Housing & Financial Counseling

What would you like to learn more about

Managing your personal finances is a fundamental step to budgeting for big purchases like buying your first home, paying-off debt, or saving for the future.  As a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, Habitat  offers a variety of ways to serve our community.

Habitat’s housing and financial services are open to anyone of any income range wanting to improve their financial health or reach a milestone such as purchasing their first home.

Looking to buy a home with Habitat?  Housing and financial counseling services, workshops, and resources are NOT part of the Habitat homeownership application process. Click here to read a guide to our Online Housing and Financial Counseling Services.

Family sitting on front porch of their new home

One-On-One Counseling

One-On-One Counseling services offer free, individualized guidance from a HUD-certified Habitat Housing Counselor.

No matter your goals - from repairing credit, managing debt, and creating a budget to buying your first home - our counselors will work with you to understand your current financial status, listen to any financial anxieties, and develop a personalized plan to help you achieve your dreams.

Looking to buy a home with Habitat? One-on-one counseling is NOT part of the Habitat Homeownership application process. Click here to learn about our Homeownership Program.

Two men in counseling office

Financial Education Workshops & Webinars

Our free financial education workshops and webinars are one-hour, small group presentations that are open to the public and cover essential information to help you build financial health. Key topics include:

  • Protecting yourself from ID theft and scams
  • Understanding credit reports and scores
  • Debt management strategies
  • Creating a sustainable budget
  • Path to homeownership
  • Saving strategies
Habitat Homeownership Applicants – Workshops and webinars are NOT part of the Habitat Homeownership application process. Click here to learn about our Homeownership Program.
Woman at the white board in financial workshop

Financial Education Center

Habitat’s Financial Education Center is a free online library of financial and homebuying educational resources that you can access anytime, anywhere, 24/7.

Our self-paced, interactive lessons provide a fun and engaging experience so you can focus on taking control over your finances, saving for the future, and reaching your financial goals. 

LESSONS INCLUDE

Building Financial Resilience

Learn how to bounce back from hard financial times, stay financially resilient, and get the support you need. Discover strategies for handling fluctuating income, mastering crisis budgeting and savings, managing loans, and establishing an emergency fund. Explore debt consolidation and how it can help pay off debt, and how to develop healthy financial habits.

Financial Foundations

Understand the basics of key financial concepts. Learn how to get free copies of your credit report, protect your identity, and avoid scams. Discover how to establish a credit history and improve your credit scores. Learn strategies to lower your tax bill, pay off debt, and shop for insurance. Discover what ABLE accounts are and how they can be advantageous for individuals with disabilities.

Banking and Investing Basics

Review banking basics including how to prevent overdraft fees, save, manage credit cards, and securely use online banking. Explore about investing, diversification, and risk. Learn how to get started with investing, how compound growth works, and how to understand your investment risk profile. 

Planning for Retirement

Plan today for a worry-free life when you retire. Gain insights into annuities, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and 401(k) plans. Learn retirement income strategies, and strategies to maximize your retirement savings. Understand Medicare and when to collect Social Security. Learn about estate planning, ways wealth can be transferred, and how to plan for financial caregiving

Small Business Essentials

Understand the financial basics of managing a small business. Learn about available banking services, financial statements, and how to obtain financing and overcome financial hardships. Explore available opportunities for women and minority-owned small businesses. 

Healthcare Finances

Understand how to manage your healthcare finances when dealing with healthcare issues. Learn how to negotiate your medical bill, manage out-of-pocket costs, and obtain medical debt relief. Discover strategies for addressing unplanned medical debt, navigating insurance, and learn about the benefits, risks, and uses of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). 

Financing Higher Education

Learn about paying for higher education, preparing for graduation, and beginning a career. Discover smart ways to plan and pay for college, and tips for navigating the student experience on a budget. Learn about 529 plans, student loans and repayment options, and strategies for paying off your student loans. Explore what financial goals to think about as you prepare to graduate, and how to make career choices that benefit your earning potential. 

Buying a Home

Explore the benefits, responsibilities, and costs of buying and owning a home. Learn how to work with a lender you trust, what you need to consider before buying a home, and strategies that will help you buy a home while sticking to a budget. Understand options for mortgage relief, how refinancing works, and the requirements, benefits, and pitfalls of using a reverse mortgage.

Create Your Own Lesson

Create a personalized playlist that is tailored to your financial goals and priorities. 

Habitat's Financial Education Center

Habitat’s Financial Education Center is a free online library of financial and homebuying educational resources that you can access anytime, anywhere, 24/7.

Our self-paced, interactive lessons provide a fun and engaging experience to empower you to take control over your finances, save for the future, and reach your financial goals. Topics include:

  • Building Financial Capability
  • Buying a Home
  • Achieving Financial Wellness
  • Planning for Retirement
  • Banking Basics and Loans
  • Banking and Investing Basics
  • Small Business Essentials
  • Healthcare Finances
  • Financing Higher Education
  • Personalized Learning - Create a personalized playlist that is tailored to your unique financial goals and priorities.
Tablet with financial tools displayed

FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER EDUCATION CLASS

In partnership with eHome America, we offer a HUD-approved, online, Homebuyer Education Class, that you can complete at your own pace. It teaches the fundamentals of home buying, and how to prepare to be financially ready to buy a home. This class meets the requirement for obtaining the 8-hour homebuyer education course HUD certificate.

Habitat Homeownership Applicants: The First-Time Homebuyer Education Class is NOT part of the Habitat Homeownership application process. Click here to learn about our Homeownership Program.

welcome home rug
Marisela, Habitat Homeowner with her family

“Habitat has taught our family how to budget and how to save money for things like our closing costs. It was hard but we have a savings account for the first time!”

Marisela, Habitat Homeowner

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to meet with a Housing Counselor to apply for the Habitat homeownership program?

No. Housing Counseling is a separate service we offer and is NOT part of the application process for the Habitat Homeownership Program.

To learn more about Habitat homeownership opportunities and how to apply click here.

Does Housing Counseling include a review of the Habitat Homeownership program and what the qualification requirements are?

No. Housing Counselors do not review the Habitat Homeownership program nor the qualification requirements.

Is there a fee to meet with a Housing Counselor?

Housing counseling services are free. However, if you would like an in-depth review of your credit report, we charge a small one-time fee to cover the cost of pulling it.

Can I meet with a Housing Counselor on a drop-in basis?

No, we do not accept walk-ins.

To schedule an appointment, click here. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.

What happens at the first counseling appointment?

Your Housing Counselor will:

  • Identify the financial and housing goal(s) you want to achieve.
  • Identify the unique issues that are preventing you from reaching your goal(s).
  • Pull your credit report and do a full credit report review (if applicable. Please see below).
  • Help you develop a sustainable budget geared towards helping you reach your goal(s).
  • Create an action plan catered to your unique financial situation and designed to help you reach your goal(s).
If I chose to have a credit report review, will pulling the credit report impact my credit score?

No. For credit counseling purposes we do a soft pull that does not impact your credit score. The credit report includes credit scores and credit information from all three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax), and you will get a copy.

Do you send appointment reminders?

No. It is your responsibility to make sure you add the appointment date and time on your calendar, so you do not forget.

Can Housing Counselors tell me if I qualify for the Habitat homeownership program?

No. Housing Counselors do not review applications for the Habitat Homeownership program nor can they tell you if you qualify. To learn if you qualify visit our Homeownership page to start the application process.

What documentation do I need to provide?

You need to complete an intake packet. You also need to submit financial documentation like paystubs, benefit letters, bank statements, and credit card statements. Your Housing Counselor will review with you what you should provide.

Why do you need financial documentation?

Financial documentation is needed to assess your financial situation so your counselor can help you create an action plan catered to your unique circumstances and goals.

Do you offer virtual appointments?

Yes. We provide video appointments through Microsoft Teams. Your counselor will provide you with instructions on how to join the video call and how to submit your intake packet and documentation.

How often can I meet with the Housing Counselor?

Your Housing Counselor will work with you as long as needed to help you reach your goals through follow-up meetings and regular check-ins.

Do I have to have my credit report pulled?

No. We pull your credit report only if you want us to do an in-depth credit report review.

Can I provide my own credit reports?

Yes, as long as the credit reports show your full credit history for all your accounts. Credit report summaries or reports that only show the credit score do not provide the information needed to do an in-depth credit report review.

What if I cannot make my scheduled appointment?

When you schedule an appointment our Housing counselors reserve that time for you. If you cannot make it let us know as soon as possible so we can free up the time for someone else. We know schedules can change and things happen, and we are happy to reschedule.

Contact a Housing Counselor

For questions or to schedule an appointment with our Housing Counselors complete the inquiry form below.

*DO NOT complete this form if you are interested in becoming a Habitat homeowner. For questions about Habitat's homeownership opportunities, visit our Homeownership Program page.

PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY HABITAT COMMUNITY CAPITAL

As a part of Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley, Habitat Community Capital (HCC) was founded in 2016 as a nonprofit lender in response to Habitat affiliates and other affordable housing developers’ increasing need for more affordable financing options.

As a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Habitat Community Capital is the legal business name of EBSV Community Development, Inc.

Habitat Community Capital logo

Events

  1. Money Saving Strategies

    Tuesday, July 16, 2024 5:30pm

    Join us and learn key savings concepts and strategies that will help you plan for and achieve savings goals. Sign up today!

  2. Manteniendo Las Deudas Bajo Control

    Wednesday, July 17 5:30pm – 6:30pm PDT

    Learn how to manage your debt.

  3. Keeping Your Debt Under Control

    Thursday, July 18 5:30pm – 6:30pm PDT

    Learn how to manage your debt.

A Sincere Thank You To

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