Program in Aiken helps potential homeowners

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, August 252010

Home ownership is all part of the American dream, and soon that dream could be a reality for some people in Aiken once they complete a six week course on home ownership. The City of Aiken is offering free classes for the next few weeks called the "Community Home buyer Education Program." the participants learn how to set up a budget, details on how a credit score is derived and how to plan for financial independence. The course is open to anyone who wants to prepare for buying a home.

Rysheeka Bush is farther than most when it comes to knowing about home ownership. Still, she wants to learn more. She is a first time home buyer.

"I'm 32 years old and I just feel like it's time," said Bush. "I know what I want, I know what type of space I want so there are a lot of things that I"m kind of ahead of the curve on but it's always good to learn and that's why I'm here."

Bush along with others are part of the Aiken city "Community Home buyer Education Program" class. A guidebook, along with budget worksheets and determination will help get these hopeful home buyers into new homes. There's also the right person to help them get there.For about six years, Leasa Segura,Neighborhood Development Supervisor at City of Aiken, has counseled, coached and committed her time to educating people into homes.

"The goal is to prepare you to make a good decision on whether or not you're ready to be a homeowner,"said Segura. "If someone says to me, hey you know what I took that class and I"m not ready to be a homeowner, I think that's a good realistic decision."

Making the right decision is the core of the program. The class focuses on the pitfalls of buying a home, like knowing what to expect before and after you sign the dotted line. It also explains the lingo and most importantly helps the home buyer stay in the new place.

"We help people try to take control of their finances,"added Segura."We don't understand when you are paying your mortgage, how much we're paying interest and how you can control some of that by prepaying your loan."

Segura talks about the Four "C's" of home buying --capital, capacity, credit and collateral. During the course, she goes into detail about how they all affect a home buyer's ability to maintain a new house.

"Three of them are about you,"she said. "If you've got the four C's in order, then you are ready for a mortgage."

Bush says she knows she'll have to watch her money even closer- once she gets into her new home early next year. She believes that she's ready.

"I used to be really free with my money, now I am so tight, you can barely get me to go to the movies,"said Bush. "I feel like I'm very good with my money, whereas before I was not. I"ve matured mentally and financially to the point where I feel like I"m responsible enough to figure out what bills I have, manage my money and not only get in a home but maintain it. I just feel that it's part of my development as a woman to have my own,and to have my own home.."

Other aspects of the class include savings, maintenance and how to keep up home value. The class is taught four to six times a year and there is also a "financial independence" class coming up in the near future that teaches how to manage money -- even if home buying is not the goal.

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