SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Savannah Technical College and the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Savannah (CCCS) teamed up to host an Introduction to Homeownership online workshop.

As National Homeownership Month gets underway, Dr. Brent A. Stubbs, Savannah Tech’s vice president for economic development, and CCCS of Savannah director of financial education Richard Reeve collaborated to offer the free workshop to those interested in buying their first home.

“In my own life, I saw it; when we looked around in our family, everyone rented,” Stubbs told NOW. 

The Florida native says he recalls the pride his father felt when he was able to buy his first home for his family. The milestone was made possible through a program designed to help working, impoverished people.

“That slow march out of poverty through homeownership, no matter where it starts, is real,” Stubbs shared.

Wednesday’s hour-long webinar was open to anyone who was working toward leaving the world of renting behind. It covered useful starter tips like budgeting, checking credit reports, choosing a realtor and getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

“The point of this workshop is to figure out, ‘how do I know what’s affordable for me, not what the bank says is affordable, what they’ll pre-approve me for, but with some consumer tips, you know, what’s a good range for me? What kind of credit score do I need to get qualified to buy a house?'” Reeve said.

The interactive session allowed participants to ask questions and test their home-buying knowledge through quick quizzes.

Reeve says it was a taste of the CCCS of Savannah’s eight-hour homeownership workshops that the organization normally hosts on weekends. These, he says, will be on hold until fall. 

Reeve added that throughout the pandemic, he and his colleagues noticed that achieving first-time homeownership still seemed to be a priority in the local community.

The overall goal, he said, is to help ensure that they’re successful in obtaining the keys to their first home.

“People have been buying houses for years, so as long as you know what to look for and how to protect yourself, you can have a really pleasant experience, be a successful homeowner and be confident that no matter what life at you throws at you down the road, that you purchased a house that was an affordable home, you know how much you should be saving to maintain that home, and you know you got a good deal on it,” Reeve said. 

Stubbs adds that the journey to homeownership is all about people empowering themselves.

“When you give that gift of homeownership to a family, it’s not just that personal pride, but it’s the wealth that develops in that family, it’s the children in the home that now say, ‘you buy your home, you don’t rent,’ and how that changes their lives,” Stubbs said. “It’s really incredible.”