Washington, DC – When striving for financial independence, the trick isn’t identifying the goal, but choosing the right path. With that in mind, NeighborWorks America today released a new video that clears up any confusion about the value of seeking qualified financial capability coaching from nonprofit professionals.
In the fast-paced, two-minute animated video, NeighborWorks America shows how working with a financial capability coach helps a person set important financial objectives such as short- and long-term savings, investment, home-buying and retirement goals. Whether the goal is improving access to credit, buying a home or creating a personal step-by-step guide to financial success, NeighborWorks organizations are there to help.
Celebrating the nation’s independence is a great time to start putting financial independence front and center. So this weekend, as the second half of the year begins, here are some tips on how to build a stronger financial future:
Seek financial counseling and education because it works
For 35 years, NeighborWorks America and its 250 affiliates around the U.S. and Puerto Rico have been promoting financial education and homeownership counseling. Research shows that pre-purchase homebuyer education and counseling from NeighborWorks organizations can help reduce serious mortgage delinquency.
Financial counseling helps individuals establish savings goals and stick to those goals so that credit scores can be improved, and homeownership – if that is a goal – is more attainable at an affordable level.
Don’t let rising mortgage rates rush a home buying decision
Mortgage rates are volatile, and many people may rush into a home buying decision as a result, hoping to avoid higher borrowing costs. Don’t be in a hurry and buy the wrong home at the wrong time. A homeownership counselor working at a HUD-certified housing counseling agency can help potential homebuyers make the right decision.
Some news reports have suggested that prospective homebuyers choose an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) because its rate is lower than a 30-year fixed rate. While an adjustable rate mortgage is lower, a housing counselor can help prospective homebuyers choose the right mortgage. An ARM may have a low rate now, but it can go higher – perhaps much higher.
That’s why it’s important to “know your numbers.” NeighborWorks America launched the “Know Your Numbers” Campaign at the start of June – National Homeownership Month – and it is designed to explain credit scores, down payment requirements, and budgeting along with mortgage rates.
Don’t forgo a home inspection even if the home sale market is competitive
There are fewer homes on the market for sale, especially at prices affordable for many first-time homebuyers. To be a competitive bidder on a home, some experts are suggesting that buyers forgo a home inspection. Don’t do it! Not having a home inspection could be costly right away if defects in important systems such as electrical or heating, and in the home’s structure itself are found shortly after moving in. The staff at the more than 100 NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers around the country can help a homebuyer identify a qualified home inspector.
Go green for long-term cost savings
It’s now well established that living in an energy-efficient green home can reduce monthly utility bills. But there are more financial benefits to ‘going green’ in a home than lower energy costs. Health costs can be lower, too, because of green homes. That’s because the use of more healthful paint and flooring products, design of the home for better indoor air quality and more, can reduce the incidence of asthma and other respiratory problems and sickness, keeping children in school more and consumers taking fewer sick days. Choosing to go green can be a great up-front investment that pays off financially in the long-run.
About NeighborWorks America
For 35 years, NeighborWorks America has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.