BNT’s Empowerment Resource Academy (ERA)

Unlock Your Financial and Housing Potential with ERA

ERA is dedicated to helping you achieve your financial goals through FOUR MAIN FOCUS AREAS:

  1. Credit and Credit Score Improvement: Boost your credit score and take control of your financial future.
  2. First-time Homeownership: Create a plan, overcome obstacles, access affordable loans with down payment assistance, and find the right home with the best local professional help.
  3. Foreclosure and Home Retention: Get expert guidance to navigate housing challenges and stay in your home.
  4. Rental Housing Counseling: Get help on determining the right type of rental for you, understanding rental agreements, and knowing your Fair Housing rights.

READY TO GET STARTED?

Start planning your financial future today!

Your HUD Certified Partner

At ERA, we are proud to be a HUD certified financial and housing counseling agency. We are one of thousands of agencies nationwide providing FREE services to millions of households yearly. Our mission is to empower individuals and families to achieve Financial Empowerment and Housing Success.

ERA's Impact in 2023

ERA Programs and Services Include:

  • Credit improvement, consolidation, and budget coaching
  • First-time homeownership education and counseling
  • Mortgage procurement assistance
  • Pre-purchase and down payment counseling
  • Foreclosure prevention counseling and mortgage assistance
  • Fair Housing education and housing discrimination assistance
  • Rental and mobility counseling and education
  • Reverse mortgage counseling
  • Home Bridgeport, Time To Own, and other new government sponsored housing programs

Ready to take the first step toward achieving your financial, first-time homeownership, and home retention? Explore our Counseling Services, browse our Classes, and check our Class Calendar.

For more information on BNT’s Foreclosure Assistance Services, CLICK HERE.

FAQs about Credit and Homeownership and BNT’s Program

  • More than half of those counseled by HUD certified agencies purchase a home within 1 year.
  • BNT is the most active HUD certified financial and housing counseling and education agency in Connecticut.
  • In 2023, we provided FREE services to over 2,600 individuals and helped over 165 households obtain a mortgage to purchase their FIRST HOME.
  • We provide our programming in both ENGLISH and SPANISH.
  • Did you know? 716 is the average credit score of first-time homebuyers.

Why Your Credit Counts – Quick Tips for Good Credit

  • Pay down your debt as much as possible
  • Pay your bills on time
  • Check your FREE credit report
  • Carefully consider the number of new accounts you open
  • Use your credit card responsibly
  • Resolve credit issues immediately
  • Avoid credit repair scams

How we can help – Let’s talk about

  • Reviewing your credit score
  • Planning and budgeting
  • Managing credit card debt
  • Improving your credit
  • How much money will I have to come up with to buy a house?

Well, that depends on a number of factors, including the cost of the house and the type of mortgage you get. In general, you need to come up with enough money to cover four costs: 1. Earnest money, the deposit you make on the home when you submit your offer, to prove to the seller that you are serious about wanting to buy the house…typically 1% of the contract price. 2. Down payment, a percentage of the cost of the home that you must pay when you go to settlement…e.g. as little as 3.50% with an FHA or CHFA mortgage. 3. Pre-closing costs, such as appraisal and home inspection costs…approximately $1,200. 4. Closing costs and pre-paid escrows – the costs associated with processing the paperwork to buy a house such as attorney fees, title search and insurance, credit report, flood certification fees, title transfer taxes, recording fees, tax and HOI pre-paid escrows…approximately 7% of the sale price.

BNT can help you find affordable mortgage financing and down payment assistance providers in Connecticut.

To start, you can use these simple mortgage calculators to see how much mortgage you can afford. If this amount is significantly less than the cost of homes that interest you, then you might want to wait a while longer before purchasing. But before you give up, why don’t you contact one of BNT’s housing counselors for a one on session? We can help you evaluate your loans potential and walk you through the process of getting pre-qualified for a loan. That means you go to a lender and apply for a mortgage before you actually start looking for a home. Then you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend, and it will speed up the process once you do find the home of your dreams.

Our one-on-one counseling is done in person and virtually, while most all of our classes are being done virtually. Class registration can be done easily online by CLICKING HERE. Homeownership counseling sessions are done by appointment only. To make an appointment, or for more information, CLICK HERE or call us today 203-290-4256.

No. All services are provided free of charge.

This class will give you information on the home buying process from “soup to nuts.” This includes info on budgeting and credit and FHA, down payment and closing cost assistance programs, property inspections, appraisal and insurance, the mortgage closing process, steps to protect your largest assets – your home, foreclosure prevention, and predatory lending.

Some first-time homebuyer loan programs, such as Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA Mortgage Programs), along with all Down Payment Assistance Programs, require proof of homebuyer education from a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Certified Housing Counseling Agency such as BNT.

A home is an investment and a way to build wealth and economic security. When you rent, you write your monthly check and that money is gone forever. But when you own your home, you can deduct the cost of your mortgage interest and property taxes from your federal and state income taxes. This will save you a lot each year, because the interest you pay will make up most of your monthly payment for most of the years of your mortgage. In addition, the value of your home may increase over the years, which builds equity (savings). Finally, you’ll enjoy having something that’s all yours – a piece of the American Dream.

What Our Clients & Partners Are Saying About Us:

"Dear Beverly,
We wanted to take a moment to express our sincere gratitude for the financial presentations you recently delivered to our Career Center clients here at Goodwill. Your expertise and dedication to helping individuals and families improve their financial literacy are truly admirable, & we are grateful for your partnership with us.
Your presentations were clear, informative, and engaging, and our clients learned a great deal from your insights and guidance. Your commitment to making a positive impact in our community is evident, and we are honored to work alongside you in this important endeavor.
Thank you for sharing your time, knowledge, and resources with us. Your contributions are making a real difference in the lives of the people we serve, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Building Neighborhoods Together."

– Mariaelena & Samantha from Goodwill of Western and Northern CT, 8/25/23

"Thank you Beverly! You are one those good people who wants to help! The impressive thing is that you did not forget sending me the referrals. Yesterday I sent you the documents that you requested. Let me know if anything else is needed. Thank you for your great job."

– Garbis, 8/24/23

"Beverly, thank you so much! The class was amazing and I learned so much. The homeownership monster seems so much easier to conquer now! Thank you again! "

– Ashlee, 4/1/23

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