Pathways to Homeownership

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Becoming a Habitat homeowner isn’t easy and comes with many responsibilities. Each qualified homeowner agrees to provide a minimum of 300 volunteer hours (sweat equity) and attend “Pathways to Homeownership” – a series of homeowner education classes. Attendance is required at five, two-hour classes, as well as attending an eight-hour first-time homebuyer class before program completion.

Class Schedule

• Week 1: Real Estate Attorney, Home Owner's Insurance, Preparing for your move
• Week 2: Financial Management - Budget 101
• Week 3: Home Maintenance and Repair
• Week 4: Easy, Nutritious Meals on a Budget
• Week 5: Home Safety, Fire Prevention, Energy Savings
• Week 6: First Time Homebuyer Class
• Week 7: Home Walk Through, Being a Good Neighbor, Community Involvement

“Pathways to Homeownership empowers first-time homebuyers with knowledge for success. Habitat Sarasota’s mortgage default rate is less than 3% as a direct result of our mentoring program.” says Renee Snyder, Executive Director. Habitat Sarasota partners with the community to provide the opportunity for homeowners to engage with experienced professionals in an intimate setting. Most classes are held at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Sarasota.

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• Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen attorney, Jeffrey Grebe explains the legal documents that will be signed at closing. Salina Robbins from Robbins Insurance teaches responsibilities of owning a home and why a homeowner’s insurance policy is required.

• Homeowners learn the importance of budgeting from Sandra Rains from Clearpoint, a non-profit credit counseling agency. Participants are given tools to track purchases to show spending patterns and categorize “needs” and “wants.”

• Home Depot facilitates an in-store tour and provides hands-on demonstrations for routine home maintenance, like changing air conditioning filters and landscaping best practices. At the end of this class Home Depot gifts a starter toolbox to all participants.

• In an effort to decrease monthly food expenses, Publix Aprons Cooking School offers a hands-on demonstration for cooking healthy family meals on a budget.

• Officers from the City of Sarasota Police Department and Sarasota County Fire Department teach home safety and citizenship skills. A representative from FPL explains that Habitat homes are built with a high energy efficiency rating. Participants receive tips and best practices for efficiency and how this equates to monthly savings on their utility bill.

Pathways to Homeownership is underwritten with grants from the Harold C. & Jacqueline F. Bladel Foundation, Inc. and Iberia Bank along with support from sales in the ReStore.