Nonprofit helps households pursue homeownership Purchasing a new home is a complex process with many moving parts. That means households looking to purchase a new place must work with finance and real estate professionals to reach their goal. Homebuyers education courses are the key to understanding the ins and outs of homeownership and working with experts.
tudies show that people who attend homebuyer education courses are less likely to become delinquent on their mortgage. For that reason, most mortgage companies or lending programs require individuals purchasing a home for the first time to attend a class. HomesFund Serving Southwest Colorado offers homebuyers education courses periodically for the community. Just last year, the organization prepared 325 households for home ownership. “We’re a nonprofit organization that is trying to further people’s education and make sure that they really understand what they are getting into when they get into home ownership,” said HomesFund Executive Director Lisa Bloomquist Palmer. “We have a comprehensive program with three prongs to it.” HomesFund helps working-class individuals establish roots in the community and build equity through education, advisement and mortgage assistance. Prospective
Of the more than 400 people that participated in an educational course or advisement, more than 100 became homeowners in 2017. With the proper knowledge, the transition to owning a home could be more simple than you think.
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homebuyers attend a day-long class to learn what it takes to be a successful home owner. There is a $15 fee for materials which include an informational booklet that participants can take home. “Our materials are quite robust,” Palmer said. “Our booklet has all sorts of valuable information for people to use.” The class covers an array of topics in an 8-hour period including pros and cons of home ownership, budgeting and credit as well as the different roles in the home buying process and how they help individuals reach their goal. Palmer said that she invites professionals to speak to the class about their roles, offer advice and answer questions. In the past, she said guests usually include realtors, lenders, home inspectors and insurance agents. The class also addresses the costs associated with purchasing and owning a home, and is approved by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Federal Housing Authority and many other mortgage programs. “Basically we are an unbiased source of information,” Palmer said. “I think it is quite appreciated by people.” Beyond providing education to southwest Colorado communities, HomesFund offers advisement at no cost to the client. Last year, 102 households received this one-on-one counseling. Visiting with an adviser helps individuals break down their budget and assess affordability. The organization also offers down payment and mortgage assistance, but that program is not available to everyone. “Both the homebuyer education class and pre-purchase counseling services are available to anyone,” Palmer said. “Our mortgage assistance program depends on income. It’s designed to get our workforce into homeownership. We want people who work here to live here and really be part of the community.” n