Even individual REALTOR® efforts can make a difference when it comes to taking on the Goliath problem of affordable housing
The lack of affordable housing in Central Florida is an overwhelming issue. It seems to many to be an insurmountable social and economic obstacle that can be addressed only by entities with enormous funding and influence. However, individual REALTORS® are ideally situated to contribute toward improved housing opportunities.
REALTORS® are the first stop for the prospective homebuyer or renter. Accordingly, REALTORS® can reach out to those who need greater access to quality, affordable homeownership and rental opportunities.
NAR's Housing Opportunity Program offers resources and advice to REALTORS® who want to take their own steps toward expanding housing availability and ensure an adequate supply of rental housing and homeownership opportunities in their communities. For example, REALTORS® can take or sponsor (or even become an instructor of) an Employer-Assisted Housing or Expanding Housing Opportunities class, or simply join NAR’s Workforce Housing Online Community and be a part of the discussion.
EMPLOYER-ASSISTED HOUSING CLASS
The Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH) class is a unique opportunity to expand your business by working with local employers so that they can help their employees become homeowners or afford a home close to work.
The four-hour EAH class presents an overview of employer-assisted housing including the three EAH benefit options employers can implement with your assistance:
Homebuyer and homeownership education: REALTORS® conduct homebuyer and homeownership workshops at the workplace in partnership with a non-profit organization and/or lender. When employees learn about the home-buying process and that they may be able to purchase a new home, new markets of opportunity open for you.
One-on-one counseling: REALTORS® create relationships with local housing non-profit organizations who can offer counseling to employees either at the workplace or off-site.
Financial assistance: REALTORS® review with employers the variety of financial assistance options that they can offer to their employees to help them purchase a home, such as grants, loans, and matching savings.
The EAH Class also teaches participants how to form an action plan to implement an EAH program locally. The action plan includes conducting research on a community; creating a team with lenders and non-profit housing organizations; identifying and contacting employers; and meeting with the employer. Tools and resources are presented for each step and include letter templates to the employer, lender and non-profit, a homebuyer workshop template and a customizable brochure for employers.
By starting out with the EAH class, you may be able to expand your client base; gain referrals; increase your name recognition; and strengthen and revitalize your community.
Learn more about the Employer-Assisted Housing Class
EXPANDING HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES CLASS
NAR also offers the Expanding Housing Opportunities (EHO) course, which is designed to educate real estate professionals on the range of affordable housing opportunities and clients seeking them. EHO is available in two formats; online (three CE hours) and in the classroom (four CE hours). The content and learning objectives are the same for both formats.
Course participants will learn how to:
Identify and explain the range of affordable housing opportunities and their benefits to clients.
Describe how affordability affects the housing market, their clients, their business, and their community.
Better analyze affordable financing options, including local, state, federal, and nonprofit assistance programs for buyers and renters.
Build partnerships to expand housing opportunities through advocacy, workforce housing initiatives, and green building concepts.
Learn more about the Expanding Housing Opportunities Classourse
Ensuring an adequate supply of affordable and workforce housing, especially in light of Central Florida’s service-wage economy and influx of those seeking relief from last year’s hurricanes, is without a doubt a challenge. However by learning more and taking any of the actions above, we can all be part of the solution.