Opinion

Home economics

LHAND stands for Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development and the Neighborhood Development part of the agency’s mission is closely linked to the first-time homebuyer classes LHAND has hosted for years.

The next sessions are scheduled for Jan. 20 and 21 — a Saturday and a Sunday — and they aren’t for the faint of heart. The sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and participants must be prepared to pre-register and be ready to absorb lessons in budget making, the mortgage application process, appraisals, home inspections, property insurance, down payment assistance and other topics.

All homeowners know what it feels like to be the starry-eyed dreamer eager to buy a first home only to end up hip-deep in the morass of financial and legal details associated with homeownership.

LHAND, to its credit, has launched a sustained effort to not simply house people but to get them into homes. Executive Director Charles Gaeta and the LHAND board know the distinct difference between providing people shelter to making them investors in their future.

Homes are the single-largest investment most people will ever make. They remain a fundamental piece of the American Dream in an age of vanishing pensions and increased longevity, homes represent a significant resource for paying for retirement.

LHAND built its first-time homebuyer program on a foundation of teaching self-sustainability to people living in public housing. The nuts and bolts of sustainability include getting and keeping a job, saving money and making and balancing a household budget.

At the heart of sustainability is the realization that dreams of independence and the security and self-respectability that goes hand-in-hand with self-reliance are attainable. Winning the Lottery or getting lucky have nothing to do with the hard work, planning and patience required to make an income, save money and grasp the American Dream.

Home financing has undergone sweeping changes in the nearly 10 years since the mortgage market collapsed and almost brought down the American economy with it. “Balloon mortgages,” “short sales” and other phrases have made their way into the home buying process. Thankfully, LHAND understands that intelligent home buying and, by extension, homeowning involves common sense and a concerted effort directed at understanding homebuying fundamentals.

Registration for January’s first-time homebuyer sessions is open on a first-come, first-served basis reflecting the word-of-mouth popularity that has grown around the classes.

The program is for people who want to experience that feeling of pulling a “for sale” sign off the lawn in front of their new home. But it is really for people who want to underpin their jobs, their families and their lives with financial security and, in doing so, bring financial security to their neighborhood and community.

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