Should First Time Home Buyers Get Counseling?

Share your opinion on whether financial education should be mandated.

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Susan Keating, president of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, thinks that all first-time home buyers, along with anyone else taking on a non-traditional mortgage, should be required to take a financial counseling class. That means that someone like me, who is considering buying her first home, would need to sign up for a lesson on how mortgages work before the big move-in day.

The goal, she says, would be to make sure people know what they're getting into. A recent survey by the NFCC found that 28 percent of adults say their mortgage turned out to be different than what they expected. Keating says that suggests that people need some additional education.

My first reaction to her idea was to disagree. My husband and I barely have time to visit open houses, and she wants us to find the time for an extra class, too? With such time-consuming requirements, we'll never end up buying a house. Plus, my husband has a degree in finance and I write about personal finance; surely we don't need extra counseling?

But I do see her point -- a lot of people, probably myself included, have no idea what they're really getting into when they take on a mortgage. (See, for example, New York Times business writer Edmund Andrews' book on how he took on a mortgage he couldn't afford.)

So I want to take a poll: 

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Do you think first-time home buyers should be required to get financial counseling?

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