AMES, Iowa — USDA Rural Development and other lending agencies require first-time homebuyers to complete education from a certified provider to qualify for the agency’s rural housing loans. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers an online course, A Place of Your Own, to meet this need.
“Often homebuyer education is offered in classroom-type settings in locations throughout the state and during certain times of the year. Many times the locations are not convenient or cost efficient for rural residents,” said Mary Weinand, an ISU Extension and Outreach family finance program specialist.
ISU Extension and Outreach recognized the need for convenient, cost efficient and timely homebuyer education and collaborated with the USDA to develop an online alternative, Weinand said. A Place of Your Own is available anytime, anywhere from any computer with Internet access. The cost for the course, including the certificate of completion, is $45.
“If you don’t have your own computer, you can complete the course using a computer at a public library, a USDA office or any ISU Extension and Outreach county office throughout the state,” Weinand said.
“The online course will help prospective homebuyers decide if now is a good time to buy a home, prepare for the home-buying process and shop for a mortgage that works best for them. The course can provide the buyer with confidence about the steps to buy a home and the financial planning that goes with it,” Weinand said.
The course covers five lessons: preparing for home ownership, shopping for a home, getting a mortgage, closing the loan and being a home owner.
“When you complete all the lessons, you may take the certification exam. When you have 70 percent or more correct on the final exam, you will receive a homebuyer’s certificate that you may take to your local lender. You need this certificate to apply for a USDA Rural Development loan,” Weinand said.
For more information on the course and an online registration link see www.extension.iastate.edu/homebuyer.