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LI group urges home buyers to consult housing counselors

Marianne Garvin, president and CEO of the Community

Marianne Garvin, president and CEO of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island, at the nonprofit's offices in Centereach. (Jan. 11, 2012) Credit: James Carbone

Looking to buy a home on Long Island? You might need some professional help.

That’s the advice of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island, in light of a national survey finding that when people first consider buying a home, “friends and family” are the most common source of advice. The Centereach-based nonprofit is urging home buyers to consult with housing counselors in addition to other sources of information.

The poll found that 39 percent of respondents consult friends and family when they first consider buying a home. The next largest share, 17 percent, do research on the Internet, while 16 percent talk with real estate agents and 9 percent contact mortgage lenders. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents called home ownership an important part of their “American dream,” and 75 percent said buying a home was complicated.

The telephone survey was conducted in September by Widmeyer Communications, for Washington, D.C.-based NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing and community development. The Community Development Corp. is part of a network of 235 groups that receive grants and technical assistance from NeighborWorks.

Most people seemed not to be aware of the existence of federally certified housing counselors, said Marianne Garvin, president and chief executive of the Community Development Corp.

“Friends and family offer invaluable emotional support and information, but they shouldn’t replace trusted, professional advisers who are current with all of the regulations and are trained to evaluate each person’s unique situation,” Garvin said in a statement. “People who work with our housing educators are better prepared for home ownership.”

A list of certified housing counselors can be found on the website of New York's attorney general, at www.aghomehelp.com.

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