Homeownership Counseling

Our HUD-certified counselors help you understand the home buying process and prepare you for the responsibilities of homeownership. If you are buying a home for the first time or just want some advice on how to prepare for homeownership you should consider meeting with a counselor before you buy!

Homeownership counseling addresses the following topics:

  • Preparing to apply for a mortgage
  • How much you can afford
  • Understanding credit
  • Selecting a realtor, lender and other professionals involved with the process
  • Keeping your home and managing your finances

Housing counseling consists of two components: in-person housing counseling and 6-hours of education either in-person or online. Both must be completed to access down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

What should I do to get started?

  • Take our online quiz today to see if you are ready to start the home buying process
    –OR–
  • Call our office and we’ll help you decide if you should start with education or counseling
    –OR–
  • If you know you want to start with a counseling session, download our intake packet and send it back with the documents listed on the checklist and we’ll get you scheduled with a counselor.

After completing both in-person counseling and education you will receive a Housing Counseling Voucher, which states you have completed the requirements of housing counseling. Once you have a ratified contract your lender will complete the voucher, and send it to our office to receive a copy of your Housing Counseling Certificate.

Please note: You have to complete both the online OR group education as well as the one-on-one before you submit a contract on a home. If you are thinking about buying, call us today!

Education

If you are ready for education (credit score above 640, savings greater than $2,500 and/or a pre-approval from a lender) you can register for our workshop or enroll in online education.

If you aren’t sure you’re ready please call our office today and we can help guide you.

Please note: If you are buying in Baltimore County you have to attend an in-person workshop. You cannot complete online education if you’d like to access the Maryland Mortgage Program before January 2019.

Homeownership Workshops

If you are buying in Baltimore City, you can choose:

Dates

Registration is open until the day before the workshop.

  • January 13—registration opens December 18
  • February 10—registration opens January 19  SOLD OUT
  • March 17—registration opens February 23
  • April 14—CANCELED
  • May 12—registration opens April 20  SOLD OUT
  • June 9—registration opens May 18
  • July 14—registration opens June 22
  • September 15—registration opens August 24
  • October 13—registration opens September 21
  • November 17—registration opens October 26
  • December 15—registration opens November 23
Location

St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center
317 E. 25th Street

Hours

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Free continental breakfast and lunch are provided.

Fees
  • Baltimore City Group Workshop: $110
  • A spouse, co-borrower, or Special Needs Assistant may attend the group workshop at no additional charge.
  • If you are seeking to purchase with the assistance of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program or the Homeownership for Individuals with Disabilities Program (HIDP) or your income is less than $35,000, the workshop will be free. Please contact us to register.

If you are buying in Baltimore County you cannot take the online workshop and access down payment and closing cost assistance.

Fee: $99

We offer an online home-buying education course to give you the opportunity to complete the course at your leisure and convenience. The course has quizzes and allows you to repeat information to make sure you understand everything clearly.

eHome America is based on the NeighborWorks America Realizing the American Dream curriculum and meets the National Industry Standards for home owner education.

What topics are covered?
  • Are you ready to buy a home
  • Managing your money
  • Understanding credit
  • Getting a mortgage loan
  • Shopping for a home
  • Keeping your home and managing your finances
Key features of this course:
  • Complete at your own pace
  • Animated videos covering all materials
  • Easy-to-read content with highlighted keywords
  • Quizzes throughout course to ensure understanding
  • Instant access to local homeownership counselor
  • An official English and Spanish online education and certification course
  • Printable certificate at end of course

Please note: If you are considering buying in the county you should not take the online workshop.

In-Person Group Workshop

Registration is open one day only.

At St. Ambrose:

  • January 27—register January 5
  • February 24—register February 2

Special Event
HOMEisWheretheHeartIsEXPO2018

April 21, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Woodlawn High School

At the Catonsville Library:

  • April 28—CANCELED
  • June 23—register June 1  SOLD OUT

At St. Ambrose:

  • July 14—register June 22 to July 13.
  • September 29—register September 7
  • October 27—register October 5
  • December 1—register November 16
Locations

St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center
317 E. 25th Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Catonsville Library
1100 Frederick Road
Catonsville, MD 21228

Hours

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Free continental breakfast and lunch are provided.

Fee

There is no fee for the Baltimore County Workshop.

Please note: If you are considering buying in the county you should not take the online workshop.

In-Person Group Workshop

Registration is open one day only.

At St. Ambrose:

  • January 27—register January 5
  • February 24—register February 2

Special Event
HOMEisWheretheHeartIsEXPO2018

April 21, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Woodlawn High School

At the Catonsville Library:

  • April 28—CANCELED
  • June 23—register June 1  SOLD OUT

At St. Ambrose:

  • July 14—register June 22 to July 13.
  • September 29—register September 7
  • October 27—register October 5
  • December 1—register November 16
Locations

St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center
317 E. 25th Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Catonsville Library
1100 Frederick Road
Catonsville, MD 21228

Hours

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Free continental breakfast and lunch are provided.

Fee

There is no fee for the workshop.

One-on-One Home-Buying Counseling

In order to obtain your Housing Counseling Voucher you must complete both in-person counseling and the education component.

If you:

  • are just getting started,
  • know you have to improve your credit and/or savings, or
  • just want to meet with a counselor before you attend a workshop/enroll in online education,

please complete our intake packet and gather the documents listed on the checklist. Once we receive a complete intake packet we can schedule an appointment with a counselor.

If you’ve completed education and still need to schedule your in-person counseling session please complete our intake packet and gather the documents listed on the checklist. Once we receive a complete intake packet we can schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Please note: You must complete the group or online education and the one-on-one before submitting a contract on a home.

Our certified counselors will review income and expenses in an effort to provide a unique action plan for each client to prepare for the loan application process as well as homeownership. Counselors will inform the client of current home-buying incentives, answer questions, and give appropriate referrals. The one-on-one sessions are scheduled Monday through Thursday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m and appointments vary from one to two hours depending upon where you are in the process.

Please complete our intake packet, gather the documents and send the complete package to our office as soon as possible so we can schedule your counseling appointment.

Before you attend your one-on-one you will need to complete our intake packet and return it to our office with the following documents:

  • 2 most recent pay stubs
  • 2 years of tax returns and W2’s with all attachments; 3 years if self-employed
  • 2 most recent bank statements
  • Copy of recent credit report if available; if not, one will be pulled in the office.
  • Pre-approval letter if available

We need these documents and the intake packet before scheduling your appointment.

ARE YOU READY TO BUY?