SOURCE: Neighborworks America

June 28, 2013 13:18 ET

Four Great Tips for Financial Independence From NeighborWorks America

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Jun 28, 2013) -  As individuals and their families celebrate the Fourth of July -- our nation's Independence Day -- NeighborWorks America reminds them that NeighborWorks organizations across the country are available throughout the year to serve families and individuals with information on how to build a stronger and more independent financial future. Whether the goal is improving access to credit, buying a home or to create a personal step-by-step guide to financial success, NeighborWorks organizations are there to help.

Here is financial independence advice for individuals and families to consider as they celebrate America's independence this July 4.

Seek Financial Counseling and Education Because It Works

For 35 years, NeighborWorks America and its more than 240 affiliates around the U.S. and Puerto Rico have been promoting financial education and homeownership counseling. Research shows that pre-purchase homebuyer education and counseling from NeighborWorks organizations can help reduce serious mortgage delinquency. Read more at

Financial counseling helps individuals establish savings goals and stick to those goals so that they can improve their credit scores. As a result, homeownership -- if that is a goal -- is more attainable at an affordable level. Many NeighborWorks organizations offer financial coaching as a way to support reaching financial goals. A new report from NeighborWorks America that lists the benefits of financial counseling and coaching can be found at

Don't Let Rising Mortgage Rates Rush A Home Buying Decision

Mortgage rates are climbing fast, and many people may rush into a home buying decision as a result, hoping to avoid higher borrowing costs. Don't be in a hurry and buy the wrong home at the wrong time. A homeownership counselor working at a HUD-certified housing counseling agency can help potential homebuyers make the right decision.

Some news reports suggest that prospective homebuyers choose an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) because its rate is lower than a 30-year fixed rate. While an adjustable rate mortgage is lower, a housing counselor can help prospective homebuyers choose the right mortgage. Remember, an ARM may have a low rate now, but it can go higher -- perhaps much higher.

Don't Forgo a Home Inspection Even If the Home Sale Market is Competitive

There are fewer homes on the market for sale, especially at prices affordable for many first-time homebuyers. To be a competitive bidder on a home, some experts are suggesting that buyers forgo a home inspection. Don't do it! Not having a home inspection could prove immediately costly if defects are found in important systems such as electrical or heating, and in the home's structure itself. The staff at the more than 100 NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Centers around the country can help a homebuyer identify a qualified home inspector.

Go Green for Long-Term Cost Savings

It's now well established that living in an energy-efficient green home can reduce monthly utility bills. But there are more financial benefits to 'going green' in a home than lower energy costs. Health costs can be lower, too, because of green homes. That's because the use of more healthful paint and flooring products, design of the home for better indoor air quality and more, can reduce the incidence of asthma and other respiratory problems and sickness, keeping children in school more and consumers taking fewer sick days. The bottom line is that choosing to go green can be a great up-front investment that pays off financially in the long-run.

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 professionals.

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