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Buying a Home? Get CreditSmart

VP Christina Diaz-Malone June is National Homeownership Month, so it's an appropriate time to ask: Have you ever thought about buying your own home? With mortgage rates near all-time lows, it may be the perfect time to get started. 

Owning your own home can help you build a strong foundation for the future. It can bring financial security for your family and stability for your children. It creates community stakeholders who have a vested interest in their neighborhoods.

Freddie Mac provides you the tools you need to start on the path to becoming a successful homeowner through our financial education curriculum, CreditSmart®. It's free, available in five languages, and widely used by lenders, educators, nonprofits, and consumer organizations. And now, with our new self-paced online version, it's more accessible than ever. 

Through our trusted intermediaries, CreditSmart has provided more than 3 million consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their credit, their money, and their homes.

CreditSmart has a lot to offer. It can help you build or repair credit, create a budget, decide if owning a home is right for you, make sound financial decisions, and avoid costly scams. You'll learn what types of mortgages are available and how to shop for a home loan. You'll even get tips on finding a real estate agent who's right for you. 

If you need some free, reliable answers, visit CreditSmart online or attend an instructor-led training class with a HUD-approved housing counselor.

Take our quiz to find out how CreditSmart could help you become a more informed consumer (answers below):

  1. How much should my mortgage payment be?
  2. What are the four primary factors lenders and creditors consider in determining my creditworthiness?
  3. What should my down payment be?
  4. True or false:  If my credit report has errors, the law puts the responsibility on the credit reporting agency to conduct an investigation and correct any errors. 
  5. What is the most important component of my credit report?

Is homeownership right for you? Don't just guess. By becoming a savvier consumer, you can make smart financial decisions to help you build a sound future. 

A Family's First Home

Meet a family that bought their first home with help from CreditSmart, Freddie Mac's financial education curriculum: 

Eleanor Gotell, a single working mother, had always wanted her two boys to grow up in a home of their own. Gotell, who lives near Atlanta, was eager to explore her options and see what was possible financially. She took that first important step by going to a CreditSmart workshop at her local church. 

Sponsored by Freddie Mac's Borrower Help Center in Georgia – and facilitated by the HUD-approved housing counseling agency D&E – the classes gave her the knowledge and support she needed to become an informed homebuyer.  

With the help of CreditSmart, housing counseling, and down payment assistance, Gotell purchased her first home that next year. 

"I was able to accomplish my life-long dream of buying a home … AMEN!" said Gotell. "I came to the classes with no established credit and this program helped me to truly understand credit, as well as learn how to obtain and use credit cards effectively. I am eternally grateful to both D&E and CreditSmart for helping me and my family accomplish our dream of homeownership, a goal that I first thought was impossible!"

Answers

  1. Less than 28 percent of your monthly gross income   
  2. Capacity (ability to pay back the loan), Capital (money and savings to close on your home loan), Collateral (the house you are pledging as security for getting the loan), Credit (your credit history)
  3. Expect a down payment to be between 5 to 20 percent of the purchase price for a conventional mortgage, in today's market
  4. True 
  5. Whether or not you make your payments on time. Late payments (30, 60, or 90 days) are "red flags" and you may risk being denied credit or pay more to get it in the future.

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