OSU Extension increases keys to homeownership

Susan Colbert and Amber Broadus stand outside Broadus' new home. Photo: Amber Broadus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Knowing is half the battle—especially when it comes to homebuying.

That’s where Ohio State University Extension comes in.

OSU Extension educators specializing in healthy finances offer homeownership education and homebuyer counseling to assist Ohioans throughout the homebuying and homeownership process. Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Already, some 2,200 people in Franklin County have attended classes offered by OSU Extension and have received a HUD-approved completion certificate, said Courtney Warman, an Extension program specialist that works with the homebuyer education program.

And an additional 497 homebuyers were served across Ohio through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency phone-based homebuyer counseling sessions, which, upon completion, allow low-to-moderate income homebuyers in Ohio to purchase homes, with the average home’s appraised value being $161,416.

The classes and subsequent counseling sessions allow consumers to ask questions and get answers about their home purchases, Warman said.

“We can provide information about budgeting, foreclosure prevention, home maintenance costs—all of the details that go beyond being approved for financing,” she said. “So many people, whether first-time buyers or those selling and purchasing a new home, are entering an unfamiliar market.

“This education provides information about topics ranging from how to identify signs of predatory lending, to understanding how to work a mortgage payment into their budgets.”

During the educational sessions, participants learn:

  • how much they can afford to spend on a home.
  • ways to fix or improve their credit scores before the homebuying process.
  • tips to choose the right professionals for their homebuying journey.
  • how to succeed during the mortgage process.
  • strategies to make the most of a home inspection.
  • steps to prepare for the closing process.

“Another advantage is that once completing this course and having a conversation with one of our HUD-certified housing counselors, homebuyers will have confidence that they have the tools necessary to navigate any housing market,” Warman said.

That was the case for Columbus-native Amber Broadus, who, thanks to homebuyer education and counseling offered by OSU Extension, was able to go from living in a low-income, subsidized apartment complex, to building and owning her own home in the Weinland Park neighborhood, directly east of Ohio State’s Columbus campus.

Broadus’ relationship with OSU Extension began when she met Susan Colbert, the former Franklin County Expansion and Engagement program director, who, at the time, was teaching a computer literacy class at the Godman Guild Association Community Center in the Weinland Park neighborhood. 

Colbert helped Broadus enroll in multiple Extension programs, including the homebuyer education and counseling program.

“I’ve done so, so many things through OSU Extension,” Broadus said. “I’ve taken computer literacy, financial literacy, homebuyer education classes, and a business class where I learned how to write a business plan.

“Working with OSU Extension enhanced my leadership skills and helped make me successful.”

As the homebuying market across Ohio and nationwide continues to see record sales, programs such as these help create more educated homebuyers, particularly as part of Extension’s family and community stability efforts, said Pat Bebo, assistant director, family and consumer sciences, OSU Extension.  

“Bringing unbiased, evidence-based education to Ohioans is at the heart of what OSU Extension does,” Bebo said. “We hope by offering these classes, future homebuyers will feel confident that they have the information they need to make informed decisions about this large investment.”

For more information about Extension’s homebuyer education and homebuyer counseling, visit go.osu.edu/newhome.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Pat Bebo

Courtney Warman