One hundred attend Homeownership Festival

Carma Brown quizzes broker Alan Workman with Remax 400 at Home Loan Investment Company booth at the Homeownership Festival at the Botanical Gardens Saturday.

The homes here weren’t as cheap as they expected, but $200,000 price tags looked better than the $800,000 listings Amani and Tiawana Bullock had grown used to in California.

The couple moved from the Golden State to Grand Junction to open Family Room Fellowship church in January.

They have their eye on a home, but they wanted some advice about loans before making the down payment, which brought them Saturday to the Keys to Homeownership Festival at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

“We wanted to see what the options were and what is the best option,” Amani Bullock said.

After learning at one of the informational sessions that he and his wife could apply for a loan through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Bullock said he “definitely got something out of the day.”

Event organizers estimated more than 100 people attended and gleaned advice from professionals at the event.

While half-hour seminars took place in a tent beside the amphitheater, loan advisers, real estate agents and representatives from insurance and title companies explained their services at booths spread across the grass.

Krista McCracken works at Home Loan and served on the organizing committee for the festival. The committee rounded up affiliates of the Grand Junction Area Realtors Association to participate in the event and modeled it after a similar festival in Denver. The idea was to provide one-stop shopping for people hoping to learn about the process of buying a home or financing the one they have.

McCracken said economic news and unflattering real estate stories during the recession have unnecessarily frightened some potential buyers.

People hear the banks are tightening lending, but her company offers VA and rural housing loans “that completely finance homes,” McCracken said.

“When someone thinks ‘I can’t be a homeowner, I don’t have $20,000 to put on a home,’ that’s not true.”

Federal programs are offering 3.5 percent down, McCracken said, and a tax-credit offers $8,000 to home buyers who haven’t owned a home in the past three years.

The tax credit was the most asked-about homeownership issue at Saturday’s festival, according to CHFA business development specialist Pam Francil, who spoke at one of the festival’s seminars.

Francil said attending information sessions is the best thing a first-time homeowner can do to avoid ending up in one of the pitfalls, such as foreclosure or trying to pay a mortgage that’s
too expensive.

“People think it’s just like renting, and it’s not,” Francil said. “Education is the key to prevent a lot of the issues going on right now.”


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