We have two ways buyers can get a first-time homebuyer
certificate - either by taking our in-person first-time homebuyer workshop
($100 per household) meeting in Newburyport or by taking the Framework online
course ($75 per household) followed by a one-on-one consultation ($25) conducted by phone.
Buyers completing the in-person workshops get the CHAPA
certificate, which is good for Mass Housing, the MHP One Mortgage, and other
more local programs offered by local lenders. The workshops meet from noon to about 5 pm on Saturday and
Sunday in downtown Newburyport. The address and parking arrangements are given
to all registered households. We are not able to accommodate walk-ins.
Buyers doing the Framework program go through a set of seven
modules, in their own time, answering a set of questions at the end of each
module. Some people complete the program in a day or two, others may take longer
depending on how often they log on. Once they have completed all the modules, we schedule a phone call in which they get to ask any questions they may still have. Those who complete the Framework program get
the nationally recognized HUD certificate.
Occasionally a buyer takes the in-person workshop but later
gets into a mortgage program that requires a HUD certificate. They can then
take the Framework program, but I will waive the consultation.
When people ask me which first time homebuyer program is
better, it’s difficult to say because each has its own advantages. The in-person
workshop includes guest speakers who actually work in their field, their area
of the whole real estate process. Participants get to ask questions of a home
inspector, a lawyer, a realtor, or a mortgage originator. I explain it as a
safe harbor. You can ask questions without having to make decisions. This may
be better for people just starting out, who are just learning about the whole
idea of buying their first home.
The Framework program, though, can be done quickly without
having to wait for our next scheduled workshop. Occasionally I hear from people
who are closing on their home very soon but now realize they need a
certificate. They may need it within a week or just a few days. The Framework
program is for them, especially if we just finished a workshop and won’t have
another one that month.
The best time to take a first time homebuyer workshop is as
early in the process as possible. People who take it at the end have
consistently told me over the years that they wish they had taken it sooner.
So now we have two options. In-person and online. If you
have any questions, please email me at EOLeary@CoastalHB.org.
Our schedule is listed on our blog and each workshop is listed on the CHAPA
Ellie O’Leary, Executive Director, Coastal Homebuyer