Real Estate

Huge response enlarges first-time home buyer event

The first-time home buyers training May 17 at Homeownership Modesto has been expanded so more prospective home buyers can attend.

An overwhelming number of people have requested the free consumer-oriented training, so more instructors have been added and more space will be made at Modesto Centre Plaza.

Completion of the training is required to be eligible for federal money, like down-payment assistance and low-interest loans to buy and repair foreclosed homes.

About $50 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money is allocated to Northern San Joaquin Valley communities this spring to help people buy and occupy vacant, foreclosed houses.

More than $8 million will go to Modesto. Some of that cash will be loaned at very low interest rates to first-time home buyers who need money for down payments, closing costs and home repairs.

Stanislaus County will get $9.7 million in federal money to buy and renovate foreclosed homes. Buyers for the fixed-up houses are sought and will be given very low interest rate loans to help them qualify.

Other cities and counties also will be helping buyers purchase foreclosed houses.

Low- and middle-income families can qualify for the home-buying programs. A family of four, for example, can earn up to $71,500 per year and still be eligible.

To qualify for any of the government home-buying programs, however, potential buyers must complete eight hours of homeownership training and earn a Housing Workshop Certificate.

The first four hours of that training will be provided free from 8 a.m. to noon May 17 at Modesto Centre Plaza as part of the Homeownership Modesto event. Participants can complete the final four hours of their training by arrangement at a later date.

The training will help people determine if they are better off buying a home or renting. It will explain how large a mortgage payment they realistically can afford and what they must do to qualify for home loans.

Information about the loan process, the importance of credit scores, real estate terms and how to avoid bad loans will be covered.

Registration is required for the May 17 training. To sign up, go online to www.modbee.com/homeownership, look for the "How to Sign Up" headline and the phrase "Click here to register for the Homeownership Expo." Fill out and submit that form.

Those who previously filled out that form and were put on a waiting list will be registered automatically for the May 17 training. Look for a City of Modesto e-mail confirming the registration.

Complete information about how to get Neighborhood Stabilization Program loans, including loans for investors who want to buy foreclosed property, will be offered at the Homeownership Modesto event from noon to 5 p.m. May 17.

The afternoon portion will include informal workshops on assorted homeownership topics, including mortgages, taxes and what to know before buying.

There will be dozens of booths with information about home-buying opportunities.

For more information, visit www.modbee.com/homeownership.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at jsbranti@modbee.com or 578-2196.

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