By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 9, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 9, 2012) -- Soldiers and their Families often move from post to post and they may be hit with the burden of having to buy a new home or sell their existing one, but Army Community Service provides the Home Buying and Selling workshop to help make that process an enjoyable experience, according to the ACS Survivor Outreach Services financial counselor.
"Buying a home can be an exciting time in [one's] life, but in the military it can be a financial pitfall for some," said Beth Gunter. "For many in the military, they never know when that next permanent change of station order is going to come, so we want people to go into home buying [and selling] with the tools to make good decisions."
The workshop will be led by Gunter, who is also a certified housing counselor, to equip people with the knowledge they need to understand what is involved with buying and selling a home and how to go about the process properly.
"It's a two-evening program," she said. "The first evening we will go over loans and talk to people about what types of information you need to be able to present to the bank in order to get a loan."
The first session of the workshop will also cover the different types of mortgages that banks offer and educate people on the different paperwork involved with getting a mortgage like Housing and Urban Development statements, good-faith estimates, and truth and lending disclosures.
"We want to teach people what all that means so when they sit down at a closing, they're not looking at a stack of papers thinking 'Oh my gosh, what am I doing?'" said the housing counselor.
During the second session, Gunter said that people are educated on how to go about buying and selling a house. They are shown how they should present a home and how to get their home into the market to stand out against other houses in the same market.
"In so many markets, there is such an influx of homes and so many of them selling out of foreclosure," she said. "So if [people] are trying to sell their home straight out and don't want to lose any money on it, [we] can show them how they might be able to do that."
The program teaches people how to go about selling a home by owner to save money and maximize their profit during the selling process.
"Sometimes realtor fees can really cut into the profit that people are making when selling their homes since it is a buyer's market right now," Gunter said.
Realtors go hand-in-hand when dealing with buying and selling homes, and people don't always have to use them, but if they want to the workshop teaches people how to choose a realtor that is best for them and their situation, she said.
"We show people what to look for in a realtor and … make sure that people are given the information they need as to not be taken advantage of," she said. "[If they get a realtor], we want to make sure people have the knowledge to ask the right questions and find a realtor who works well with their personality, has the time to work with them and knows the area well."
Going into the process of buying or selling a home without the proper education can have disadvantages that can end up costing people more money when buying a home or cutting into their profits when selling, she said.
"One of the pitfalls [that people encounter] when selling a home is overpricing their home," said the housing counselor. "Those that bought their homes during the housing bubble owe so much on their house that they're [upside down] on how much they owe."
This can cause people to overprice their home when listing it, which can result in their house being on the market for too long with no interested buyers, she added.
Another pitfall that people run into is not knowing what resources and what programs are out there for people to use and educate themselves on buying and selling their homes, according to Gunter.
"We have about eight or nine people in each workshop and in a way it's kind of nice to have a small group like that because we can really get into the individual situations in each person's life," she said. "Every time I've done the workshop … I walk away feeling that somebody has a better grasp of what's going on when buying and selling their home."
The workshop will be Aug. 21 and 23 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Bldg. 5700, Rm. 284, and is available to all ID card holders including, Department of the Army civilians. People interested in the workshop must register by Aug. 16. There is no cost associated with the workshop, but childcare is not provided.
For more information or to register, call 255-9639.