|August 8, 2013
The path to home ownership starts with knowledge
By Lailani Upham
Affordable Homeownership Counselors Nicole Antoine covers eight modules from the Native Homeownership Guide from “Exploring ownership” to “Protecting your investment” during the one-day workshop. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — Whether you are fresh out of high school or close to retirement, get informed and gain assurance in purchasing a home at the upcoming Flathead Finance Program Home Ownership Education Class.
The class is open to everyone that wants to purchase a home, refinance, remodel or build their own dream home with a binder of information and breakfast and lunch included.
It is held at the Salish and Kootenai Housing Authority board room beginning at 7:45 a.m. sharp and will end at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 22.
The program has been ongoing for 12 years with nine classes held per year ranging from ten to 20 people per class, according to Katie McClure, SKHA Housing Resource Manager.
From 2009 to 2012 approximately 447 students have been certified through the class and there have been 153 that have purchased a home, McClure stated.
“There could be more who have bought homes, but that is what we know of so far,” McClure said.
SKHA Affordable Homeownership Counselor, Micky Bourdon said the class offers to bridge the gap with them (home buyers) and the banks. “We make it so it’s not so scary. We try to bring in the loan officers in to talk to the clients and answer questions, so when it comes time to go in for a loan they are not strangers to them,” Bourdon added.
“We let them know we are here even after they buy a home to help with whatever needs or questions they have in owning in a home,” Bourdon said.
Many participants find their budget and credit score isn’t healthy enough to purchase or build a home. SKHA offers consumer credit counseling to help home buyers get on a budget and repair their credit. The dream of owning a home can be accomplished in a year, according to the class instructors and finance counselors.
Bourdon said the team understands and respects that the process of purchasing a home is a private issue. “It can also be an embarrassing issue, but we keep it confidential and give them the tools to make a change,” she said.
In the last Homebuyers class comments from participants stated their experience on rating the class:
“I came in knowing nothing about buying a home. I figured I would never be able to buy a home, but I learned a lot from the class and am exited to home one day.”
“It was direct for a one day class, basic and to the point.”
“It gives me more confidence in myself to build my future and a future for my family.”
Comments on whether the class was helpful in expanding knowledge on the process of owning a home:
“Even though I am not ready to buy a house now, this class has given me a lot of insight so I can start preparing.”
“Very helpful, I’ve learned a few more things I hadn’t known before.”
“I didn’t know the first thing about buying a home, I feel very confident in my knowledge now.”
Comments on rating the Homebuyer class instructors:
“Both very friendly and helpful with any questions I had.”
“Very knowledgeable. I appreciated their honesty and examples.”
“They were very enthusiastic.”
To reserve a seat in the next class call, (406) 675-44911, ext. 1517.