Post-homebuying counseling key to successful homeownership journey

Becoming a homeowner is a monumental achievement. For most, it is a dream come true. However, the excitement of walking through the front door of your new home can sometimes overshadow the importance of all the responsibilities that come with homeownership. It is not anything like being a renter. There is no one to call; it is all on you.

The actions taken in the first 12-18 months are crucial to setting yourself up for success and sustaining your investment. That is why participants in the Midtown Redevelopment Authority/Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement affordable housing program have access to post-homebuying counseling offered by the Houston Area Urban League.

One of the biggest blunders new homeowners make is succumbing to all the temptations associated with having collateral. They sign the closing papers on the mortgage and then turn around and buy a new car or furniture to go with the new house. People will always be willing to give you credit, but to avoid problems, you must look at your budget, realize there is no extra cash, and get used to it. Otherwise, you risk being over-extended and unable to make that new mortgage payment.

New homeowners also overlook essential tasks like signing up for their homestead tax exemption, and they often ignore the annual property appraisal from the Harris County Appraisal District. Sign up for the homestead exemption in the first month following your closing. You do not need to hire anyone to do this. Do it yourself by following the instructions here or contact HAUL for guidance. Then, watch for the annual property appraisal from the Harris County Appraisal District. Do not be surprised if the valuation is higher than what you paid for the home. That is normal, especially given the current housing market. You can challenge the decision. Again, HAUL can help.

Another overlooked and misunderstood aspect is the role of homeowner associations (HOAs). These entities are quick to act, including foreclosure, if homeowners fail to follow deed restrictions and meet other obligations. Post-homebuying counseling helps individuals understand the rules and regulations governing their neighborhoods, allowing them to avoid potential pitfalls.

In an era where homeownership rates are declining, especially in communities of color, post-homebuying counseling is more crucial than ever. It equips individuals with the knowledge and resources needed to buy and keep a home, building financial stability and potentially generational wealth.

HAUL is there to be a long-term resource for the buyers participating in the MRA/CCPPI program. Call them if you receive any notices you do not understand. Use them as a sounding board before agreeing to major repairs or improvements with a contractor. Ask for their help in understanding the appraisal process. They will even walk you through the simple things like how to change a light bulb.

The first step in securing your homeownership journey is recognizing that it does not end at the closing table. Post-homebuying counseling ensures you are prepared for the responsibilities ahead, helping you avoid foreclosure or financial setbacks. Reach out for post-homebuying counseling and secure your path to long-term success in homeownership. Your dream home deserves nothing less.

Learn more about the MRA/CCPPI program, watch testimonials from new homeowners, find out if you qualify and meet our builders here.