[Noozhawk’s note: This story has been updated with photos from the Coastal Housing Partnership Home-Buying Fair.]
Locals looking for answers to their home-buying questions braved the pelting rain Saturday to gather for an event designed specifically for them at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara.
Potential first-time, move-up and other hopeful homebuyers shuffled past dozens of lending organizations and more, attending some free how-to sessions on the home- buying process and market conditions in general.
The real estate crash course also featured resources to save money, along with plenty of takeaway pamphlets, prizes and goodie bags.
The fair is a main event for the nonprofit Coastal Housing Partnership, which has helped more than 10,000 local employees become homeowners through education and resources.
Executive director Corby Gage said she wasn’t surprised so many attendees ventured out in the rain, since most are typically serious about wanting to realize their dreams of home ownership.
The partnership has joined forces with local employers for more than 25 years to assist companies and organizations with the challenge of attracting and retaining employees in a region with some of the highest housing prices in the nation.
Gage said this year’s event focused on getting back in the home-buying market, and had seminars on the tax benefits of home ownership.
“Coastal Housing Partnership is pleased to be able to present this valuable resource to the community,” she said. “Our third annual Home Buying Fair is a unique opportunity for locals to meet with real estate professionals, get their questions answered, and attend home-buying education sessions throughout the day.
“We’ve brought the tools, information and resources together to support attendees in their home buying process — and all under one roof.”
Part-time local Sheila Bengtson said she checked out the fair for the first time to learn more about lending opportunities.
She and her husband live with a relative in Santa Barbara half the year and in Illinois the other six months, with the hope of moving back to the West Coast permanently in their recent retirement.
“I think it’s very worthwhile,” Bengtson said of the home fair. “I got some good input about lending services.”