The home buying process can seem complicated, but through workshops and one-on-one counseling, the Oak Park Regional Housing Center acquaints the first-time homebuyer with the process from start-to-finish:

  1. Figure out how much you can afford.
  2. Know your rights.
  3. Shop for a loan.
  4. Shop for a home
  5. Make an offer.
  6. Get a home inspection.
  7. Shop for homeowners insurance.
  8. Sign papers.

The Homeownership Center is a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling Agency and a REACH Partner.  We offer pre-purchase housing counseling for anyone considering the purchase of a new home. Whether you are just beginning to think about homeownership or you are closing in on a contract, the Homeownership Center can provide you with essential information and assistance regarding each step of the homeownership process.  Visit the Homeownership Center to:

Qualify for Down Payment Assistance Grants and First-Time Homebuyer Programs

In the State of Illinois, anyone who has not owned a home in the past three years is considered a first-time homebuyer.  There are many programs that provide down payment assistance, tax credits, and other financial incentives for first-time homebuyers, includin

  • IHDA Loans
  • I-Loan Mortgage Credit Certificate
  • American Dream Downpayment Initiative
  • Assist Bond Program
  • City of Chicago Programs
  • Low- and Moderate-Income Programs
  • First-Time Homebuyer Programs

Often, housing counseling is a requirement of the programs.  The Homeownership Center can provide this counseling and determine which programs you are eligible to use.

Learn about Refinancing and Home Equity Products

Historically low mortgage rates have made refinancing an attractive option for many homeowners.  In some cases, homeowners can save hundreds of dollars on their monthly payment by refinancing to a lower rate.  The Homeownership Center can also help you determine if you could reduce your monthly payment in other ways, such as appealing to reove mortgage insurance.

Learn to Spot Steering, Predatory Lenders, and Other Scams

The Homeownership Center can explain how to spot steering in your housing search and how to avoid predatory lenders and other scams.  Our common sense approach helps you distinguish what programs can truly help you.  We also have a large network of relationships with the people you need on your home-buying team including lenders, brokers, real estate agents, insurance agents, attorneys, inspectors, and appraisers.

What to Do After You Buy Your Home

The Homeownership Center also provides post-purchase counseling for when you might want advice on how to stick to your budget, keep up with the maintenance of your new home, or any other question that occurs to you following your purchase.

It is best to make an appointment.  Walk-ins may need to be rescheduled for a later time or date.

What Makes Us Different?

Too often, home seekers do not consider the entire range of options available.  In many cases, this is due to a lack of knowledge or misperceptions about particular communities or neighborhoods.  We encourage you to expand your housing search to places you might not have considered at first.  In most cases, new possibilities offer more than we originally thought they could.  In order to find the best home, we can help you explore new neighborhoods and learn about communities you might have ignored previously.