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The Homeownership Counseling (HOC) Program provides intensive counseling and direct assistance to renters, enabling them to become financially prepared and empowered to undertake the responsibilities of homeownership. The program is free and open to all persons interested in purchasing a home in Anne Arundel County. Clients pursuing a Graduation Certificate must complete all program requirements before signing a contract to purchase a home. HOC includes a combination of group classes and individual one-on-one counseling sessions introducing participants to a detailed review of the mechanics of the home purchase process, including budgeting, savings, resolving credit issues, identifying a house, negotiating the contract, obtaining financing and preparing for settlement. An HOC graduation certificate is a prerequisite for those income eligible clients applying for a Mortgage Assistance Program loan or a Workforce Housing Initiative loan.

How do I apply?

Call (410) 222-7600 or e-mail info@acdsinc.org to request an application, or download a copy here. If you call during non business hours, please leave a message requesting a Homeownership Counseling Program application and leave your name, phone number and mailing address. An application will be mailed to you on the next business day. Please complete the application and mail it to:

Arundel Community Development Services, Inc.
2666 Riva Road, Suite 210
Annapolis, MD 21401

Upon receipt of your application, we will send a post card inviting you to attend the next available introductory session.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How is the program structured?
  2. When are the homeownership counseling classes held?
  3. How long are the classes?
  4. How long will it take to complete the entire program?
  5. Does the program cost anything?
  6. Is this the More House for Less Program? How does this work with the More House for Less Program?
  7. What are the income limits for the program?
  8. What if I am not a first time homebuyer?
  9. If I have already taken a counseling class in another county, do I have to take this class if I am purchasing in Anne Arundel County?
  10. Can I obtain a Graduation Certificate for the Homeownership Counseling Program if I already have selected a home to buy?
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1. How is the program structured?

You will first attend a group introductory session where you are presented with an overview of the program and will be asked to schedule your first individual session with a Housing Financial Advisor. The individual sessions provide an opportunity for participants to review their credit reports, assess income in relationship to debt, and determine if current savings are sufficient to purchase a home.

You will finish up the program by attending two evening workshops focusing on what type of mortgages are available, how to negotiate a contract of sale, what is involved in the settlement process, what the legal documents mean, and advice on how you can take care of your new home.

Click here to see the Homeownership Counseling Program Course Outline.

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2. When are the homeownership counseling classes held?

The introductory session is typically held on a Wednesday evening. The two group workshops are typically held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

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3. How long are the classes?

  • The introductory session is approximately one hour.
  • The Tuesday group workshop is three hours from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • The Thursday group workshop is four hours from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
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4. How long will it take to complete the entire program?

It depends on your individual needs. After you attend the introductory session, you will attend one-on-one counseling sessions. The number of one-on-one sessions is based on each household's individual needs. If assistance is needed with credit, budgeting and/or savings, a plan of action will be designed specifically for you. Once you have cleared up any credit and/or budgeting issues, you will be invited to attend the next available workshop session to complete the program.

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5. Does the program cost anything?

No, the program is free of charge.

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6. Is this the More House for Less Program? How does this work with the More House for Less Program?

No, the More House for Less Program is a State mortgage program for income eligible first time homebuyers. However, in order to qualify for the More House for Less Program, you must have a current graduation certificate from a homebuyer education program. By completing the ACDS Homeownership Counseling Program, you will fulfill the homebuyer education requirement needed to participate in the More House for Less Program. Please note that you must enroll and complete the Homeownership Counseling Program before you sign a contract to purchase a home.

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7. What are the income limits for the program?

There are no income limits for the Homeownership Counseling Program; everyone is welcome to participate regardless of income as long as they currently reside in or intend to purchase a home in Anne Arundel County. There are, however, income limits for the Mortgage Assistance Program and the Workforce Housing Initiative Program.

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8. What if I am not a first time homebuyer?

You do not have to be a first time homebuyer to participate in the Homeownership Counseling Program, in fact many previous homeowners find the program to be quite informative and useful. You do have to be a first time homebuyer to be eligible for the Mortgage Assistance Program and the Workforce Housing Initiative Program. A first time homebuyer includes those who have not held an ownership interest in real property in the last three years.

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9. If I have already taken a counseling class in another county, do I have to take this class if I am purchasing in Anne Arundel County?

If you wish to use the Mortgage Assistance Program or the Workforce Housing Initiative Program, then you must complete the ACDS Homeownership Counseling Program requirements and have a current (within one year) Graduation Certificate. In order to be eligible for State of Maryland DSELP funds, you must complete the ACDS Homeownership Counseling Program, or if your credit score is above 619, then you may obtain a Certificate from the Anne Arundel County Community Action Partnership's Housing Counseling Program.

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10. Can I obtain a Graduation Certificate for the Homeownership Counseling Program if I already have selected a home to buy?

No. Clients pursuing a Graduation Certificate must complete all Homeownership Counseling Program requirements before signing a contract to purchase. A Graduation Certificate from ACDS is needed in order to participate in the Mortgage Assistance Program or the Workforce Housing Initiative Program. A certificate from either ACDS or the Anne Arundel County Community Action Partnership is needed in order to utilize the State's DSELP Program.

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