TAP Volunteers Help Future Homebuyers

“We’re planting the seed of homeownership.”

That’s how Carla Evans sees her volunteer work as an instructor with TAP’s Homebuyer Education Class. Carla, a realtor with Wainwright & Co. REALTORS, volunteers alongside Rob Jessee of the Jessee Realty Group brokered by RealStar Realtors. Both Carla and Rob volunteer their expertise in this class because they have a passion for educating future homeowners.

What to expect in a housing counseling class

In a typical class, most of the 10–20 attendees are just beginning the homebuying process. As Rob puts it, “They have no idea what’s involved except what friends and relatives have told them about buying a house.” In addition, the future homebuyers may have been influenced by misinformation online. “We definitely have a need for homebuyer education,” says Carla. “People come to these classes looking for answers to their questions and direction on how to get started. A lot of folks have made bad credit decisions so the class is a good place to start putting a plan and a strategy together.”

The six-hour class covers topics such as personal finance and the lending and closing processes. Carla and Rob typically teach portions of the class that cover the role of the realtor in a real estate transaction, the closing process, and the home inspection. The class also includes instruction from a local lender and TAP’s HUD-certified housing counselor.  

By the time the class is over, attendees walk away with basic knowledge of the homebuying process, where to begin, and who to reach out to if they have any questions.

A passion for helping others

None of the professionals volunteering their services in the class are permitted to approach any of the attendees or follow up with them on a professional basis. So, the class truly is a labor of love for those who volunteer to teach it. “I have yet to sell a house from any of these classes but I love doing them,” says Rob. “So many agents are just in it for the money, and it’s easy to take advantage of people who aren’t knowledgeable. Just knowing that 10 people walked out of this class with knowledge about buying a house is worth it.”

Carla agrees, noting, “There’s a real opportunity to help people, to break the cycle. I see a lot of people who no one in their family has ever owned a home. [In the classes] when you’ve got volunteers in the room who do this every day, we can give hope and a true visual to what’s possible. We can give a real life story of a single mom or a single dad who is now a homeowner. It makes it real to hear about others who may be in their situation, who may have overcome a real credit challenge.”

Whether homeownership has been a lifelong dream or is a new ambition, the Homebuyer Education Class can put attendees on the right path. “I think it’s a place for people to know where to start,” says Rob. “It’s worth the time. Even if they are two years out from buying a house, this is the best place to start.”