IMPORTANT COVID UPDATE: online classes and telephonic coaching (including budget, rental and credit coaching) still available
Smart, sustainable homeownership begins with education. Self Help Enterprises, a HUD certified counseling agency, welcomes you to “The Gateway” offering educational and counseling services to equip you with the tools and resources needed to meet your financial and sustainable homeownership goals. The program will help you qualify for reduced rates or mortgage insurance with some lenders, and for USDA, CalHFA, City and County homebuyer assistance programs.
STEP 1: Complete an Intake packet in English or Spanish and provide requested paperwork. Anyone not living in the same home must complete a separate package and submit their own documentation.
STEP 2: Submit COPIES with Intake Packet to Self-Help Enterprises Attn: Gateway Program via submit button below, fax 559-651-3634, or mail to PO Box 6520 Visalia CA 93290. WE DO NOT ACCEPT ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS and will not be liable for any lost or damaged mail. Our office is currently closed to the public and we are working remotely. All requested documents are required before we schedule your appointment. Please provide documents for all adults in your household who financially support your household.
- 2020 IRS 1040 Tax returns.
- 2020 w2s/1099’s
- Documentation of one month of income-Must be income earned in the last 30-60 days, including income from ALL sources
- Bank Statements for most recent 30-60 day period. All pages and all accounts. Must have account holder information, statement period, account number and page count.
STEP 3: Wait for your appointment. SHE staff will contact you when we receive your complete documents to schedule your initial coaching session and pay the fee. We accept payment via phone using your debit/credit card or via check or money order included with your intake packet and documents submission via mail.
- Non-refundable fee is intended to cover the cost of your credit report or no-show fee if you miss your appointment $25 Individual or $50 Married Couple
- Gateway staff prepare you for homeownership through counseling and education, we have no connection with your loan qualification
STEP 4: Work with your counselor and develop a tailored action plan to achieve your homeownership goals.
STEP 5: Register and pay your remaining homeownership education class fee.
STEP 6: Apply for participation in a homeownership or rehabilitation program (if applicable).
STEP 7: Attend class.
STEP 8: Contact a mortgage lender.
For current participants who have already created an account, click button to sign in and upload documents, send messages, view messages, & view documents.
*All classes/ workshops are available in both English and Spanish
1. Homeownership 101: Program Orientation
The Program Orientation is recommended as the first step to learn about available housing programs. Including the Gateway, Self-Help Housing, Homebuyer Assistance, Housing Rehabilitation, and Financial Management / Credit Repair.
2. Preparing for Homeownership
The 8-hour in-person class is offered bi-monthly in communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Prospective homebuyers must attend the entire session. Upon completion of counseling and the in-person, prospective homebuyers will receive a certificate of completion, which fulfills lending and home purchase assistance program requirements for homebuyer education.
Courses teach prospective homebuyers how to:
- Understand the home buying process
- Determine your financial circumstances
- Manage your credit and increase FICO scores to make homeownership more affordable
- Maximize your income and boost your savings
- Choose your best mortgage options
- Select the right home for your family
- Understand the loan closing process
- Find down payment assistance, special loans for first-time homebuyers, and other assistance
3. Financial Management
While not required, this workshop is highly encouraged for optimal sustainable homeownership. Money management is about choices – choosing how to save and spend your money which is critical in achieving financial security and reaching your goals. This interactive class will give you the tools to set a realistic spending plan, trim expenses, understand how to use credit wisely, and learn how to identify unnecessary spending in order to create financial goals.
Workshop attendees leave the session understanding:
- How to track spending, decrease spending, and manage bills; and
- Why credit is important and what creditors look for when making credit decisions.
Online homeownership education and financial management classes are offered to suit your schedule via eHomeAmerica. Upon completion of counseling and the online course, prospective homebuyers will receive a certificate of completion, which fulfills lending and home purchase assistance program requirements for homebuyer education. Online classes are also available in both English and Spanish and teach the same concepts as the in-person / live classes.
- Homeownership Education
- Online: $125 for individual / married couple
- Live: $125 individual / $175 married couple
- Financial Management
- Online: $50 individual/ married couple
- 3 Part Live: $30 individual/ married couple
- 1-Part Live: $10 individual/ married couple
- Credit report
- $25 individual/ $50 married couple
Download fee schedule here.
Payment for Homebuyer Counseling and Education must be made in advance via money order, debit or credit card. Payments can be made over the phone when using a debit or credit card. We cannot accept cash. A $25 credit report fee will be collected in order to secure a counseling appointment. The remaining homeownership education class fee will be collected upon class registration.
After one-on-one counseling session with a staff member to review credit repair, budgeting, and develop a tailored action plan for your financial homeownership goals, you will be registered to attend an education class based on individual needs. Please contact The GATEWAY at (559) 651-1000 if you have any questions.
Please note that you must register 1 week prior to workshop date. Tenga en cuenta que debe registrarse 1 semana antes de la fecha del taller.
Classes will be posted here once they become available.
If you are interested in homeownership education and counseling services, please complete the interest form. A staff member will contact you and provide more information. IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS INTEREST FORM IS NOT AN OFFICIAL PROGRAM APPLICATION.
(Nota importante: este formulario de interés no es la aplicación oficial del programa)
Program funded in part by
“We were first time homebuyers so we were not familiar with anything, but we decided to look for help. The classes were clear and we came away very aware of the requirements and what we had to do to buy a house. ”
~ Tessie Dowers and Virginia Barnes
How can the Homeownership Counseling and Education Program help your buyers?
- Empowers your buyers to maximize their income, boost savings, decrease debt or increase their credit FICO scores.
- Personalized help to identify and clear any possible obstacles that may prevent homeownership such as dispute or clear credit accounts, and help establish a savings plan to pay off, clear debt, and not to get into more debt especially during the purchase of their home.
- Your buyers will qualify for various lending products requiring a certificate of completion from a HUD approved housing counseling agency.
For more information, please contact our staff at (559) 651-1000
Who can participate in the homeownership education classes?
Anyone interested in purchasing a home can take the in-person or online class. There are no income restrictions for the classes.
How long is my certificate of completion good for?
Typically, your certificate is valid for one (1) year from the date of completion. We recommend that you check with your loan officer to confirm their terms.
Who is required to take the class?
All applicants who will be on the home loan are required to take the class.