The Benefits of Homebuyer Education and Counseling

The Benefits of Homebuyer Education and Counseling
Chase Sackett
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Homebuyer education and counseling can “provide timely, powerful support for prospective and current homeowners as they assess their options and make decisions,” according to an overview of the relevant research in Evidence Matters, published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research. Among the benefits of education and counseling are: expanded housing choice and options, lower housing costs, improved credit scores, higher savings, and better protection from default and foreclosure. The extent to which these benefits may materialize is significantly influenced the timing of the services, the research suggests.

Major findings

  • Well-designed, effectively delivered homeownership education and counseling are not simply associated with the range of benefits alluded to above – the most rigorous research shows they actually can cause these outcomes.
  • Services provided sooner deliver better outcomes than those provided latter, with respect to both pre- and post-purchase education and counseling – but it does not appear to matter as much whether services are provided in person, on-line, or over the telephone.
  • People benefit most from homeownership education and counseling when is “appropriate for their needs, easily accessible, and offered early in the homebuying process.”
  • The next frontier for research regarding homeownership education and counseling includes a deeper look at program design and comparative impacts across income groups.