Not many people would enjoy going to work for six hours on a Saturday afternoon. However, Anthony Parran might be one of them. With over 18 years of experience educating and empowering prospective homebuyers, Mr. Parran conducts free monthly homeownership workshops where he provides packets of information, guest speakers, sandwiches, and a friendly atmosphere where questions can be posed freely.
Despite the workshop’s easy-going environment, however, Parran also makes sure that homebuyers know the effort required in purchasing and owning a home. Referring to himself as the “reality check man,” Parran warns of scammers, stresses the work required to repair damaged credit, and advises participants to “know your [financial] comfort zone.”
In the aftermath of the economic and foreclosure crisis-and after years of increased complexity in the home-buying process-such counseling is needed now as much as ever. For while the benefits of homeownership education-including reduced mortgage default rates and increased purchasing power-have long been realized, the ongoing foreclosure crisis has been a dramatic reminder of the importance of homeownership education and counseling.
The financial crisis has also had a significant impact upon the Homeownership Program’s work. Future efforts are focused on new methods of outreach, increased follow-up with clients, and improved case management. Given current market conditions, the program is also re-evaluating its curriculum in order to take a more comprehensive approach, with increased emphasis on post-purchase and financial literacy counseling.
As Mr. Parran says, “experience is the best teacher.” And there is much to learn from the current wave of foreclosures.