The kind of homebuyer counseling and education that MANNA does through its Homebuyers Club increases credit scores, encourages better communication with lenders, and improves participants understanding of how mortgages work.
That’s according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on its early findings from a massive study of homebuyer education and counseling programs across the country. HUD looked at almost 6,000 households in 28 metro areas between September 2013 and January 2016 in a study that is being billed as “groundbreaking in its scale.”
Joseph Coates is a MANNA homeowner and member of the Housing Advocacy Team who recently also became a part of MANNA’s board of directors. He says that the Homebuyers Club was a huge help to him in the home buying process.
By attending evening classes for a just a few hours each month, Coates learned about how to improve his credit score, apply for loans, and save money for a down payment. Coates was also part of a special program that matched a portion of participants’ savings so as to incentivize greater investment.
“The biggest thing I got out of it was being prepared for what HPAP [the Home Purchase Assistance Program] and the banks—you know, the money people—what they would want,” says Coates. “If I hadn’t went through the Homebuyers Club, I wouldn’t have been ready. I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Rev. Jim Dickerson, MANNA’s CEO, says that the HUD report simply reinforces what MANNA’s leadership has known for years.
MANNA has built over 1200 homes in DC since its start in 1982. It has a paltry 3% foreclosure rate and not a single one since 2008.
“That,” says Dickerson, “is due in large part to our homebuyer counseling services.”
Thomas “TC” Caviness, MANNA’s newly hired Director of Homebuyer Education and Counseling, says that this report shows the importance of MANNA and the Homebuyers Club.
“Whenever you educate yourself before you start the process, you increase your chances of being successful.”
Coates, the MANNA homeowner, agrees. He says that for those who stick with the program, buying a home is as simple as “just doing what they tell you to do.”
Those who are interested in joining or learning more about the Homebuyers Club can visit http://www.mannadc.org/homebuyer-club/.