Extension News

Media Advisory: USDA Rural Development and Iowa State University Extension Announce New Online Homebuyer Education Course

A Place of Your Own


David Villano, deputy administrator for single family housing for USDA Rural Development, will be in Des Moines at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 29 to participate in the official launch of a new online homebuyer education course. The course, called A Place of Your Own, is being developed by Iowa State University Extension and will help first-time homebuyers become educated about the homeownership process. The course was developed by Mary Yearns, professor and housing specialist for Iowa State University Extension. 

Other participants during the launch presentation include Jack Payne, vice president for ISU Extension and Outreach and Mary Yearns, professor and housing specialist for ISU Extension.

As of May 2007, USDA Rural Development requires first-time homebuyers to complete education from a certified provider to qualify for the agency’s rural housing loans. Currently, 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 for rural residents.  

This new course is available anytime, anywhere from any computer with Internet access. The cost including the certificate is $45. Computers at public libraries, ISU Extension offices across the state or USDA offices are options for those who don’t own a computer. Information about the course can be found at www.extension.iastate.edu/homebuyer.

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.

Rural Development is participating in more than 20 activities in Iowa during June to celebrate National Homeownership Month, a time to reflect on the important role home ownership plays in American society, especially in rural America. Events include housing fairs, housing workshops and lender trainings. 

Last year Rural Development provided Iowans with $125 million in housing assistance and helped more than 1,300 Iowa families become homeowners.

Rural Development can provide loans and grants directly to qualifying individuals, providing them access to affordable, safe and sanitary housing opportunities. Rural Development’s Guaranteed Loan Program is administered by a local lender who takes the application, processes it and determines the acceptability of the home to be financed. Lenders who use this guarantee program are able to expand their markets by helping limited-income families in rural Iowa.

Loans and grants from Rural Development also are available to homeowners to assist with removing health and safety hazards from the home and make other needed improvements. 

Who:  David Villano, Deputy Administrator for Single Family Housing for USDA Rural  Development
 Jack Payne, Vice President for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
 Mary Yearns, Professor and Housing Specialist for Iowa State University Extension

What: Announcement of new online homebuyer education course from Iowa State  University Extension

When:  Friday, June 29 – 10 a.m.
Where: USDA Rural Development, 210 Walnut Street, Room 873, Des Moines

Contact Information: David Villano will be available for comments at the event. If you would like to speak with him before or after the event, please contact Darin Leach at (515) 284-4747 (office) or (515) 669-5691 (cell).

USDA Rural Development is an equal opportunity lender with a variety of direct and guaranteed rural credit programs involving single and multi-family housing, community facilities, water and sewer development and business and industry programs.

Eleven USDA Rural Development offices in Iowa serve the 1.9 million Iowans living in rural communities.  Office locations include a state office in Des Moines, along with area offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

The agency’s mission is to deliver quality programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in home ownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.

Further information on rural programs is available by calling (515) 284-4666, or by visiting the agency’s Web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.

Contacts :

Mary Yearns, Human Development and Family Studies, (515) 294-8520, yearns@iastate.edu

Lynette Spicer, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-1327, lspicer@iastate.edu

Darin Leach, USDA Public Information Coordinator, (515) 284-4747, darin.leach@ia.usda.gov