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First-Time Home Buyers Classes: A Guide

Mar 28, 2024



If you’re a first-time home buyer, you probably have many questions about how the home buying process works. No matter how prepared you think you are, it’s hard to anticipate what the process is like until you’re in it. And that’s before you start factoring in the sizable amount of money it’ll take to buy a home.

This is why most people can benefit from enrolling in a first-time home buyers class, which we’ll discuss in great detail in just a moment.

What Is A First-Time Home Buyer Education Course?

A first-time home buyer education course is a workshop that walks you through the process of how to buy a house. Some lenders recommend – and others may even require – that you take a class.

Here’s a quick list of topics you can expect to tackle in a first-time home buyers class:

  • Whether you’re ready for homeownership
  • Budgeting and money management
  • Assessing your creditworthiness
  • Determining the type of home you can afford
  • Programs that can help buy your first home
  • Comparing different types of mortgages and lenders

This type of class is beneficial for anyone new to the home buying process, but it can also help if you’re a previous homeowner who has struggled financially.

How Long Is A First-Time Home Buyers Course?

Generally speaking, first-time home buyers courses can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Online courses are usually self-paced and can typically be completed in a day or two. Alternatively, it’s often possible to take classes in-person, with the schedule varying by provider.

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What To Expect From Your Home Buyers Course

During the class, you’ll learn vital information that will help you on your journey to homeownership and beyond. It’s an opportunity to gain a clear understanding of what the home buying process is really like.

In the next few sections, we’ll delve into some subjects that you’ll likely cover in a home buyers course.

Budgeting For Homeownership

You’ll ascertain financial management skills, such as budgeting for your home and achieving the credit score you need to buy a house. You’ll also learn how your credit rating affects the mortgage interest rates you’ll receive.

Selecting A Home

In addition, you’ll walk through the process of purchasing a home, with emphasis on how to determine how much home you can afford. Use our mortgage affordability calculator to get a sense of your house budget.

Financing Your Home Purchase 

Finding the right lender – or even the right loan – isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem. Classes for first-time home buyers are designed to give you the knowledge necessary to confidently make a decision about your mortgage loan and the lender who will serve you best.

The Right Mortgage

The most common home loan options are conventional mortgages and government-backed loans – offered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), respectively.

You’ll need to weigh conforming versus non-conforming loans, and fixed-rate loans versus adjustable-rate mortgages. There’s so much to learn, and the loan program you choose can be critical to your down payment amount, your chances of loan approval, the size of the loan you can be approved for, and more.

Rocket Mortgage® isn’t offering USDA loans at this time.

The Right Lender

A home buyers course will provide insights on the process of comparing lenders, gathering your documentation and closing on your house. How important is it to shop around? Different lenders will likely offer you different interest rates and other incentives, so choosing a lender with the most favorable terms could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

With so many lenders out there, it’s easy to become a bit overwhelmed, but a home buyers course will guide you through how to go about getting the mortgage you need to purchase your first home.

Managing A Home

You’ll also learn how to manage your home after the closing process is over and the house is yours. If you’ve never owned a home before, you may not know much about home maintenance – and you may be surprised at the cost of some home repairs. By the end of the class, you’ll have a better understanding of the costs and responsibilities that come with homeownership.

Take the first step toward the right mortgage.

Apply online for expert recommendations with real interest rates and payments.

Why First-Time Home Buyers Should Take An Online Education Course

If you’re interested in learning more about homeownership but not at all interested in attending a class in person, don’t sweat it. Plenty of online classes out there can introduce you to the information you’ll need to know.

The info you pick up will help you make better decisions throughout the home buying process and possibly open the door to first-time home buyer programs, such as Freddie Mac Home Possible® and Fannie Mae HomeReady®. These programs and others may give you access to the following perks:

  • A lower down payment
  • Government programs
  • Flexible credit requirements
  • Closing-cost assistance
  • A lower mortgage interest rate
  • Grant opportunities

Take the first step toward buying a house.

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How To Find First-Time Home Buyers Courses

If you’re not sure how to get started, take a look at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) list of approved courses. Your lender or real estate agent may also be able to point you toward a first-time home buyers course. Next, we’ll briefly discuss your basic options for attending a first-time home buyers class.

Online And On-Demand

You shouldn’t have any trouble finding and signing up for a first-time home buyers class online. You can print the materials at home and access the course when it works for you, and most online classes offer the same quality content that you’d receive if you attended in-person.

At A Nearby Location

If you prefer to take a class in-person, you can most likely find one close to home. In fact, many lenders and agents are now offering these courses. If you’re already working with a real estate agent, REALTOR or lender, ask them if they offer a first-time home buyers class.

One item to check on before signing up for any local course: If you’re trying to take a class in hopes of qualifying for a specific grant or loan program, you’ll need to make sure the course meets the requirements for that offering. You don’t want to pay for something but then find out you have to take a different course.

How Much Do Classes For First-Time Home Buyers Cost?

Home buyer education classes range in price from free to as much as $100 for the class and accompanying materials. Some programs credit your class fee to your closing costs, if you go on to buy a home. If you choose to sign up for a free first-time home buyers class, just make sure you’re signing up for an HUD-approved course. Otherwise, you won’t get access to the same benefits.

Should You Take A First-Time Home Buyers Class?

Taking a home buyers education course is never a bad idea, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. Buying a house is an involved process, and going into it armed with knowledge can help you feel more confident in your abilities to make the best decisions for you. Plus, you might even qualify for certain home buying incentives after your class is complete.

The Bottom Line: Get Your Questions Answered Before You Buy A Home

A first-time home buyers class is a great way to learn about what you’re getting into if you’re thinking about buying a house. Home buying classes are relatively affordable and usually easy to find, and they can provide you with a wealth of information that will come in handy as you begin the home buying process.

If you’re ready to get this process started, we’re here to help. Apply for your initial mortgage approval online today or give us a call at (833) 326-6018!

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Miranda Crace

Miranda Crace is a Senior Section Editor for the Rocket Companies, bringing a wealth of knowledge about mortgages, personal finance, real estate, and personal loans for over 10 years. Miranda is dedicated to advancing financial literacy and empowering individuals to achieve their financial and homeownership goals. She graduated from Wayne State University where she studied PR Writing, Film Production, and Film Editing. Her creative talents shine through her contributions to the popular video series "Home Lore" and "The Red Desk," which were nominated for the prestigious Shorty Awards. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys traveling, actively engages in the entrepreneurial community, and savors a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.