The educator for the extension of the area moves into the housing arena | News, Sport, Work


CANFIELD – Ohio State University Extension Office here offers home buying education, with extension educator Beth Stefura helping first time buyers get their first home.

He completed his training, including helping with funding.

“The certification was a big deal,” said Eric Barrett, area leader for the local extension office. “He had to prepare a lot to take the exam.”

Stefura continues to provide her usual list of programs which includes financial classes, nutrition classes, diabetes training, food safety classes, awareness, stress reduction, and several certification programs.

It can now add an updated segment to the homebuyer program.

“I have been offering the house purchase program since 2012,” said Stefura. “Initially, it was a (US) Housing and Urban Development training and certification [obtained] successfully passing the HUD Certified Real Estate Consultant exam in order to offer the program.

In 2018, however, the HUD changed its guidelines indicating that anyone providing this program is required to take the HUD Certified Housing Consultant exam again. This is due to the numerous changes from the HUD in recent years.

Stefura said she was involved in the program as it helps people buy a house sooner rather than later.

The OSU extension works with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. This partnership combines effective community outreach with rigorous evaluation and serves as a model that can successfully advance the financial health and well-being of homeowners.

“This program aims to stabilize the state’s communities and includes down payment assistance, mortgages for public employees and graduates from Ohio public institutions, and mortgage tax credit options,” said Stefura. “All of these programs require a compulsory financial education component for homebuyers.”

That educational component has to come from a consulting agency.

The OHFA recruits in a competitive proposal process for housing counseling agencies across the state to administer it. Stefura said that OSU Extension obtained approval as a housing consultancy agency from HUD in 2010 and has been working with OHFA since 2012.

Stefura has completed the recent course to get certified with the new guidelines so that she can continue to offer services for local residents.

“This first-time home buyer education program is designed for low to moderate income residents,” said Stefura. “It is based on every single county.”

Although the USO Extension or OHFA does not grant home loans directly, they work with lenders, credit unions, and mortgage companies across the state to offer lending loans to qualified buyers.

“I encourage any first-time buyer to inquire about the program,” said Stefura.

To be eligible for the OHFA first-time home purchase program, the prospective buyer must not have had a ownership interest in his or her primary residence in the past three years. Or I’m an honorably discharged veteran, buying a home in a targeted area, or buying a first home.

“If someone is considering buying a home, the first steps would be to contact an OHFA approved lender and discuss your options,” said Stefura. “Then contact a real estate agent to find a home. Once your eligibility is confirmed, you will begin the home ownership process. As a HUD Certified Real Estate Advisor, I will provide your financial education component to meet your loan qualifications.

To find an OHFA approved lender in your area, (most institutions are approved) or call toll free 888-362-6432 to find an authorized lender in the area.

In 2019, OSU Extension received the “Ohio’s Top Counseling Agency” award and for 2020 it received a “National Award for Housing Outreach”.



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