With a new national survey showing that three out of four people think that buying a home is a complicated process, Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is encouraging consumers to seek advice from a professional housing counselor before consulting other sources. AAFE is a part of the NeighborWorks network, a group of more than 235 nonprofit organizations supported by grants and technical assistance from NeighborWorks America, the Washington, DC-based nonprofit that commissioned the survey.

Despite this widespread agreement that home-buying is challenging, the survey found that nearly four in 10 consumers seek advice on home buying and foreclosure prevention from friends and family first, before consulting with professionals. For example, when asked whom they would consult first when considering purchasing a home, respondents cited real-estate agents only 15 percent of time, followed by mortgage lenders (9 percent).  Most people seemed not to be aware of the existence of nonprofit, certified housing counselors.

“This means we have a lot of work to do to inform the public about what AAFE has to offer to help make homeownership achievable in the long run,” said Executive Director Christopher Kui. “Friends and family offer invaluable emotional support and information, but they shouldn’t replace trusted, professional advisors who are current with all of the regulations and are trained to evaluate each person’s unique situation.”

The nationally representative telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted for NeighborWorks America by Widmeyer Communications, a Finn Partners Company, September 23-26.

Homeownership is a widely held goal, according to the survey, and helping people achieve that dream is a major part of what AAFE does every day. In fact, the survey found that 77 percent of adults across the country have either not changed their view towards homeownership (67 percent) or changed it for the better (10 percent), even after the worst housing crisis in decades.

Among the reasons to consult a housing counselor first when considering homeownership are:

  1. A study conducted earlier this year for NeighborWorks America found that consumers who received housing counseling and education from AAFE and others in the NeighborWorks network were significantly less likely to become seriously delinquent on their mortgages two years later.
  2. Buying a home is an expensive proposition, and housing counselors can connect consumers with available down-payment assistance programs that reduce the initial cost of homeownership.
  3. Housing counselors at AAFE work with a homebuyer through every step of the process, including offering unbiased information about mortgage products and neighborhoods.
AAFE’s affiliate AAFE Community Development Fund (AAFE CDF) is a richly experienced organization in the field of homeownership outreach, education, and counseling. AAFE CDF is dedicated to promoting and advancing homeownership for minority, immigrant, low- and moderate- income, and underserved populations of New York City. Since its inception in 1999, AAFE CDF has secured over $295 million in mortgage financing for over 1,950 clients, while providing counseling to some 8,000 prospective homeowners.

“This survey shows that homeownership is a goal many people want to achieve,” said NeighborWorks America CEO Eileen M. Fitzgerald. “But they need trusted advisors to help them navigate what can be a confusing process. AAFE is serving as that resource, helping New York City residents live in affordable homes.”

For more information on the survey, please click here.

About NeighborWorks® America

For 35 years, NeighborWorks America has created opportunities for people to improve
their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe
and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have
generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks
America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing