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Real Estate Workshop teaches people about home buying process

By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | June 09, 2017

     More than 50 Soldiers, their families and Fort Riley community members learned the pros and cons of homeownership and the home buying process during a Real Estate Workshop June 1 at Riley’s Conference Center.

     The workshop, hosted by staff of the Housing Services Office, had presentations from representatives of Armed Forces Bank, Financial Readiness Program at Army Community Service and a real estate and property management broker from Coldwell Banker.

     “The intent is to help Soldiers, their families, Army civilians and Fort Riley community members with the intricacies of real estate,” said Tim Morgan, Housing Services Office specialist. “Everything from the basics of buying to the more advanced stuff like ownership strategies, different types of loans and different concepts like that. It just helps give them the tools they need to make effective real estate decisions.”

     Each presenter offered information in their areas of expertise. Topics such as mortgage interest rates and several home loan types instead of only the Veterans Administration loan were discussed, as well as costs people do not consider when purchasing a home like home inspectors, radon inspections, insurance, warranties, septic tank inspections and closing costs.

     “What these guys have is years of experience in the field doing this stuff,” Morgan said. “They bring in that experience and that understanding of the process. Instead of just another regular guy that works at the Housing Office trying to tell them about this when I’m not in this field every day like they are.”

     Some presenters also talked about generating wealth through real estate to include owning rental properties or selling a home. Also discussed was the importance of watching the market and knowing the right and wrong time to buy or sell.

     “We did the workshop format where we walk through everything,” Morgan said. “It’s not just the quick presentation format. We have more question and answer sessions.”

     Throughout the presentations, attendees were encouraged to ask questions and share their own experiences for the benefit of everyone involved. They also received handouts of mock cost forms to assist them in determining how much they could afford, ideal loan types for them, possible gains or losses in selling a home and calculate closing costs.

     “Those who did ask questions brought up some interesting points that I certainly didn’t think of, so I’m sure someone else could certainly learn from it as well,” said Sgt. Matthew Luna, 73rd Military Police Detachment, 97th Military Police Battalion.

     Luna said he attended the workshop to learn more about the home buying process because, while he is not shopping for a home yet, he wants to make sure he is prepared for home buying in his future.

     “There’s a lot of fantastic information and being single my entire adult life has been in the barracks and you don’t see the argument between whether to rent or to buy (when you live in the barracks) and the different kinds of loan,” he said. “I honestly didn’t know anything about that and there was a lot of interesting mathematical information that a lot of the instructors pointed out that I will certainly be using in the future.”

     In the past, staff of the Housing Services Office held a quarterly Home Buying Seminar, but found attendance to be low. Morgan said he hopes future workshops will have more attendance because of the wider array of topics discussed and the interactivity involved. If interest continues and operations allow, future Real Estate Workshops will be held semiannually.

     Based off of sign ups and attendance for this workshop, Morgan said he anticipates future workshops to grow.

     “We didn’t ask anybody to come,” he said. “These people are here on their own accord … These are people who are here because they’re interested.”