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What you don't know can hurt you when you're buying real estate or arranging a mortgage.

The worse cases are those where home buyers don't realize how they have lost out - now and over years of homeownership. Some eventually end up with financial problems that cost them the home. Other wanna-be buyers lose out completely and don't achieve ownership. Too many give up before they even investigate how to own their own home.

In all these cases, ignorance is not bliss, but a waste of time, money, and opportunity.

However, in all these cases, ignorance is curable with education. Losing out can be replaced with buying well, gaining from the real estate investment, and leveraging that first purchase into an expanded real-estate-enriched life.

As a futurist and business achievement strategist, I long ago discovered the vital connection between real estate and business success. Owning your own home and owning your business premises is real security for your work and your life. Over my years of writing, teaching, and speaking about real estate to the public, entrepreneurs, and professionals, I found that the more audiences learned about real estate, the more they wanted to learn.

Caution: Once the "real estate bug" bites, you'll be hooked on learning about buying and selling - and everything in between - and how all this can work to your real estate advantage. 

If you don't understand enough about how buying and owning real estate really work, how can you make informed decisions about anything, including which property is truly best for you and how much it's really worth? Blindly, let others guide you and you may be misled, unconsciously or deliberately, never realizing where you lost out.

Don't assume you know; be sure you know

Learn Before You Look: If you concentrate on decor, you're buying the wrong thing. Real estate value is tied to location and many other factors that generate appreciationover years of ownership. Decor goes out of style quickly.

GoogleTM Is Not a Substitute for Your Brain: Substituting internet searches for learning is acting on general information, not acquiring specific knowledge—there is an important, expensive distinction here. If you don't fully understand something, your GoogleTM search may not ask the right questions in the right context. Without you realizing, GoogleTM answers may be too general, slightly off topic, or may overlook specifics relevant to your particular situation. Quick, in-the-moment searches do not allow you time to process and think about the information and transform it into practical, useful knowledge.

Real Estate Professionals Are Not Teachers: These professionals are not there to advise or educate. Their task is to search out the real estate you request and facilitate the buying process. Don't expect them to school you in real estate.

Decide How Much This Means to You: Why wouldn't you learn everything you could to ensure the largest, most expensive purchase of your life is a huge triumph? Why wouldn't you be intent on protecting yourself against other people's agendas, doubtful practices, and salesmanship when you buy? Real estate education forestalls buying mistakes and ownership problems like foreclosure. Buyer beware is a great starting point, but buyer be aware is the sane, long-term approach.

New Mobile-Friendly Education Empowers Home Buyers

Even if school is a not-too-pleasant memory, you can learn online using your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. User-friendly online learning transforms education into convenient, at-my-own-pace, on-my-chosen-platform experiences. Review-as-you-go confidence building transforms seemingly complex topics into mentally-digestible, practical knowledge.

One strong buyer-be-aware starting point is the mobile-friendly home buyer course that Fannie Mae has made a requirement for the HomeReady Mortgage. This online courxe, with optional downloadable content, is available in English and Spanish through course-designer Framework. This course meets or exceeds education standards for HUDand the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling.

The $75 fee can be reduced or eliminated with discounts and coupons (scholarships) available from your local nonprofit homeownership advisory agency local nonprofit homeownership advisory agency and growing numbers of lending and real estate professionals before you sign up. The free bonus is Smart Start for Homeowners. Once you're completed the course, you'll receive monthly email content designed to further assist new homeowners.

Join the more than 80,000 who learned how to confidently navigate the essential steps of home buying and mortgage borrowing, including:

How much you can afford
How to fix or improve your credit
How "closing" works, and
How the 10 professionals involved in most home purchases can help you.

Framework's national network of nonprofit homeownership advising partners also provides one-on-one unbiased advice specific to your situation and location. Even before you take the course, do you need help reviewing loan estimates, clarifying credit issues, or understanding refinancing options? You won't be talking to salespeople, so you get the facts from a local expert without a sales pitch. If there isn't a Homeownership Advisor near by, contact Framework directly and they'll connect you with an advisor: or 855-659-2267; weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Boston-based Framework Homeownership, LLC is a social enterprise, launched in 2012, to elevate home-buying education to new standards nationwide using "superior curriculum, technology, dedication to customer service, and innovative relationships with lenders, brokers, and a network of nonprofit partners." This venture was formed by two leading national nonprofits that share empowerment mandates to build strong communities: the Housing Partnership Network and the Minnesota Homeownership Center.

Resource:To learn more about Framework's business design, visit my blog:

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