Americans who understand the process of buying a home can achieve the American Dream in this market of historically low mortgage rates and affordable homes.

But those who aren’t prepared in advance to make the numerous and complicated decisions necessary to close the deal may be buying into a nightmare instead.  In fact, research shows that persons participating in a pre-purchase education program have a decreased risk of default or foreclosure.

Thanks to Ohio State University Extension’s 65-page publication (Bulletin 946), Homebuyer’s Guide, wannabe home owners can receive a pre-purchase education concerning the pros and cons of homeownership, different types of mortgages, basic home maintenance and options if it becomes difficult to make mortgage payments.

It’s more complicated to buy a house today than it was 10 years ago, according to Nancy Stenhulak, the guide’s primary author.  She continues, “For example, it’s a bigger trick to compare costs and fees from lenders and understand the total cost of different loans.  In the Homebuyer’s Guide, one of the worksheets helps a buyer compare loans from different institutions to figure out which one you want to live with for the next 30 years.”

The guide includes chapters on the following subjects:

Owning a Home, including advantages and disadvantages of homeownership.   Money for Housing, including examining net worth and understanding credit reports.   Finding a Home and Making an Offer, including prioritizing features you want in a home, finding a real estate agent and common contingency clauses.   Selecting a Mortgage, including qualifying for a mortgage, shopping for a mortgage, and understanding loan terms and the loan process.   Closing the Deal, including preparing for closing and costs associated with closing.   Success as a Homeowner, including preventing mortgage delinquency and default and managing your property.

“One of the jobs of OSU Extension is to help Ohioans make wise financial decisions,” Stehulak said.  “We hope this Homebuyer’s Guide goes a long way toward that goal for anyone who is thinking about buying a home.”

The guide is available from OSU Extension offices statewide and from the Extension’s eStore at http://go.osu.edu/hbguide for $9.75 plus shipping, or to download it as a PDF for $5.

from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, press release   March 27, 2012

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