Frequently Asked Questions




Q:      What is the benefit of Home Buyer Education and getting a certificate?

A:        Housing Counseling works. Research shows a strong correlation between housing counseling and mortgage performance. Delinquency rates for borrowers who have received counseling are 29 % lower for first-time home buyers and 15% lower overall. Consumers who participate in housing counseling get individualized, objective advice on understanding the rights and responsibilities of homeownership, addressing credit and savings barriers, and meeting their overall housing and financial goals.

The majority of Down Payment and Closing Cost assistance programs in Baltimore City and Baltimore County require that households engage in housing counseling prior to getting under contract. If you come under contract prior to completing 8 hours of Home Buyer Education, you will disqualify yourself for most down payment and settlement programs.


Q:      Why do I have to sit through 8 hours of home buyer education when I have already met with a lender and know what house I want to buy?

A:        Down payment and closing cost assistance programs in the State of Maryland require an 8 hour home buyer education certificate.  At Minimum, that requires a 6 hour class and a 2 one-on-one housing counseling appointment. If you want Down Payment and Closing Cost assistance, you must follow these rules.

Q:      How do I know what down payment and closing coast assistance programs I qualify for before taking the home buyer education class?

A:      You will not know what you qualify until you go through home buyer education. Your counselor will discuss which programs you qualify for when you have your 1:1.

Q:      How long is certificate good for?

A:      One full year from the date on the certificate.  If your certificate was issued on 1/10/2014. It expires on 1/10/15. Once your certificate expires, you must start the process again. Home Buyer Education Class and 1:1.

Q:      What are all the incentives?

A:      Please check out these page here.

Q:      Does Southeast CDC give the money for down payment assistance?

A:      No. Southeast CDC does not guarantee down payment and closing cost assistance for any home buyer or house hold. Eligibility determination is decided by state and local governments and employers in the Baltimore region.

Q:      Can I put an offer on a house before my workshop and 1:1?

A:        No. If you put an offer on a house, prior to completing your 8 home buyer education, you will forfeit all down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

Q:      Can I put a contract on a house before my workshop and 1:1?

A:        No. If you put an offer on a house, prior to completing your 8 home buyer education, you will forfeit all down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

Q:      What do I do after my 1:1 housing counseling appointment?

A:        Once you received your certificate, you are free to put a contract on a home with the assistance of your lender and real estate agent.

Q:       How soon do I have to come back to Southeast CDC with my ratified contract and home inspection report to apply for CDBG/SELP?

A:        Please schedule an appointment with no less than 14 business days in advance of your settlement/closing date.

Q:       How can I go about registering for a workshop?

A:        You can visit our website here.

Q:       Are the workshops held at your office?

A:        No. The locations are generally within a couple of miles from the Southeast CDC offices. The location is given to registered participants only. Registration for our classes fill up fast so people must register three to four weeks in advance. We send the location by email or text to registered participants only.

Q:       When will I receive notification of the workshop location?

A:        Southeast CDC sends a reminder email a few days prior to the workshop. That message will provide you with the upcoming workshop address information. Please make sure to include in your registration an email address that you can check regularly. If you don’t hear from us, it is your responsibility to call and confirm that you are registered.

Q:       What documents do I need to bring to the workshop?

A:        None. No documents are needed for the workshop.

Q:       What else do I need to bring for the workshop?

A:        You can bring a pen, paper and any snacks/soft beverages/lunch if you choose.

Q:       Will I receive a certificate at the workshop?

A:        No certificates are given out at the workshop. Certificates are issued after a one-on-one appointment.

Q:       How long after the workshop do I have before I schedule a 1:1?

A:        You must schedule a 1:1 within 1 year of taking your workshop.  If you took a workshop on July 9, 2016, you have until July 8, 2017 to schedule a 1:1 appointment.

Q:       How much are your classes?

A:        Our classes cost $50 per person.  SECDC does not charge for households making less than $50,000, disabled persons, or persons in the Section 8 Program.  Online classes cost $100 for all households.

Q:       When is your next Baltimore City workshop?

A:        Please visit our website here.

Q:       When is your next Baltimore County workshop?

A:        As of October 1, 2016, Southeast CDC is no longer a provider of Baltimore County Housing Counseling for the Settlement Expense Loan Program (SELP)

*Baltimore County Buyers should contact one of the following agencies for assistance.

Belair Edison Neighborhoods Inc. (410) 485-8422
Diversified Housing Development (410) 496-1214
Eastside Community Development Corp. (410) 284-9861
Harbel Housing (410) 444-9152
St. Ambrose (410) 366-8550

Q:       What other agencies offer counseling for Baltimore City?

A:       Check out the Live Baltimore website here.

Q:      How do I get a 1:1 housing counseling appointment?

A:       In order to get an 8-hour certificate, you have to complete 6 hours of group education or on-line counseling then you will have to complete a 2 hours one on one counseling appointment with a housing counselor.

Q:      What are the times for the 1:1 appointment?

A:      Our appointment times are Monday – Friday 8:30, 10:00 AM, 1:00 and 3:00 PM. We have 4:00 PM appointments two days per week, but they are the first to fill up

Q:      How do I schedule my 1:1 appointment?

A:      To schedule an appointment, please send an email to with your daytime phone number and some days and times that are good for you. (E.g. Tuesday and Thursday mornings.)

Q:      What is the wait time for a 1:1 appointment?

A:      The wait time for a 1:1 appointment is generally 7-10 business days. During the busiest home purchase seasons (April – June – September & October) the wait time can be up to 3 weeks. We highly encourage you to call other agencies if needed and get your certificate well in advance of shopping for a home.

Q:      What happen during a 1:1 housing counseling appointment?

A:      During this 2 hour appointment you will review your credit report, determine your affordability and find out what down payment and closing cost assistance programs you may qualify for.

Q:      What do you need to bring to your 1:1 Appointment?

A:      To receive a certificate, you must provide copies of all of the required documentation.  Southeast CDC will keep the documents on file – we will not return them to you. We highly encourage you to fax 410-342-1719 or email your documents in advance of your appointment.

  • Completed SECDC Homebuyer Intake Form
  • Picture Identification (State Issued)
  • 1 month Pay Stubs or Social Security Award information
  • 2 months bank statements
  • Last 2 years Federal tax returns (NO State Returns)
  • W-2s with Returns
  • Credit Report (MUST be within last 6 months, with a score

Q:      Why do I have to have all these documents when my bank already has pre-approved/approved me for a loan?

A:        Most down payment and closing cost assistance programs in the State of Maryland require an 8 hour Home Buyer Education Certificate from a HUD Approved Housing Counseling agency. SECDC must verify income, assets and employment for the Down Payment & Closing Cost Assistance Programs.

Q:        What about document safety?  I do not want to give my private information to the office.   How will Southeast CDC protect my privacy?

A:      No staff member of Southeast CDC will disclose any personal information without proper authorization of the participant. Clients may black out all or part of their private information (including social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, etc.)  on all documents once their counselor has completed their counseling.

We restrict access to nonpublic personal information about you to those employees who need to know that the information to provide services to you. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with federal regulations to guard your nonpublic personal information.  However, several of our grantors require that we provide some nonpublic information about you in order to provide proof of counseling services provided and outcomes achieved.

Q:       Can you do 1:1s over the phone?

A:        No. You must be physically present in the office.

Q:       What is the latest appointment that you have?

A:        The latest appointment we have is 4 PM. Requests for appointments outside of regular business hours should be should be sent We do not have weekend appointments. Special consideration will be given to teachers, hospital personnel, essential personnel, students and households making less than $60,000 annually.  All persons requesting an appointment outside of traditional business hours must complete their Intake Form and submit their documents in advance.

Q:       Does my spouse/partner/significant other also have to come to the 1:1?

A:        We strongly recommend that your spouse/partner/significant other also come to the 1:1 housing counseling session. If their name is going to be on the mortgage or the deed, they should attend homebuyer education.

Q:     How much are your 1:1 appointments?

A:        1:1 housing counseling sessions are free to home buyers making less than $100,000.  Buyers with household incomes of more than $100,000 will be charged $100 for 1:1 counseling.  Payments can be made by cash, check or online payment

Q:     What is your address?

A:        Our office is located at 3323 Eastern Avenue, Suite 200, Baltimore, MD 21224.  The entrance is on the side of the building on Highland Avenue across from M&T Bank.

Q:     Where can I park?

A:        Free parking is available on our building side of S. Highland Avenue and on Fleet Street.  Metered parking is available across from the office on Highland Ave. and Eastern Ave.

Q:     What if I have to cancel my appointment?

A:        Please call and send an email to our office as soon as possible if you need to cancel for any reason. Please expect to wait 7-10 business days for a new appointment.

For more information, check out the following websites