be trained on three phases of Home Ownership. Information is available on any one or all three phases

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Credit Resources

There are many credit resources available to help you understand credit issues and help you if you are having credit problems. Here are some reputable agencies that can help:

  • American Consumer Credit Counseling

  • • Consumer Federation of America

  • • FDIC Consumer Resources consumers/consumer/index.html

  • National Endowment for Financial Education

  • National Endowment for Financial Education Teen Resource

  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling

  • Practical Money Skills for Life

  • U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission

House Hunting

Once you know how much money you can borrow and have an estimate of your closing costs, you'll know the price range you can afford. You might already have your "dream home" in mind. Perhaps you want to settle down in a particular neighborhood, or maybe you just need more space for your growing family.

Even if you know exactly what you're looking for, the house hunting process can be overwhelming. It takes time.

The First Step – A Reality Check

It’s fun to look at houses. And this part of the process is very exciting, but don't let your excitement rule the house-hunting process.

  • Stick within your budget – don't look at homes above what you can afford – even if it's "just a little" more.

  • Don't let your heart rule over your head. You may fall in love with a property, but if it is beyond your means, it is not the right house for you.

  • Be flexible. Don’t be disappointed if the houses in your price range differ from your dream. Buy the home you can afford rather than the home that "has it all."

  • Compare what you'd like to have with what you really need.

Some good house-hunting tips

  • Take pictures inside and outside the home.

  • Bring a spouse, family member, or friend.

  • Make sure the house fits into your budget.

  • Ask about utility and maintenance costs.

  • Think of commuting time and costs.

  • Consider your monthly budget – can you afford the renovations and maintenance that you'll need to do?

  • Don't make a "spur-of-the-moment" decision.

Additional tips to make the house-hunting process easier

  • Concentrate on a few neighborhoods . Decide what's most important to you about the neighborhood you want. This can greatly narrow down your search.

  • Find a real estate agent . They'll have many more listings than you can find on your own.

  • Compare homes . Make sure you know what you would get and what you would miss in each house before you make a decision.

Get a written description of the home. Ask your real estate agent for a description of each property you see.

Establish Your Criteria

Before you start house hunting, decide on what you really need. Then list the features that would be nice to have. Once you have a clear idea of what you need as well as what you would like in a house, finding that house will be much easier.

Be realistic. Looking for a home takes time, so focus on what's important to you. After looking at lots of homes, the line between "I need a garage" and "I want a garage" can get very blurry.

Many people focus more on what they'd like to have instead of focusing on what they actually need - that can mean they pass up a home that meets their needs in hopes of finding one that meets their wants.

Ultimately, you should be able to find a home that is a blend of your needs and wants. But remember, the most important thing is to find the right house that fits into your budget. This may mean that it doesn't have all your "wants" but does have most of your "needs."

To help keep your priorities in order, make a wish list and a must-have list, and take them with you whenever you look at a house. Share them with your real estate agent as well; he or she can search for homes based on your list.

Choose a Neighborhood

When you can tell the difference between your housing wants and needs, you'll probably have an easier time deciding what you want and need from a neighborhood. Where you live is as important as the house you live in.

You may already have a good idea about the neighborhood you would like to live in. Don't let that keep you from looking at other neighborhoods with similar qualities. You might not be giving another area a chance - and you might be passing up your dream house.

Ask yourself these questions about neighborhoods:

Personal Questions

  • How long will it take to get to work? What will it cost?

  • Is this country, suburban, or urban living?

  • How far will you be from family members?

  • How far will you be from religious activities, night school, or other regular activities?

  • Are there any homeowners' association fees?

  • Are there any homeowners' association rules or restrictions?

  • Can you afford the county and/or city taxes?

Neighborhood-Specific Questions

  • What are the schools, hospitals, and other public services like? How close are they?

  • Is it an older, established neighborhood or a younger, still growing community?

  • Are there signs of new construction in the area?

  • What will this neighborhood look like in 10 years?

  • What are the values of other homes in the neighborhood?

  • If there are nearby restaurants and other businesses, do they bring people out during the day, or at night?

  • What's the traffic like during the week? In the evenings? On weekends?

  • Is the empty lot behind the house going to be developed?

  • Are there plans for a mega-mall or sports facility nearby?

  • Are there mass-transit options within walking distance?

If you like a neighborhood, talk to people who live there. They'll be the most knowledgeable about the area and may be your future neighbors.

Where should you look for additional neighborhood and community information?

A note about "developing" neighborhoods. Neighborhoods that are considered "up and coming" or "developing" are often attractive to homebuyers because the house values tend to be lower. This can mean more house for the money, but there are other factors to consider. Be sure you are comfortable with the neighborhood; visit it at different times of the day.

Talk to the local police and community organizations. A bigger house in a neighborhood you are not comfortable in is no deal. Additionally, a home in an "up and coming" neighborhood may be harder to sell than one in an established neighborhood."

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