stock-photo-5786746-african-american-familyNew Home Buyers

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Finding Safe, Reliable and Affordable Loans
First-Time Home Buyers
New Rules for Banks

Whether this is your first house or your fifth, buying a home is exciting.  It can also be intimidating.  Get help deciding whether you are ready to purchase a home, searching for the best financing and home insurance, and avoiding predatory lending practices.  In Southern California, high-quality educational workshops, counseling and other services are available to people of all different income levels.


  • East LA Community Corporation’s Community Wealth Department educates and empowers people to realize their financial dreams.  If you are low-income, they can help you establish a savings account, build your credit, transition to mainstream financial services, avoid foreclosure, and purchase your first home. For more information, call (323) 604-1973.
  • NeighborWorks (also known as Neighborhood Housing Services) helps home buyers find the right affordable loan.  As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), NeighborWorks finances income-qualified borrowers through its revolving loan fund.  NeighborWorks also works with lenders to offer affordable loan products as well as assistance with down payment and closing costs for new home buyers. For more information, contact Neighborhood Housing Services – Los Angeles County at (888) 895-2647; NeighborWorks - Orange County at (714) 490-1250; or Neighborhood Housing Services - Inland Empire at (909) 884-6891.


  • The Center for California Homeowner Association Law is a clearinghouse of consumer education, training, and referral services for the estimated 9 million California homeowners, who now live in a common interest development (CID) and for consumers who are considering purchasing an association home.
  • East LA Community Corporation provides personal counseling and an 8-hour workshop series for first-time home buyers. The workshops provide general information.  Counseling helps home buyers pre-qualify for a mortgage, create individual action plans to make their home ownership dream a reality. For services, call (323) 604-1973.
  • Legal Aid Society of Orange County (a member of the California Consumer Justice Coalition) provides free housing counseling to residents of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. For services, call (800) 834-5001.
  • NeighborWorks offers education for first-time home buyers on how to qualify and finance a home purchase.  They also offer housing counseling, credit counseling and financial planning classes. For services, contact the websites and numbers provided above.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds non-profit agencies throughout the country to provide free counseling about buying a home for the first time. Many agencies with HUD-approved counselors also offer related services, such as financial management classes and home maintenance education. Their sites are worth exploring.


The federal Community Reinvestment Act requires commercial banks and savings associations to meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of the communities they serve, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The law was passed to end discriminatory lending-practices, called redlining.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau creates rules that regulate the lending process.  These rules tell banks how to share information with consumers about their legal rights and how to resolve errors and problems with that arise with a homeowner’s mortgage.