First-time Homebuyer Counseling

Thinking of buying a home? New Jersey Citizen Action is here to assist you in achieving your dream of homeownership.

NJCA provides free one-on-one counseling to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers seeking to purchase a home in New Jersey.  While our counseling services are typically provided in person, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all services are currently being provided remotely. All of our housing counselors have received the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)’s Housing Counseling Certification, and are also certified by NeighborWorks America. Over 37,000 individuals and families have participated in NJCA’s housing counseling program since it first began in 1992. Since this time, more than 13,500 individuals have purchased homes through our program. Counseling services are available in English and Spanish.

NJCA’s First-time Homebuyer Counseling Provides:

  • Assistance in developing a personal long- or short-term action plan for resolving credit problems
  • Extended counseling to eliminate bad credit problems
  • Guidance in preparing a budget
  • Information and preparation for homeownership
  • Pre-qualification services that let you know how much of a house you can really afford
  • Information on special affordable and/or discounted mortgages and special grants or downpayment assistance for first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in New Jersey

First-time homebuyers interested in participating in our program will receive one-on-one assistance from one of our qualified counselors, who will assist them through the entire homebuying process – from understanding the pros and cons associated with owning vs. renting, to becoming “credit ready,” and ultimately “mortgage ready.”

As part of this process, your loan counselor will meet with you to evaluate your current financial situation, and explain the steps you should take to reach your goal of homeownership. The goal of NJCA’s first-time homebuyer program is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision, and have the resources you need to access a mortgage that you can afford.

New Jersey homeowners who are having trouble with their mortgage can participate in NJCA’s foreclosure counseling service. As part of the foreclosure counseling process, a Citizen Action loan counselor will meet with individuals to review their situations, understand the cause of their financial hardship, and develop an appropriate plan of action.

Note:  Please bring copies of all the following documents to your first session

  1. Copies of your complete Tax Returns  for the last two tax years (signed & dated)
  2. Copies of all W-2 and/ or 1099 forms for the last two tax years
  3. Copies of your most recent pay stubs covering a one month period.
  4. Copy of your year to date Profit & Loss – If self employed
  5. Copies of complete bank statements showing all activity for the past 2 months on all accounts, all pages (checking, saving, money market, etc.).
  6. Most recent utility bills (electric, trash, gas, water, cable, phone, internet, cell)
  7. Complete copy of discharge bankruptcy and explanation letter – If applicable
  8. Copy of divorce decree – If applicable
  9. Copy of a recent tri-merged merchant credit report OR check or money order for $25.00 for each client to pull credit report
  10. Identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.)

CERTIFICATIONS: NJCA is a HUD-certified housing counseling agency. All of our counselors have received HUD’s Housing Counseling Certification, and are also certified by NeighborWorks America. Citizen Action has adopted the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling.  NJCA is not an approved Credit Counseling Agency or a provider of an approved Personal Financial Management Instructional Course by the Executive Office for United States Trustees.

HOW TO APPLY (English & Español)

To sign up for NJCA’s free first-time homebuyer or foreclosure counseling services:

  1. Access our secure online application and submit it directly online (English);
  2. Call 1-800-NJ-OWNER [1-800-656-9637] to have a copy of the application mailed to you;
  3. Print out a copy of the application and mail or fax it to:

NJCA Loan Counseling Service
625 Broad Street, Suite 270
Newark, NJ 07102
Fax: (973) 643-8100

NJCA’s online application has SSL and Data Encryption security features.

On the ENGLISH APPLICATION FORM, the first question will ask you what type of counseling you need. This application form may be completed and submitted online, or printed and faxed or mailed to our office. Please keep a copy of your completed application for your records.

The SPANISH APPLICATION FORM must be printed out, completed, and scanned/emailed, faxed, or mailed back to our office. Once your application is received by NJCA, our Intake Coordinator will process the application and forward it to your assigned loan counselor.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please email our Office Administrator at We look forward to working with you!

Special thanks to our Sponsors and Partners: New Jersey Citizen Action would not be able to provide these free services to individuals and families without the help of our sponsors and partners:

Bank of America                                                                                                                        
Capital One Bank
Cathay Bank
Citibank, N.A.
County of Essex
Housing & Community Development Network of NJ
HSBC Bank, N.A.
Investors Bank
M&T Bank
New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund
PNC Bank, N.A.
Roselle Savings Bank
RSI Bank
Santander Bank, N.A.
Sterling National Bank
TD Bank, N.A.
The Provident Bank
Union County Savings Bank
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
Valley Bank
Victoria Foundation                                                                                                                
Wells Fargo Bank