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Workshop preps people for homebuying

Buying a home is a major investment. A homebuyer education program coming to Perham offers the opportunity to be informed before you buy.

"Home Stretch" is an eight-hour class offered by a network of trained homebuyer educators throughout the state. This free class will be offered on Wednesday, Sept. 12 and Thursday, Sept. 13 from 5-9:30 p.m. at the Perham Area Public Library. The class also includes a free half-hour session with a trained housing advisor, plus dinner both evenings and opportunities for free follow-up counseling.

Participants will hear about the Perham Housing Authority's Employer Assistance Program, which helps provide down-payment assistance to qualified homebuyers who work in Perham and will be living within the city limits. Two of Perham's employers, along with Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, have partnered with the HRA to provide these funds in the form of a zero-interest, 30-year deferred loan, along with a grant for those homebuyers with children.

"Depending on where you work, your household size and income, you may qualify for up to $15,500 in Employer Assistance funds," said Mary Holzer, assistant director of the Perham HRA.

The class agenda focuses on steps to homeownership, budgeting, the closing process and more. Games, videos and additional special guest presenters from the region - including a spending plan specialist, credit and personal financial educator, loan officer, and real estate agent - will also be on hand.

Participants will leave with a Home Stretch manual that outlines the home-buying process step-by-step, and also provides helpful post-purchase information on home maintenance and foreclosure prevention.

"The Home Stretch workshop helps buyers understand how to find the best house, best price and best loan program for them," said Homebuyer Educator Rosy Hjermstad, "and thanks to grant support, it is absolutely free."

To preregister, call Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation toll-free at 1-800-752-6579.