First-Time Home Buyer Class: Why Take It?

A first-time home buyer class can be the ticket to grants, down payment assistance and a lower monthly payment.
Abby Badach Doyle
Hal M. Bundrick, CFP®
By Hal M. Bundrick, CFP® and  Abby Badach Doyle 
Updated
Edited by Alice Holbrook

Some or all of the mortgage lenders featured on our site are advertising partners of NerdWallet, but this does not influence our evaluations, lender star ratings or the order in which lenders are listed on the page. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners.

If you think you’re ready to buy a home, but you don’t know where to start, a first-time home buyer class can cover the basics. In some cases, you might be required to take a class to qualify for a low down payment mortgage, a grant or down payment assistance.

Even if the class isn’t mandatory, you’ll learn shopping and budgeting tips, which can lead to a lower monthly mortgage payment. Since many first-time home buyer classes are free, that’s time well spent.

Here’s what to expect if you’re signing up for a first-time home buyer class near you.

What is a first-time home buyer class?

A first-time home buyer class is a workshop designed to help borrowers navigate the homebuying process. Participants who complete the course — which may involve passing a quiz — typically earn a certificate that can qualify them for grants and down payment assistance programs.

If you’re looking for a course on your own, choose one that meets the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling. This indicates that the curriculum provides high-quality, trustworthy advice.

If you’re taking a course to meet a requirement for down payment assistance or other funding, many of the entities that offer such programs will recommend a class that meets these standards.

Mortgage loans from our partners

New American Funding - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on New American Funding

New American Funding

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
500

Min. down payment 
3.5%

Check Rate

on New American Funding

NBKC - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on NBKC

NBKC

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on NBKC

Prosperity Home Mortgage - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Prosperity Home Mortgage

Prosperity Home Mortgage

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Prosperity Home Mortgage - PURCHASE logo

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
580

Min. down payment 

0%

Check Rate

on Prosperity Home Mortgage

Veterans United - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Veterans United

Veterans United

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Veterans United - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
0%

Check Rate

on Veterans United

Better - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Better

Better

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Better - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on Better

Mortgage loans from our partners

New American Funding - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on New American Funding

New American Funding

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
500

Min. down payment 
3.5%

Check Rate

on New American Funding

NBKC - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on NBKC

NBKC

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC - PURCHASE logo

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
620

Min. down payment 
3%

Check Rate

on NBKC

Prosperity Home Mortgage - PURCHASE logo
Check Rate

on Prosperity Home Mortgage

Prosperity Home Mortgage

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Prosperity Home Mortgage - PURCHASE logo

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score 
580

Min. down payment 

0%

Check Rate

on Prosperity Home Mortgage