Homebuyer Education Prepares You for Homeownership

Buying a house and providing for her family was a life goal for Amber Maunders. This goal seemed to be a stretch when Maunders started house shopping. But after enrolling in "Make Your Move" and "Credit When Credit is Due," classes offered by Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills (CCCS-BH), buying a house suddenly seemed very possible. "The class was a huge help. I wish I would have taken it 12 years ago so that I knew of the opportunities that were out there for me," said Maunders.

"Many people ask questions to lenders and Realtors, and quite frankly they have a different agenda," said Terry Mills (pictured), homebuyer education counselor of CCCS-BH. "I like giving out info to people who don't really know about money and credit, because homeownership is about one of the scariest and biggest things you'll do in your lifetime. We like to give them the facts, and then let them decide," Mills said.

Maintenance, mowing, shoveling and painting are things Mills said people tend not to think about when buying a home. "People don't realize classes like this can help them qualify for VA and Rural Development loans, Habitat for Humanity housing or even a deposit waiver through Black Hills Power," commented Mills.

The need for homebuyer education was addressed by SDHDA's Board of Commissioners in 2001 creating and funding a separate 501(c)(3) affiliate, Homeownership Education Resource Organization (HERO). This affiliate built on existing services by working directly with agencies across South Dakota that already promote or would like to promote homeownership education. These agencies were not only strongly established in their own areas but were vital contributors to their respective communities and proved an excellent basis for expanded quality homeownership education throughout South Dakota. Funding by SDHDA and HERO Partners like Citi Foundation has allowed agencies to expand their HERO approved homebuyer education services to include underserved markets and minority groups as well.

When asked what home ownership meant Maunders simply replied "it's the American dream right?" Maunders hopes that her daughters will be able to be homeowners one day, and if they need assistance HERO approved homebuyer education will be there for them.