Home Buyer Education

Our home buyer education services follow the guidelines required by HUD. We offer 8 hours of pre-purchase education through workshops and 1-on-1 counseling. During our 1-on-1 sessions, we customize an action plan, review credit and create a spending plan for each individual client to reach his or her goals of financial success and homeownership.

Your home will likely be the biggest investment of your life. Our pre-purchase counseling will make help you make it a wise investment as well. Home Purchase Advisors will give you the information you need to make smart decisions, including:

  • What to look for in a home
  • What down payment or other financial assistance is available to help you.
  • What type of homeownership option is best for you, such as detached single-family, condo or town home, two- or three-flat
  • How to choose a real estate agent
  • How to shop for the best mortgage and what types of mortgage products to avoid
  • How to avoid discrimination and predatory lenders
  • How and why you need to hire an independent attorney and inspector
  • How to shop for homeowners insurance
  • What to expect at closing

For those clients that are not able to attend one of our workshops, we offer online homebuyer education through our partnership with eHomeAmerica. Our education model is unique among non-profit housing counseling organizations in that it aligns all of the steps of home buying into a goal-oriented, customer-centric, seamless process.


Down Payment Assistance

Through our West Cook Homeownership program, we can now provide financial assistance in the form of grants and forgivable loans through the West Cook Advantage (WCA) Program, Cook County HOME funds, the Summit Townhouse DR Project, and other forms of down payment and closing costs assistance. We partner with our preferred lenders and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to qualify buyers for all of their mortgage products and down payment assistance. Other down payment programs available to our clients include Federal Home Loan Bank and various employer-assisted housing programs.

The West Cook Advantage Program provides moderate-income buyers with generous down payment assistance on fully rehabbed homes in the suburban communities of Bellwood, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and Oak Park. All clients must submit income documents to be reviewed by one of our counselors for approval of the program. All of our buyers are required to have a minimum of $1,000 of their own funds and qualify for a 30 year fixed conventional, FHA or VA mortgage. WCA provides $10K in down payment assistance in the form of a forgivable loan. This second mortgage will be recorded at closing and forgiven over five years. Buyers pay nothing on this loan as long as they live in the home.

The West Cook Homeownership Center is a program of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center that provides support for most issues related to homeownership counseling, foreclosure prevention services, financial literacy and capability. Visit the website to learn more.

West Cook Homeownership 

Foreclosure Outreach Program

There are a number of options for avoiding foreclosure. The important thing is to pursue all options and to not ignore the situation. OPRHC has worked with the Chicago Community Trust for the past 5 years to provide outreach services for the Cook County Foreclosure Mediation Program in western Cook County. This program reaches 13 communities in Western Cook County – The Austin neighborhood of Chicago, plus the communities of Bellwood, Berkley, Berwyn, Broadview, Cicero, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Oak Park, River Forest, River Glen, and Westchester.