Home Buying 101 Classes Are A Big Hit With Mississippi Residents
It’s not unusual to hear laughter coming from the room when a Home Buying 101 Class is in session at the Meridian Board of REALTOR® (MBR) offices. “We get lots of applause, laughter, and a really good Q&A in our open forum. Prospective home buyers leave our class feeling positive and well equipped to look for their first home.” says MBR executive Betty Oltremari.
The classes began in 2015 with the goal of educating first time buyers about the home buying process. Oltremari shared MBR’s motivation for offering the classes, “We believe it’s important to invest time into helping people have a better understanding of one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. We also want them to know the American dream is possible when you understand how to achieve it.”
The hour and a half long classes are typically held quarterly and conducted by a panel of REALTORS® and relevant affiliates. Panels rotate every class so that the materials stay fresh and more MBR members have a chance to be involved. Each panelist speaks for about 10 minutes and takes a few immediate questions afterwards. At the end of the class, there is 20 to 30 minutes of open forum and attendees are encouraged to stay longer if they want to speak directly with any presenter.
The speakers present their topics in the same order prospective homebuyers will go through as the look for their first home. REALTORS® introduce themselves and share how their role benefits home buyers. Lenders are up next, providing sample loan documents and sharing what buyers need to gather for pre-approval. Appraisers, home inspectors and termite inspectors then discuss the importance of their role. An attorney speaks last, walking students through a sample closing and beyond.
MBR funds the classes themselves, and seeks out free advertising opportunities like social media, radio and TV programs to promote upcoming sessions. The board has been getting calls from residents asking when their next class will be held. Oltremari responds, “There are about 40,000 residents in Meridian and we average about 15 students per class. Our goal is to expand, making future classes an even bigger event that can reach more people.”