Real Estate Report

(Aug. 10, 2018) There are many positives that surround an improving real estate market, but there is a downside – housing costs in many areas begin to exceed the financial reach of some low-to-moderate wage earners.

This is especially felt here on the shore, where there are numerous service sector employees, such as restaurant and retail, and even entry-level positions in education, police and fire.

Marylandhomeownership.com, a part of the Maryland Realtors website, offers access to agents who have completed their Housing Opportunity Certification (formerly known as Workforce Housing Certification). These agents have taken enhanced education to prepare them to assist first-time homebuyers.

According to a recent article in the Maryland Realtors magazine, the name “Workforce Housing” was coined to help avoid the unfortunate stigma attached to the term “affordable housing.”

Housing Affordability and Equal Opportunity Committee found that the term workforce housing was still confusing for some and undertook the task of evaluating and improving the program.

Now, through an expanded partnership with the State of Maryland, Housing Opportunity Certified (HOC) Realtors will have more exposure to consumers through the Maryland Mortgage Program website, and through our own consumer website at www.marylandhomeownership.com.

The Housing Opportunity Certification is also geared toward making sure minorities and immigrants don’t fall victim to discrimination and predatory lending practices.

There are financial programs and tools that can help address the problem of affordability, and HOC Realtors are specially trained to help this specific buyer.

Maryland homebuyers can utilize the Maryland Mortgage Program, which offers three types of 30-year, fixed-interest home loan programs available to eligible homebuyers. Grant assist and Loan assist programs offer upfront financial assistance for down payment and closing costs to help homebuyers meet home purchase requirements.

Rate Assist programs provide low interest rate options that lower monthly repayments over the life of the loan.

— Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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