Fortunately, Synovus Mortgage Corp. has teamed up with the Walker County Community Action Agency and several other local businesses and nonprofits to bring a free seminar that is targeted specifically for the general public interested in becoming a homeowner.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking into purchasing another home, the “Keys to Homeownership” seminar will answer any inquiry you may have.
“It’s a homebuyer education seminar, and our focus is to educate potential first-time homebuyers and let them know the nuances of purchasing a home, especially in lieu of what’s happened in the industry with the housing crisis and the opportunity for the market and the industry to come back,” said Darryl Ward, vice president community development manager at Synovus Mortgage in Birmingham.
“Synovus has an initiative where we are going out to various markets, and I thought Jasper would be the perfect place. I met Deidre [Tatum] a couple of months ago at a meeting we had with the Walker Area Community Foundation, and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to talk about the bullet points we have on the flyer.”
Areas of interest that will be mentioned at the seminar include: credit, buying a home, obtaining a mortgage loan, appraisal, home inspection, closing and title transfer. Tatum, who is the executive director at the Walker County Community Action Agency, said registration forms are available at the agency. It is not required to pre-register for the event, however, it will guarantee an automatic seat at the seminar.
“We’ll have a professional group coming in to give information and answer questions on the steps and what they need to do in order to purchase a home,” Tatum said. “It’s a great informative thing, and it’s not just for people that are quote ‘middle income,’ it includes the low-income population also.”
Sponsors of the event are Synovus Mortgage Corp., First Bank of Jasper, Alabama Housing Finance Authority, United Way, Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham, Walker Area Community Foundation and Community Action Partnership.
Not only will each sponsor have a representative speaking on their behalf, but other speakers present will include White Pepper Real Estate, attorney Brent Thornley and Byars Insurance.
“We’re also going to talk about down payment assistance programs because the No. 1 obstacle to buying a home is credit followed by monies to buy a home, so we’re going to have someone there to talk about down payment assistance programs,” Ward said.
The seminar will be held Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. at the Harold Wade Math and Science building of Bevill State’s Jasper campus in room 105 of the Matthew’s Lecture Hall. A question and answer segment will follow the presentations. Refreshments also will be served.
“[The housing market] hasn’t changed from 20 or 40 years ago, but it has changed from four or five years ago. That’s because somewhere about six or seven years ago a lot of products were developed called exotic mortgages,” Ward said. “... They were mortgages that were allowing people to get into a home without qualifying, but now you absolutely have to qualify.”
Ward continued to say that it’s not easy to qualify for a home due to requirements and restrictions. But, there are resources out there for those who are interested in being a homeowner.
“All of the exotic products that were created, all the products that allowed people to get homes that probably shouldn’t have bought them, caused the mortgage crisis in the country. That’s why we’ve had a lot of foreclosures over the last few years, a lot of people lost their homes,” Ward said. “It just attributed to the whole big picture of the economical decline that occurred starting in 2008. ... Everything that goes into what we’re talking about kind of leads to people managing their money better.”
The seminar is free and open to anyone age 18 and over, regardless of income standings. You can still show up to the event without pre-registering. For more information, contact Tatum at the Walker County Community Action Agency at (205) 224-4011 or (205) 275-3192.
“I work with low-income population people, and they need to know that homeownership is available to them. Also, they need to know the process and the steps that are necessary to be prepared for purchasing a home,” Tatum said. “All of this is an education and benefit, as far as financial benefits, that are available for them. So, they need to be aware of what’s available for them and how to get it.”