Homebuyer Education and Homeownership Sustainability

September 22, 2009|Print

Total number of participants: 37

HEADINGS

OPENING

HOUSING FORECLOSURES

HOUSING MARKET FORECAST

CURRENT EFFORTS

OWNING VS. RENTING

ARMS AND REFINANCING

GOVERNMENT

TAX CREDIT

HOME REPAIRS

PURCHASING FORECLOSURES

CLOSING


OPENING

Michael: Welcome to our Housing affordability and Homeownership Sustainability Chat. Hi! I’m Michael Gutter (University of Florida) your moderator for today’s chat along with our technician, Dustin Hyatt (Connect System). Today’s chat, that will last about one hour, is sponsored and supported by members of the Financial Security for All Community of Practice. Out team of experts listed on your screen will be responding to your questions. All are highly qualified to talk about this subject; their photos and qualifications were displayed online at http://cop.extension.org/wiki/Homebuyer_Education_and_Homeownership_Sustainability. If you send an email to msgutter@ufl.edu you will receive notice when a transcribed copy of this chat can be viewed on the eXtension Website.

Michael: I would like to share an excerpt from Florida's website about our situation to set the stage

Michael: During this economic downturn, Florida has been one of the hardest hit states on many fronts. Tourism has suffered as an industry, personal investments too. However, Florida has been among the worst hit with respect to the housing sector. Here is an overview of current situation of Florida housing and information for foreclosure prevention. Home Values A recent report issued by National Association of REALTORSTM (2009) showed that home prices in Florida have sustained substantial losses over the last two years. The Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Miami Beach area saw a loss in median sales price of 32.3% from 4th quarter 2007 through 2008. Similar declines were also seen in other areas. Orlando metro area saw 27.1% decline in median sales price 2007-2008; other major metropolitan areas such as Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg/Clearwater saw similar declines. Other markets such as Gainesville, Jacksonville, and the Panhandle all saw losses but these were less. The declining home values and lack of marketability have contributed.

HOUSING FORECLOSURES

Michael: The decline in home value leads to a decline in equity for many. This price decline and subsequent utilization of Home Equity Lines of Credit have led to numerous families being upside-down in their mortgages; owing more than their homes are worth. In addition, as of early 2008 around 12% of mortgages in Florida were adjustable-rate mortgages. The factors above combined with a depressed economy, and changes in mortgage payments have led to a record number of foreclosures. Florida had the second highest state total of foreclosures during 2008 with 385,309 properties having a foreclosure filing which comprises 4.52% of total housing units in Florida compared to national average of 1.84 %. (RealtyTrac, 2009). This represented a 133% increase from 2007 and 412% increase from 2006. This was also the 2nd highest foreclosure rate with 1 in 22 housing units receiving a foreclosure in 2008 (RealtyTrac, 2009).

Laura Royer: There are several other options to prevent foreclosure as well. For homes that have private mortgage insurance, they homeowner may be able to get PMI company to help the homeowner catch up.

Kathy Sweedler: Laura, what does the PMI company do to help typically?

Gloria Nye, LSU AgCenter:Please respond: What can the PMI company do?

Michael: Gloria working on a response...

Jayne M. Cubilla: Gloria....not sure, obviously there is money in some wort of account for the owner

Jayne M. Cubilla: PMI is currently tax deductible

Kathryn Greiner: Gloria, you have to contact the Private Mortgage Insurer to see what their policy would be for that homeowner. They are there to help the lender, but I have read many have been tapped out.

Michael:PMI does not cover the full exposure of the lender. They are covering the top slice (maybe 20% in this case) plus some fees. In the case of a 90% loan, then PMI is usually 10% of loan amount. In order for the Lender not to void their claim for the PMI coverage, several things must happen. The lender must manage the default to its completion, usually foreclosure or a workout or short sale. Any agreement short of foreclosure must be approved by the PMI company. PMI may want the house back following a foreclosure, in order to attempt to recoup any loss they may have due to a claim. In that instance, they may not approve a short sale. PMI will often approve a short sale if the market indicates that they have no shot at recouping their loss or claim. Or often, there is some middle ground, whereby the Lender could sell it for 85 to 90% of the original loan amount, thereby reducing any such claim to PMI. Much like any foreclosure and dealing with Loss Mitigation, each case is different... not sure why, maybe it is t

HOUSING MARKET FORECAST

Michael: The forecast for Florida’s housing markets remains somewhat dismal. Many analysts are predicting a slow recovery. An analyst even predicts that foreclosures in Florida could increase by 50 to 100 percents in 2009 (E Foreclosure Magazine, 2009). Unemployment continues to be a problem and may increase to over 8% by some estimates. Many families have lost substantial capital as a result of the decline in the stock market. Housing demand is not expected to pick up, but that is only part of the issue. Many consumers with Adjustable Rate Mortgages that were fixed for three or five years will now start to see these rates unfreeze and may find themselves facing higher mortgage payments. This will certainly impact families for whom the budget does not have the room for this payment increase.

Michael: http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/

Michael: That is a small dose of what we are dealing with both in Florida and across the United States

Jayne M. Cubilla: Are these statistics for owner occupied homes, or does it include second homes

Michael: Jayne, these are all owner occupied.

CURRENT EFFORTS Michael: I want us to all share what we are doing and what issues we are working on. Perhaps together we can learn new approaches and resources to dealing with issues of home ownership, housing affordability, and most importantly homeownership sustainability.

Kathryn Greiner: I do a budget analysis looking at income, basic living expenses and all their debts to see if a loan modification is viable. Often it does not add up, and people lose the home to foreclosure.

Shawn Smith: We are in the beginning stages of developing a series of home buyer workshops to help people have a better understanding of what they are getting into when they purchase a home. Do you have any favorite evidence based home buyer curriculums that you are using successfully with consumers?

Laura Royer: Florida has a new curriculum called My Florida Home. Don't let the title fool you, it can be used nationally.

Julie Flemming: What does the curriculum called My Florida Home cover?

Kathryn Greiner: In southeast Michigan Habitat for Humanity is fixing and selling foreclosed homes rather than building new ones.

Minidoka County Idaho: Kathryn - that is a good plan

Michael: Kathryn, that is a great idea - I wonder how we could encourage them to do that elsewhere

Jayne M. Cubilla: I teach homebuyer education 2x monthly

Laura Royer: In my experience, consumers who try to work individually with their lender are not as successful with options. It's almost as if the lender responds more positively to clients working with a HUD approved agency.

Laura Royer: You can find a list of HUD approved agencies to address foreclosure issues at www.hud.gov

Michael: How are some of you helping families who are delinquent?

Jayne M. Cubilla: Michael...without $ it is hard to HELP in ways that are immediate.

Minidoka County Idaho: It is hard for those losing their homes to ask for help.

Michael: Minidoka - yes it is and since many are looking for work or working multiple jobs it is not easy to get them to attend classes.

Minidoka County Idaho: Idaho Housing has a curriculum for first time home buyers. Do not know how those who have taken the class are doing holding on to their homes.

Jayne M. Cubilla: I teach to meet the requirement for USDA Rural Development, and created my own curriculum

Joyce: Iowa has A Place of Your Own also USDA Rural Development program. Available as an online class.

Gloria Nye, LSU AgCenter: LSU AgCenter also has a Home Buyer's training program being offered statewide.

Laura Connerly: I need basic advice on starting a home buyer education program. What curriculum do I use? How do I obtain approval for our educational program to qualify as the requirement for first-time home buyers?

Jayne M. Cubilla: Laura...HUD certification is not really feasible with Extension structure...at least, it was not for me in NC

Laura Royer: Jayne: please explain further Jayne M. Cubilla: RE: HUD....I looked at the application to beeome a HUD certified site. You can grab one off the hud.gov site.

Laura Royer: Laura Connerly: Florida has a 1st Time Homebuyer curriculum that can be taught in 8 to 12 hours. It is called My Florida Home, but it is not specific to Florida houses

Laura Royer: I teach the class in four parts; 6 hours focusing on budgeting, debt management and credit reporting. the other 6 hours is focused on how to find a home, dealing with homebuyer professionals, home purchase contracts, closing costs, building vs. buying an existing home, negotiating price, etc.

Marilyn Albertson: I am from Utah and teach a first time homebuyer class and also have an online course that has been very popular throughout the nation for the last 4-5 years. We are in the process of updating it right now. Anyone is welcome to take it. There is a fee but it has helped fill in the gap for people without housing education in their area or if their work constraints don't allow them to take a class in person. It can be found at extension.usu.edu/hbe

Kathryn Greiner: Marilyn, I am a big fan of Utah State University Coop Extension. Also check out their free program for accelerating debt reduction at www.powerpay.org

Michael: PowerPay is one of my favorites too - I wish they would make it into a phone app

Laura Connerly: I love power pay!

Michael: Marilyn are other states using your online program?

Marilyn Albertson: We will be putting it up on eXtension when the revision is completed. We then are planning to translate it into Spanish. Here is in Utah we have a Homebuyer Education Coalition that has worked together to mandate that we all teach our homebuyer educaiton courses with the same basic outline and length of time. Right now I don't know if other Extension professionals are using our course or just referring their clients to it. We are doing quite a brisk business with people inside and outside of the state right now. Especially when we got some stimulus money in the state to help first time homebuyers.

Michael: We also have two new resources called How to Prevent Foreclosure on Your Home and How to Manage the Foreclosure Process, see http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/

Jayne M. Cubilla: Laura R. Did you provide your curriculum to the COP in eXtension?

Laura Royer: Jayne: I'm not sure if our State Specialist has put it up on COP eXtension. I will look into that.

Laura Royer: Jayne: The University of Florida just became HUD approved

Kathryn Greiner: Here in Ann Arbor, Michigan State U Extension has a housing counselor and mortgage foreclosure prevention specialist who negotiates loan modifications at no charge to homeowner. Kathy Grant is as successful as anyone I have seen in getting the mortgage companies to set up modifications. However, the process is slow because the Loss Mitigation departments are backlogged.

Michael: Kathryn, how can we learn more about how you are doing this? this sounds great

Joyce: Resource for someone looking at development of a First Time Homebuyer program: www.extension.iastate.edu/homebuyer Link to A Place of Your Own

Gloria Nye, LSU AgCenter: LSU's is up on-line at: www.lsuagcenter.com

Jayne M. Cubilla: Michael can you list all of these links and who teaches classes outside of the dialogue when you post it?

Sukari S. Smith: FDIC just developed a brochure entitled "Beware of Foreclosure Rescue and Loan Modication Scams.' This product contains many references to websites to assist homeowners with some of the issue discussed today. -- >www.fdic.gov/foreclosureprevention

Michael:We also have one coming out for how renters are affected by foreclosure

Laura Connerly: Has anyone used the neighbor works materials? and if so, what do you think?

Bobbie Shaffett: We use Neighborworks for Rural Development training

Laura Connerly:Bobbie - I may need to call you later for details about using Neighborworks. Thanks Kathryn Greiner:In Ann Arbor MI our County Tax offices has two trained and certified housing counselors who work with delinquent property taxes AND mortgage foreclosure prevention as a free service to the community.

Shawn Smith: KG - that is a good idea. In our small city alone (just over 18,000 people), there is currently over 1 million owed to the city in back taxes.

Shawn Smith: In NYS one of the biggest barriers to homeownership are property taxes. Currently, reassessments are having the impact of a second mortgage

Robert Thee, Penn State Univ: How have you measured impact of your educational efforts?

Joyce: IRS Publication 4787 Catalog Number 53156F Poster 4771 Catalog Number 53261Z

Jayne M. Cubilla: Robert: pre-post assessment

Robert Thee, Penn State Univ: Jayne--any follow up?

Jayne M. Cubilla: working on 6 month follow-ups

Jayne M. Cubilla: USDA is slow on giving me info

Michael: The follow up is key on the issue of creating sustainable homeowners. It is not enough to just get them in...

Laura Royer: Robert: we do immediate, 6-month, and 1 year evaluations. We also use the data collected by down payment assistance programs to see how many purchased home through that program

Laura Royer: One last thing I want to mention that the delinquency on our educational efforts is less than 1% in the two counties I have worked in

Kathryn Greiner: I agree with you Michael. We need to provide homeowners workshops on how to live within their incomes: inexpensive ways to afford holidays, can vegetables, use 2nd hand etc.

OWNING VS. RENTING

Joyce: Does anyone include a unit in their programs to help individuals calculate whether they should continue to rent ?

Jayne M. Cubilla: My first section is on renting vs. buying

Michael: Joyce - it is the first module of the Florida program as well

Michael: I think it is a key point since not everyone should be nor is ready to be a homeowner

Laura Royer:Kiplinger has an excellent book called Buying and Selling a Home. I strongly recommend you read it to assist in your homebuyer education classes

Michael:sometimes the best outcome is that they learn they should still rent for a while

Jayne M. Cubilla: We look at front end and back end ratios and how they are calculated to get a realistic view of what a house payment should be

Kathryn Greiner: Having counseled thousands of people over 33 years, I have determined that most people can afford ONE QUARTER of TAKE HOME pay for housing. Lenders ratios allow people to buy "more house" but then they are cash poor, so that when added to the car payment people end up using their credit cards for home and car repairs, travel, gifts, education etc, etc.

Jayne M. Cubilla: hence use of back end ratio!

Michael: Jayne i wish more lenders would stick to those ratios more often

Minidoka County Idaho: and save for the 10% down

Laura Royer: Jayne: I think it really depends on their overall situation (financially speaking). Florida has first-time homebuyer programs who give downpayment assistance to help people become homeowners

Jayne M. Cubilla: LR...how much?

Laura Royer:Jayne: downpayment assistance? up to $30,000

Jayne M. Cubilla: In the urban areas of NC (Raleigh,Greensboro,Winston-Salem, Charlotte) there are several non-profits that offer education, What about rural areas in your states??? LR- WOW!!!

Jayne M. Cubilla:In these down payment assistance areas...are these to be paid back?

Laura Royer:Jayne: Yes they have to pay it back if they sell the home within 10 years in my county. Every county in Florida has different stipulations. Also we have Florida Bond money that grants homebuyers up to $10,000 as well.

Laura Royer: Focusing on debt-to-income is also a key component as most potential buyers do not understand how their debt will affect how much house they can afford. Also, those without debt but high credit limits could be affected. Lenders look at "potential" debt the same as current debt.

Jayne M. Cubilla: What happens if a home buyer defaults on a loan but had down payment assistance?

Michael: Jayne, they would get the first mortgage would be paid first and what is left would go to second. Then a payment plan would likely be set up to manage the rest.

Laura Royer: Jayne: However, the down payment assistance programs don't likely get paid back in full those situations and they don't report delinquency to credit reports.

Michael: Yes I think most people fail to consider both impacts of debt. How it affects one's budget and even considering the extra costs of owning a home

Joyce: But turn-around time for the IRS on the amended return will be slow so the state assistance is a bonus

Laura Royer: In fact, one successful thing we have done here in Florida is partnered with agencies who offer down payment assistance. They use our homebuyer classes as a prerequisite to applying for money. That sends me potentially 150 interested 1st time homebuyers every other month

Marilyn Albertson: In Utah we have cities and housing agencies who may provide down payment assistance up to $10,000. Banks with the Federal Loan Bank of Seattle have been offering the Home Start grant for up to $10,000 with some matching funds from homeowners but I understand they are out of money for now.

Jayne M. Cubilla: I had a man come through education, was in contract on a new build, realized he was over his head, and got out of it

Laura Royer: With the way we present the program, about 70% of our participants realize they are not currently ready to buy a home for various reasons

Michael:Has anyone workied with IDAs in their homeownership efforts?

Marilyn Albertson:Here in Utah we work with IDA's and do both an extensive finance class for potential participants and also they are required to attend our 6-7 hour homebuyer ed classes in order to get their match.

Gloria Nye, LSU AgCenter:www.irs.gov/recovery

Michael: Someone asked me to explain - IDA - Individual Development Account. These are savings accounts for low income families which are matched in mutiples of 2-1 or evern higher

Michael: Marilyn - that is great. I ask since home ownership is one of one of the few allowed goals for IDAs

Marilyn Albertson: Here in Utah it is a 3-1 match up to $5000.

Marilyn Albertson: Here in Utah, we have just received through the Utah Housing Coalition $1.8 million to use towards foreclosure counseling, training and education to help more people be assisted with counseling in regards to avoiding foreclosure and working with lenders to facilitate refinance or loan modifications. We are working to have counselors staged throughout the state.

ARMS AND REFINANCING


Minidoka County Idaho: Is there any information given to those with ARM to refinance?

Laura Royer: What I am finding most helpful at this state is the Making Home Affordable program found at http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/

Damon Bunting: If someone is upside down in an adjustable rate mortgage what are the prospects for refinancing?

Jayne M. Cubilla: That would mean financing over 100%

Jayne M. Cubilla: WE all know about predatory lending, but loans with 90% financing and above, are practically that!!

Jayne M. Cubilla: What ever happened to the concept of putting 10% down?!?!? Damon Bunting: Who did the home equity loans that allowed them to get in over 100% of equity if it is the lending institute then should they not be also taking the hit?

Minidoka County Idaho: those would be the banks the government bailed out

Michael: Damon part of the issue is whether they are over 125% of loan to value.

Michael: In those instances many lenders are reluctant to refinance.

Damon Bunting: If a homeowner is in a home over 125% it sounds like their best option is to just walk away. Is this correct?

Minidoka County Idaho: financially they would not be in a position to buy for a long time. If they have a government loan they may not be able to get one again

Michael: Damon, they can still try to work with the lender but in some instances they may have little other choices anymore.

Jayne M. Cubilla: IMHO....bottom line is that consumers did not know what they were getting into

Minidoka County Idaho: It is dismal the banks response to those who are trying to keep their homes and the banks is not interested. I read that banks are not helping because it would take less money to foreclose and resell.

Gloria Nye, LSU AgCenter: Many are desperate to renegotiate their mortgages and they say their lending institutions won't work with them or are unresponsive. What's being done nationally to speed up the process? Where can homeowners turn?

Laura Royer: When I have worked one-on-one with people, the most effective measure I am seeing is referring them to a HUD approved credit counselor because they have relationships with lenders who can help them get either a loan modification or refinance.

Kathryn Greiner: In Michigan we have lost 30% or more of our home values, so many folks are asking for loan modifications where the loan balance is 5 - 15% greater than the value.

Damon Bunting: Are many homeowners trying to negotiate with 1st or 2nd Mortgage holders to rescue their finances?

Michael: Damon, I think they are trying everything since different lenders are working in different ways.

Michael: We have had some lenders willing to work with families on a second mortgage while their primary lender was not.

Jayne M. Cubilla: The problem with loan modification is that it EXTENDS the repayment length, thus increasing interest over time.

Jayne M. Cubilla: Does it really solve the problem???

Michael: Jayne, you make a good point.

Michael: However, I always distinguish between the cash flow effect and the balance sheet effect.

Michael: Someone may have poor monthly cash flow so lowering the payment is key even if they pay more interest over the life of the loan.

Minidoka County Idaho: Are these homes in Florida staying vacant or are banks renting/leasing?

Minidoka County Idaho: Long term it is better to be buying than renting

Michael: Minidoka, I have not heard of that at all

Michael: Most lenders I know don’t want to be in the home selling business let alone the rental business

Michael: It is a good time, though, for potential landlords.

GOVERNMENT

Damon Bunting: Just out of curiosity then the bank bailout plan failed because the money from taxpayers went to the banks who do not really want to ease lenders debt. What would have happened if the Government (the people) had given the money to homeowners to pay down their mortgages? Any thoughts?

TAX CREDIT

Joyce: Is the $8000 tax credit having an impact on who is buying in your states?

Jayne M. Cubilla: How are you all encouraging the use of the $8,000 tax incentive???

Minidoka County Idaho: We refer people to it.

Michael: Jayne you took the words out of my mouth - does anyone have a good factsheet or release they are using on the new homeownership incentive?

Jayne M. Cubilla: I encourage them to dump it into their emergency fund or principal...instant equity

Laura Royer: Yes, we are seeing that be an incentive. Our local government has actually set up a program where potential homebuyers can get an advance on the $8000 to help them purchase now and pay back the money after they file taxes

Jayne M. Cubilla: They can file immediately after they close!

Gloria Nye, LSU AgCenter: IRS has out a new brochure (pub 4787), "Catch a Break," re: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. First-time Home Buyer Credit Amended is covered on page 4-5 w/ reference to Publication 530 re: tax information.

Michael: Gloria is it consumer friendly? I know many of their documents are accurate but not great for consumers

Gloria Nye, LSU AgCenter:Yes, consumer friendly. -just an overview and pretty well done.


HOME REPAIRS

Kathryn Greiner: As a credit counselor for 33 years, I have seen many people lose their homes because they never budgeted for home repair: the building, the appliances, furnishings etc., so when those things were needed people financed them. The when houses were appreciating, people would refinance their homes to pay off their home maintenance loans, using up the equity over and over again. Ultimately, the house payment gets larger so people would be even less able to handle new repairs. So eventually people would lose those houses.

Michael: Kathryn that is a good point. Many underestimate these costs

Michael: Other think they need to fill the home right away

Kathryn Greiner:So if you are teaching home ownership preparation classes, please encourage your students to set aside 3% of the value of the property per year for home repair. Then repairs are only an inconvenience, not a crisis.

BUYING FORECLOSURES

Jayne M. Cubilla: I predict that there will be an incentive to get people to buy foreclosed homes, even if they are not first time buyers...a plan a la cash for clunkers.

Michael:Jayne - I think you are right


Michael: Are any of you dealing with homebuying questions on foreclosure?

Michael: What I mean to ask is

Michael: Do you have potential homeowners asking about buying foreclosed properties?

Jayne M. Cubilla: Michael...most of my discussions talk about finding money in the budget.

Minidoka County Idaho: yes all the time, they think that they can buy under the present market - however banks list the foreclosed home at current market value

ROLE OF EXTENSION

Jayne M. Cubilla: OK gang.....we are spiraling down here....

Jayne M. Cubilla: does Extension have a big enough voice to be...gulp...advocated for homeowners??

Michael: this is often a big question - i think it comes down to what we think the role of extension is

Michael: the issue of advocacy is brought up

Michael: here is my take

Michael: I think through thoughtful research we can educate policymakers

Michael: They need to know the challenges many families face

Jayne M. Cubilla: Michael...how long will thoughtful research take? How many will lose homes during that time? We are grass roots, essentially and see the day-to-day. Not trying to be renegade here, but we are a country in crisis!

Michael: Jayne, I think we can be doing some of it now

Minidoka County Idaho: Isn’t extension not allowed to lobby?

Michael: Minidoka - yes we cannot lobby.

Michael: But Karen Bogenshndieder at UW had some great ideas for how to educate legislators and lobbyists

Michael: I think by collecting some qualitative research we can provide them with an understanding of what is happening now Michael: Jayne do you have contacts with your legislators now? Jayne M. Cubilla: only my local

CLOSING

Michael: Thank you for participating in this chat about Housing affordability and Homeownership Sustainability Chat. We ask that you complete our post-chat survey on the screen before you sign off. After editing the Q&As, you will be able to find a transcribed copy of this chat online. Remember, if you send an email request to msgutter@ufl.edu you will be notified of the location on the Web when the chat transcript has been posted. Jayne M. Cubilla: Thanks for great dialogue!!!


BIOS


Kimberly Nute-Jones brings a wealth of experience to Extension as a Consumer and Family Economics Extension Educator. She has more than 18 years of experience as a financial planner, investment advisor, and tax practitioner. Kimberly has worked with a variety of audiences providing seminars and workshops on topics that include money and debt management; savings and investment planning; retirement planning and employee benefits; insurance planning; tax planning; estate planning; and real estate investing. In her spare time, Kimberly has volunteered for Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) with the Chicago Public Schools and the Flossmoor School District 161. She has also served as a science fair judge, a community grant-writing committee member, and as a committee member on a district-wide school discipline advisory board. Kimberly offers a variety of programming for individuals, families, and organizations, with a particular emphasis on at-risk communities.Kimberly is a member of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), the Illinois Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (IAFCS), the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), the South Suburban Alliance for Family Education and Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society. She has served on the board of directors for the Ora Higgins Youth Foundation Scholarship, and is currently the vice president of the board of Madison Meadows Homeowners Association of Flossmoor.

Kimberly earned her bachelor's degree in Financial Counseling and Planning from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and her master's degree in Secondary Education with distinction from Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

Laura Royer is Extension Faculty in Family and Consumer Sciences; she joined the University of Florida-IFAS Extension Service in September 2002. Her current responsibilities are financial management, consumer fraud and housing education. Laura’s work history includes over two years at the Osceola County Extension office, over 5 years at the Marion County Extension office and 5 years on the University of Florida’s campus in Gainesville, FL. She has received three national awards (including one for housing education efforts) and 14 state and regional awards for her work accomplishments while with Extension. She has also presented at 5 national conferences and 14 times at state conferences. Laura received a master’s degree at Iowa State University majoring in Family Financial Planning and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida’s majoring in Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

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