Classes free for all Local Residents

Fort Wayne, Ind. – The City's Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services is inviting Fort Wayne residents to attend a free Homebuyer Education Class and improve their knowledge about buying and maintaining a home.

The next classes are scheduled for October 6, November 14 and December 1, 2012. They take place at the following locations:

• Oct. 6: Envision Life Center, 4822 Projects Dr., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Nov. 14: Red Cross Meeting Room F, 1212 E. California Rd., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Dec. 1: Red Cross Meeting Room B, 1212 E. California Rd., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anyone interested in taking the class should call 427-1127 or 311. Reasonable accommodations will be made for those with disabilities; language translation services can also be arranged.

"Time and again, people who take this class tell us they gain a tremendous amount of knowledge they can use to become better homebuyers and homeowners," said Heather Presley-Cowen, director of the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services. "This class promotes responsible homeownership, which is essential to strengthening our neighborhoods and improving the quality of life in Fort Wayne."

Each class is eight hours long and uses the "Realizing the American Dream" curriculum developed by NeighborWorks America. Participants receive a Certificate of Training signed by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Certified Housing Counselor. The certificate may be used to apply for local homebuyer assistance programs, such as the City of Fort Wayne Down Payment Assistance program. Specific requirements apply to each program.

Topics covered in the curriculum include:

• Are you ready to buy a home? – Tools to help you make successful decisions.

• Managing your money – Do you "really" manage your money?

• Understanding credit – the pros and cons – what you don't know can hurt you.

• Obtaining a mortgage loan – sample documents and situations.

• Shopping for a home – where, when, and how.

• Protecting your investment – probably the biggest purchase you will ever make.

• Home maintenance – what to do and when.

• Your housing and credit rights – laws that protect you.

• Defining terms: LTV, FICO, DTI, Truth in Lending – what do these mean?