Lots to hear and learn about buying

More than 1,000 prospective home buyers are expected to attend Homeownership Modesto next Sunday to learn about purchasing opportunities in the region.

The free event at Modesto Centre Plaza is sponsored by The Bee and the city of Modesto.

It will start with an intensive four-hour morning training session for 550 interested home buyers. Registration for that event is full.

The main program, however, will be open to everyone and provide a well-rounded slate of speakers and informational booths. It runs from noon to 5 p.m.

Speakers in the Arbor Theatre will include:

Modesto city staff members explaining how low- and middle-income families, as well as investors, can qualify for low-interest loans to buy and repair foreclosed Modesto homes.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development field office director Rollie Smith explaining how loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration are helping make mortgages affordable.

California Department of Real Estate Deputy Commissioner Kim Kesterson offering advice on what people need to know and consider before they buy a home.

California Housing Finance Agency outreach manager Leah M. Pears talking about mortgages and the home buying opportunities offered by her agency.

Internal Revenue Service representative Mary Ranell, plus Michael McGrath and Richard Williamsen from the Big Valley Chapter of California Society of Enrolled Agents, explaining the tax advantages of homeownership and real estate investments.

Bee business editor David Hill presenting an overview of what has happened to the region's real estate market.

Dozens of informational booths will fill the adjacent Harvest Hall, offering real estate-oriented advice and services. Nonprofit and government agencies will staff booths to explain what help they can provide potential home buyers.

Modesto Centre Plaza is at 1000 L St. in downtown Modesto.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at or 578-2196.

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