Homebuyer University

Welcome to the Homebuyer University resource page. Utilize the guides and information found in this page to help you prepare for successful homeownership. Remember that no general online forms or standard recommendations can replace the value of individualized, one on one support. In addition, structured training sessions designed specifically for homeownership preparation are highly effective at delivering broad training that will help improve your experience and success as a homebuyer.

To sign up for an in-person Homebuyer Training session, contact FISC at 1.800.366.8161. To view the online training course, visit Make Your Move: A Guide To Homeownership.

An additional quality online homebuyer resource is the Freddie Mac CreditSmart Consumer Online Training, which discusses in great detail credit, financial management and the home purchase process. Note that completion of the FreddieMac online program will not satisfy the homebuyer education requirements of the assistance programs administered through the Winnebago Homebuyer Program.

Chapter 1. Why NOT To Buy A Home

Purchasing, maintaining, and eventually selling your home all involves significant resources and a good deal of risk on your part. Being informed and prepared is one important part of successful homeownership, but so is knowing when you shouldn't purchase. The time is not always right, and the idea of homeownership as an investment is likewise not always right.

Before jumping into the world of homeownership, please take 1 hour - a well spent hour - and read through these Why Not to Buy guides:

1. Why Not to Buy a Home Part 1: Financial Costs to Purchase a Home and the Slow and Small Rate of Return

2. Why Not to Buy a Home Part 2: Landlord, Will You Fix This? Wait...

Chapter 2. Financial Management: Budgets, Debt, and Savings

If you have already reviewed the reasons for NOT BUYING A HOME, and you've decided that homeownership is something you are dedicated to pursuing, then you are in the right place to get the ball rolling. Before purchasing, you will need to fully have your financial house in order. This means that you will need to demonstrate excellent budgeting skills, a sharp attention to ensuring all bills are paid timely, restraint concerning taking on too much debt, and an ability to set a little money aside for a savings. This chapter focuses on getting your finances in order to enable homeownership in the future.

4. Basics of Budgeting (UW Extension Publication). The ability to effectively maintain and demonstrate a strong, working budget is the essential, basic foundation for successful home ownership. Consider this your mandatory first step in purchasing a home. At the end of this section, you should be able to develop your monthly budget that considers all sources of income and details where all of the funds go. If you participate in the Winnebago Homebuyer Program, you will be required to produce a detailed, written budget (typed is preferred).

5. Debt Management Basics: Your debt numbers will have a strong impact on your ability to move forward with the homebuyer process. You won't be able to qualify for a loan if you have past due debts, judgements or other delinquencies. You also will be unable to move forward if you have too much debt.

First, you need to be current on your debt obligations. The only exception is a minor medical delinquency. Second, your debt amounts are limited to the 30/10 rule, in which your housing costs are limited to 30% of your gross monthly income (GMI) and your debts are limited to 10% of GMI. There is some wiggle room - your debts can go up to 12% of GMI, but this lowers your housing costs to 28%. Debts include monthly obligations such as credit card payments, loan payments such as for a vehicle and school, payments on judgements or fines, and other monthly repayment terms. For example, if you earn $3000/month, this limits your total allowable debt obligation to $300-$360, a limit that is very challenging to meet for many families.

The Debt Management Basics for Homeownership(UW Extension Publication) handout will help you strategize a management system for your debt obligations to help move you closer towards homeownership.

6. Savings Through Spending Less:There are many great resources on the Internet regarding tips and strategies to help you save money. We've pulled out a few that are good at addressing some of the easiest ways to help you spend less.

            i. 54 Ways to Save Money

            ii. Home Energy Savings. Read through each of the home energy savings sections.

            iii. Saving Money on Gas

            iv. Saving Money on Food Costs

7. Developing a Savings: Purchasing a home requires the availability of funds at time of purchase both for spending on the actual purchase as well as for keeping as a savings account that is not spent. This savings account that you keep will help cover you in case of emergency, as well as serve as a foundation for your maintenance savings. Here is a guide for Savings 101, as well as a Savings Chart that shows how savings can add up for you.

Chapter 3. Financial Management: Credit

Your credit rating tells a lender how "risky" it would be for them to lend you money. This impacts you in two important ways: a. Limiting your ability to qualify for a loan; and b. How much you have to pay to obtain a loan.

Most lenders are going to look for you to have a minimum credit score of 630, with the target minimum goal being 680.

1. Comprehensive Guide to Credit Management

Chapter 4. Homeownership Financing In Partnership with the Winnebago Homebuyer Program
Chapter 5. Home Search and Purchase

Review each of the following prior to starting your home search to ensure you get started in the right direction from the beginning.

1.A GUIDE TO YOUR HOME SEARCH

2.QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR REALTOR

3.HOME INSPECTION FAQs

4.Virtual Home Inspection Training

5. For Sale By Owner? HERE IS A GUIDE for things to consider, as well as program requirements, if moving forward with a for sale by owner transaction.

6. YOUR HOME INSPECTION(S)