The American Dream, for many people, includes buying a home that you can call your own and living the good life of happiness, comfort, and peace. Buying a home, however, is not as easy as it may be made to look. With quick closings and loose credit, many new home owners got their piece of the American Dream. The maintaining of this dream is the real challenge though. Buying a home through financing is not hard, but keeping the home can be quite the challenge. Some people say “buyer beware” and feel new home owners should do their own diligence or get an attorney. However there is another way: there should be strong incentives for first-time home buyers who undergo counseling as this should lead to less foreclosures, less irresponsible home-buying, and less unscrupulous or predatory lending practices.

Having a foreclosure is not a desirable situation for a home owner. Yet, it has been happening now more than ever over the past several years. Families are displaced, children are unstable, and banks are losing money. Can all this be avoided? The short answer is “yes it can.” Education is the key to a lot of things and if more people who wanted to become home owners would get counseling about the whole home buying and home keeping process, there would probably be less foreclosures on the market today.

Getting pre-home buyer counseling is very important in my opinion because many new home owners are so excited to become home owners that they do not get thoroughly educated on the subject before making that big leap. They do not really understand the big responsibility behind the mortgage that they sign for and they do not know about the terms of their agreement. For these and other reasons, many new home owners fall victim to mortgages that sound good in the beginning, but get out of hand and burdensome after the first few years. Receiving counseling about the home buying process is a good way of educating the potential homeowner and the more knowledge that this group has about the process is the less chance that there is of a hasty rush to buy a house and an eventual foreclosure.

Consumers were buying homes without much planning when the credit system was easy. It was irresponsible and many consumers did not give the whole process much thought. In the long run, many new home owners suffered and so did the banks as the consumers could not manage many of these loans. Educating these potential home owners through counseling is sure to lead to less incidents of irresponsible home buying. This irresponsible home buying includes the idea of the home owner that his or her interest rate on the loan is fixed for the life of the loan when it is actually not fixed.

The banks and finance companies that fund and service these mortgage loans are not blameless in this situation of foreclosure madness. There have been unscrupulous and predatory lending practices employed by some lenders in the name of making an extra dollar. There is no place for deception in the mortgage business and if more consumers would have received counseling, they would have been less vulnerable to such predatory lending practices.

Why do not more consumers undergo counseling before they rush to jump into a 30-year mortgage with unfavorable terms? Some consumers are not aware of the importance of the counseling and others may not even be aware that extensive counseling exists. This is why it is important to provide incentives for home owner prospects to receive this counseling. This is a way to publicize the counseling and its importance. If a consumer is aware of the counseling and does not want to hear it, perhaps some incentive might entice him or her to listen. For instance, there could be a discounted rate of interest for consumers who present a home owner counseling certificate to participating lenders. This would work out a lot of positive partnerships in the lending community as lenders would also be on their best behaviors since consumers would now have incentives to be educated about how the lending and home buying process actually works.