COACH Day: Resource Fair for Homebuyers

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Special to Dorchester Banner/Cambridge Economic Development
Real estate agents from Mid-Shore Board of Realtors will be among the representatives participating in the upcoming resource fair for affordable homeownership. The March 12 event is free and open to the public.

CAMBRIDGE – COACH Day, on March 12, will help to dispel the myths hindering many from attempting to purchase a home. The Community Outreach for Attainable Cambridge Housing (COACH) Day will bring together those interested in owning a home with local, state and federal resources. This event is free and open to the public; prize drawings will be offered and light refreshments will be available. Employers are encouraged to publicize this resource fair with their associates.

Individuals with limited savings, credit issues, and previous rental issues, can possibly secure financing with the guidance of trained financial and real estate professionals. These experts are joining forces on COACH Day to help empower citizens and assist in the navigation of the home buying process. Agencies such as the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will participate along with local lending institutions, brokers and real estate agents to initiate working relationships with anyone who wants to buy a home.

The March 12 workshop, which starts at 9:30 am at Delmarva Community Services in their Community Action Center at 1000 Goodwill Avenue in Cambridge, is perfect for individuals who have considered purchasing a home or, simply want to learn more. Time is allotted for one-on-one consultations with the various professionals which is an invaluable opportunity to prepare to become a successful homeowner.

New homeowner Tina Thompson-Brummell knows the value in this kind of individual support. When Tina first moved into her new home, a house she had bought, she would wake up in the morning and say, “This is amazing!” She had wanted to buy a house because her parents were living in a two-story rental that was no longer suitable and she wanted to make them more comfortable living with her. She also wanted the financial advantages that homeownership entails.

Still, she was scared, reluctant to take the first steps. Everything changed when she discovered COACH and the help she could get to make purchasing a home a reality. This small, articulate and lively woman was ready for the big commitment. She could take care of her parents, build equity for her young adult son, and take pride and comfort in her accomplishment.

With information collected from COACH Day, Tina actually had finance and real estate professionals to lead her through the process. First there was the math, calculating income and having help in assessing what she could afford. Tina has a steady job, in fact, she has two. At Oyster Mortgage, she had a thoughtful coach who worked through her fears and obstacles. Tina is a religious woman, and occasionally in the tough moments, she would say, “Oh Lord, you take the wheel.”

Finding an affordable appropriate house, one with no steps, and in good condition was a challenge. A realtor volunteering in the COACH Day program showed her houses, and she went through what all homebuyers go through, a variation of the Goldilocks story. “This house has too many steps, this house is too vandalized, but this house is just right.”

Tina says throughout the process, the realtor and mortgage lenders of the COACH program were supportive. They listened as she asked many questions and at no time did anyone make her feel inadequate. Her advice to any man or woman who wants homeownership but thinks it’s not possible is “Clear your mind and be honest with yourself. Know your finances, recognize the responsibilities of fuel and repair bills, be ready to live within your budget. At COACH Day, you will have people who want to help you and guide you to your house.” Like Tina, you may wake up, look around the room in your own house and say, “This is amazing!”

The COACH Day event offers three workshop sessions, beginning at 10:30 am. The first one offers an overview of the homebuying process. The next, starting around 11:15 am, will address debt and credit issues that prospective buyers may need to address in order to secure financing. A closing panel discussion will offer guidance on different affordable mortgage financing options.

Representatives from Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Delmarva Community Services, Funk & Bolton, Habitat for Humanity Choptank, 1180 Bank, Oyster Mortgage Company, Provident State Bank, Talbot Bank, USDA and Whitten Insurance are among the resources that will be available to discuss various mortgage options, and insurance and titling questions with some offering to pre-qualify serious candidates. Real estate agents from the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors will provide information and photos of houses available for sale in the area.

The fifth of its kind, COACH Day is a collaborative effort initiated by the City of Cambridge through its Maple Street Program with participating partners Delmarva Community Services, Habitat for Humanity Choptank, and Cambridge Rental, LLC.

For more information visit www.choosecambridge.com, e-mail ced@choosecambridge.com, or call Cambridge Economic Development at 410-221-6074.

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