Helping the new prospective home buyer

For most people, purchasing a home is the biggest financial transaction of their lives. Yet many do so with little or no formal instruction. The Home Program helps fill this void by providing prospective buyers with education, counselling, referrals and other assistance in their quest for a house to call their own

For most people, purchasing a home is the biggest financial transaction of their lives. Yet many do so with little or no formal instruction.

The Home Program helps fill this void by providing prospective buyers with education, counselling, referrals and other assistance in their quest for a house to call their own. Launched in Edmonton in 2001, the program has been offered in Red Deer, but disappeared in recent years.

Correna Rae, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Ontrack Realty, resurrected the program in Red Deer in January, and has led subsequent sessions in April and September.

She’s offering the next Nov. 20 and 22.

“We’ve got some really excellent presenters who have committed their time and gotten involved,” said Rae.

These include Angela Epp, a mortgage broker with Mortgage Alliance Advance Mortgage of Red Deer; Jeff Ferguson, a home inspector with Home Safe N’ Sound Inspections Ltd. of Red Deer; and Lani Rouillard, a lawyer with Rouillard Law Office in Sylvan Lake. Rae will share her knowledge as a Realtor. Slated to run a total of six hours, the two sessions will provide an overview of home ownership, discuss affordability issues, and review the process of obtaining a mortgage, shopping for a home and completing the transaction. There is no cost to attend, and those who take part can obtain individual counselling and even apply for financial assistance of up to 2 1/2 per cent of the purchase price of a home.

To qualify for that funding, the homebuyer must use a Realtor who participates in The Home Program, with that Realtor then contributing a portion of his or her commission back to the program.

However, those who take the educational sessions are under no obligation to use those Realtors, said Rae.

“They’re free to do whatever they want to do. The program itself is designed to keep the consumer educated and to make sure they’ve still got choice.”

There is no maximum income requirement for those seeking to register for the educational courses and/or the broader program, she added.

“A multimillionaire can sit through it, and then if they want to use the program they’re welcome to.

“We don’t want to focus in on any particular group. It’s for anybody who’s interested in purchasing at all.”

Rae thinks the educational benefits of The Home Program are huge, particularly for those who are unsure whether they should buy or how to proceed.

“When you don’t know what you don’t know, a lot of people don’t move forward.

“They don’t have the means to make an educated decision on anything.”

The educational component provides participants with objective information, said Rae, which might even convince them that they’re not ready for home ownership.

The Home Program has been offered primarily in Calgary and Edmonton, but Rae is determined to make it easily accessible to Central Albertans as well. She hopes to run the educational sessions here four times a year.

“I just think it’s a fantastic program.”

The Home Program is supported by the Alberta Real Estate Association’s Affordable Housing Initiative, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and the Capital Regional Housing’s CTD Housing Solutions.

Additional information about the program and the upcoming Red Deer sessions can be obtained by calling Rae at 403-506-9643 or by going to the program’s website at www.thehomeprogram.ca.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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