First Time Homebuyer

Helping families achieve financial stability through home ownership and mortgage assistance

Isles is a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified housing counseling agency. Our pre-purchase home buyer counseling and support offers individual credit and housing sessions and home buyer workshops. Isles also provides information on financial assistance programs available to qualified first time home buyers, including funds for down payment and/or closing costs.

We believe pre-purchase counseling is essential in helping homeowners understand all of the costs involved in homeownership and in choosing a home that fits their budget. 

Our Services


As a potential first time home buyer, you will receive one-on-one credit and housing counseling to guide you on your path toward home ownership.

Through one-on-one counseling we will help you:
        – Understand the home purchase process
        – Decide if purchasing a home is the right financial choice for you
        – Review your credit and help repair any deficiencies
        – Create a concrete budget to determine a responsible mortgage payment
        – Discuss financial assistance opportunities
        – Review your mortgage documents at closing
        – Offer other advice on your home purchase process


Isles offers a First-Time Home Buyer Workshop for those planning to purchase a home. This workshop takes the mystery out of the purchasing process and prepares participants to become successful home owners. As a participant, you will learn about key elements of home buying, including mortgage qualification, working with a realtor, having a home inspected and the closing process.

Completion of this workshop will qualify you for a First-Time Home Buyer’s Education Certificate. This certificate is a requirement for access to many financial assistance programs offered by lenders, government agencies and nonprofits.

This full-day workshop is generally held on a Saturday and is offered in both English and Spanish. Visit our events page for upcoming workshop dates.

Online resources

Isles offers free resources for home-buying online, including recordings of our webinars and information from local lenders, realtors, and financial assistance providers. Visit this page here.

Visit our First-Time Homebuyer Resources page for recordings of Isles webinars and information from local lenders, realtors, and financial assistance providers.

For more information about our services
or to make an appointment with a counselor,
fill out this form
or call 609.341.4783

The Challenge

While many see homeownership as fulfilling the “American dream,” the purchase of a home for low-income families is not always a positive financial proposition. Often, homes that these buyers can afford require substantial repairs and have older heating systems that are costly to operate or need replacement. Over 50% of minority low-income homeowners live in neighborhoods with poverty rates exceeding 20%. Unfortunately, persistently low-income individuals also struggle to maintain ownership of their homes with only 64% remaining homeowners after two years and 47% after five years. The high percentage of household income dedicated to housing seems to make it more difficult for low-income homeowners whose employment may be more fragile and are less likely to experience wage progression.

Furthermore, low-income households experience less appreciation in the value of their homes than higher-income individuals. Even when duration of homeownership is taken into account, the value of homes owned by low-income individuals increased by only 30% over ten years—a lower rate of return than that produced by Treasury Bills.

Studies have shown a much lower rate of foreclosure with homeowners who received high-quality pre-purchase counseling from a HUD-approved agency. Isles works with potential homebuyers to understand the home purchase process and determine if buying a home is the right financial decision for them.

2023 Snapshot

83 customers earned housing certificates (to qualify for financial assistance.)


26 customers purchased a first home.


65 people received individual pre-purchase counseling.