SOURCE: Neighborworks America

June 27, 2012 11:33 ET

NeighborWorks America Offers Four Big Financial Tips This 4th of July for Greater Financial Independence and Community Strength

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Jun 27, 2012) - NeighborWorks America, one of the nation's largest community development nonprofit corporations, today offered four tips for consumers who want to take better control of their finances and build stronger communities. Whether the goals are successful homeownership, maintaining great neighborhood rental housing options, or protecting financial assets, NeighborWorks America believes that following these steps form the strong foundation for success.

Build a Strong Credit Record

Whether pursuing homeownership or other financial goals, building a strong credit record is a priority. NeighborWorks organizations around the country work directly with consumers or point them to other nonprofit organizations. Either way, consumers can count on a personal approach to helping them strengthen and manage their credit.

Working with a nonprofit is generally low cost, and consumers should beware of any person or organization charging more than nominal fees. Contact a local NeighborWorks organization for more information at www.nw.org/local

Avoid Financial Scams

Homeowners and others should be on the lookout for financial and housing scams. There are numerous housing related scams out there and many target homeowners who face foreclosure. NeighborWorks America and its partners launched the Loan Scam Alert Campaign to help consumers avoid these scams and thousands of consumers have already used the campaign to report scammers to the proper legal authorities. Details on the six major scam avoidance tips are at www.loanscamalert.org.

Seek professional housing advice

Mortgage rates are at all time lows and many consumers are considering homeownership. But there is more to buying a home than obtaining a low-rate mortgage.

NeighborWorks America supports a network of more than 235 local nonprofit organizations that have the trained staff to help consumers navigate the complex details of buying a home, including obtaining the right mortgage, applying for down payment assistance, locating the right home and more. A good place to start is a NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center at www.nw.org/homeownership.

Become involved in the community

The Fourth of July is a great time to engage with neighbors, and anecdotal reports from leaders at NeighborWorks organizations suggest that communities where people know and engage with their neighbors have more stable home values, which is a significant contributor to overall financial strength and net worth. Resident engagement -- from guidance on how to work with local government and maximize municipal services, to how to attract business and jobs to a community -- is a program area supported by NeighborWorks America and many NeighborWorks organizations as part of the overall mission to foster strong communities and families.

About NeighborWorks America

NeighborWorks® America creates 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 $20 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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