SMOC Housing Consumer Education Center

First Time Home Buyer Course

7 Bishop Street · Framingham MA 01702
508-620-2402 or 508-872-0765· FAX 508-620-2697

Information Advocacy and Referral for Tenants Homeowners
and Property Owners in MetroWest

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I take this course and what will I get out of it?

If you’ve never purchased a home and are thinking about, this course is designed for you. The four evening sessions will teach you the ins and outs of the homebuying process; from getting your finances ready to selecting a real estate broker and lender, from finding the right house to making sure it is in good condition.

Homebuying is a complicated process with many opportunities to make expensive mistakes. This course can save you thousands of dollars by teaching you how to avoid the costly mistakes that first time homebuyers often make.

Graduates of the course receive a certificate of completion that is valid for one year.

I have heard about special programs for first time homebuyers that save money. What are they?

Local homebuyer programs are designed to help low and moderate income consumers afford their first home. These programs usually include reduced interest rates, low down payment, and reduction in monthly costs. To be eligible, you must meet income guidelines. There are approximately 40 programs in Massachusetts, and the course explains them all. By the way, most of these local homebuyer programs require consumers to take a certified first time homebuyer course like ours to qualify.

What do I need to buy a home?

Anybody who wants to purchase a home needs these three things:

  • Good credit—it doesn’t need to be perfect. You will learn about homebuying credit requirements at our course.
  • Sufficient income—you need enough income to pay the mortgage. That usually means you must be employed.
  • Down payment—plan to put down a minimum of 3% to 5% of the total home cost as a down payment, and have additional $2000-4000 available for closing costs and initial expenses.

There are special programs that allow you to buy a home with no down payment, but you will still need some money at closing.

Who teaches the course?

A certified first-time home buyer educator teaches the SMOC first time homebuyer course. The course also has special guest speakers who are professionals in the homebuying process. You will have the opportunity to hear and speak with a financial advisor, a realtor specializing in representing buyers, mortgage bankers, a home inspector, and a real estate attorney. These professionals volunteer their time to help new homebuyers and will answer your specific questions.

I have a friend who bought a house from a SMOC lottery; do you have low-cost houses for sale?

SMOC has no plans to offer any homes for sale at this time. If the agency does offer a lottery in the future, first time homebuyer graduates will be notified.

Lotteries are one way that consumers with low to moderate incomes can purchase their first home. Each community in Massachusetts has the choice whether to build new affordable housing. You will learn in the course how to locate lotteries and apply.

Houses seem so expensive in the Metrowest region. How can I afford a home if I don’t make a lot of money?

Good question! In the course, you will learn how much you can afford to spend on a home, and how much a bank will loan you for a home. Armed with that specific information, you will be ready to set your priorities. Our course will assist you in the step by step process of homebuying. The big questions are: where to live? what kind of home to search for?, and how much do I need to spend?

If you take the course, be prepared to look at these questions.

I know I want to buy a home, but I may not be ready right now; it may take me one or two years to get ready. Should I take the course now, or should I wait until I am ready to buy?

Another good question. The course will provide you with a homebuying education. This training will help you whenever you purchase your first home, now or in the future. If you feel unprepared now and have plenty of questions, taking the course now will help you set goals towards the purchase. For many people, it is a 2-5 year process to get ready. The course will help you get ready.

If you do not purchase a home within one year of taking the course, you must meet with the instructor for a single-session refresher course to have your certificate of completion reinstated for one year.

For more information call the Home Center at 508-620-2402/508-872-0765