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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Class For First Time Home Buyers

The process to obtain the new Baas House continues.

This evening, my wife and I attended a first time home buyers class in a nearby city. It's a class designed to help people understand the process of buying their first house. It's also a requirement for a home buyers grant we're hoping to secure. While most of the people in the class seemed to be at an early pre-offer stage, Kelli and I have already signed an offer on a house, we're working with a realtor, we've completed the home inspection, and we're proceeding with the funding process. We're a lot further along by comparison.

To be honest, I was a bit dubious going into this class. I'm not thrilled by classroom adult-learning settings. They aren't an engaging environment for me. The idea of desks, a chalkboard (or it's comparable modern equivalent), and a teacher/professor droning on about a topic is the exact opposite of exciting. If that's the nature of a "class", just give me the text book, and let me read about the topic myself.

Thankfully, the teacher for this class was an interesting man. He teaches these classes regularly, and he knows his stuff. He made it engaging enough to keep my attention, and, although Kelli and I have already worked with much of this stuff first-hand already, I still managed to learn a few things. That definitely made the class worthwhile.

What moved me the most, though, was a detail that was revealed later in the 3-hour class. Our teacher was explaining a few concepts related to home insurance, home safety and the like. He was answering some great class questions, when he stopped a moment and added, "here, let me show you something."

Digging around in his laptop files for a few moments, he opened a file, and had it displayed on the large flat screen television mounted on the classroom wall (the "chalkboard" of the room). It was a photo of a nice house.... that had just burned to the ground. Some of the debris was still smoldering.

After a moment of silence while the class looked at the photo, our teacher quietly informed us that this was a photo of his house. It had burned down two months ago -- in March. An electrical malfunction in his car, while it was parked in the attached garage, ignited flames, which spread to the rest of the house, and destroyed everything. He and his wife were home at the time; neither of them were hurt. But the house, and everything in it, was a total loss.

The mood in the room changed instantly. My heart sank. The man teaching us about safely buying our first home, had just lost his -- a brand new house he and his wife had built ten years ago. It struck home, and it did so in an extraordinarily poignant way. Anything can happen -- even the most unexpected of events. Being prepared, and knowing how to deal with the challenges of home ownership is vital -- long before you move into a new house.

I really felt for the man, though. It physically hurt to see his life burned to the ground in one night. Yes, that fire had happened two months ago, the ruins of his house had already been torn down, and he was already planning to rebuild on the same foundation, but it still hurt. It was a painful revelation. But, on the other hand, given what the man does, and how his job is to help new home buyers..... that was one heck of a lesson and a powerful visual aid.

Tonight was actually the first part of a two-day class. The second part is next Wednesday. Believe it or not, I'm actually looking forward to the rest of this class.

-Jon

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Jon Baas

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