Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

Secrets of Successful Homebuyers

There is no one better to go to for homebuying advice than someone who’s walked the path to homeownership before you. We asked five HomeFree-USA clients to share the secrets of their success.

There is no one better to go to for homebuying advice than someone who’s walked the path to homeownership before you. These HomeFree-USA clients share some lessons they picked up along the way.

Put financial education first. Before he started looking for houses, Ishmail wanted to make sure he had as much information as possible so he contacted HomeFree-USA. His homeownership advisor, Freda Williams, told him what to consider when searching for a home, and provided advice on managing his credit and making sure his finances were mortgage-ready.

Don’t let age deter you. You are never too old or too young to be a first-time homebuyer.  AcQuan saw the wisdom in getting an early start on reaching his financial goals so he bought his first home at 27. Waiting didn’t make sense to him because  “you’re not getting anything from renting,” he says.

Conquer your credit challenges. Daphine thought her less-than-stellar credit would keep her from joining the ranks of homeowners. However, HomeFree-USA taught her proven ways to improve her credit score such as paying down debt and automating bill payments so they are always paid on time. The hard work paid off and Daphine was happy to see her credit score jump nearly 250 points. 

Prepare your budget for homeownership. When Kevin was ready to buy a house, HomeFree-USA helped him do a money makeover.  “They made it clear how to manage my finances and how to budget and they also gave me a clearer view of my expenses,” he says. Not only did Kevin come away with a better understanding of how to manage his finances from day to day, but he learned more effective ways to save. As a result, he had money not just for buying a house but for expenses and emergencies after he moved in.

Be very organized. Keep documents and copies of everything, says first-time homebuyer Victoria.  If you’re unsure what documents you need, a HomeFree-USA Advisor can let you know what steps you should take to put herself in the best position to buy a home, she adds. 

Share your story with others. Once you’ve achieved your dream of homeownership, encourage someone else to do the same. Ishmail has inspired many of his friends who have dreamed of owning a home but feared it was not possible. “I've convinced five people to go to a first-time homebuyer’s course,” he says. “I told them, ‘if I can do it, I can help you do it.”