NECAC assists with USDA 502 Direct Home Ownership loans, specialized courses for potential homeowners.

NECAC officials are encouraging people to check into options that could help them own a home, even if they previously didn't think it was the right option for them.

Brent Engel, public relations officer with NECAC, said potential applicants often say that they won't qualify for the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development 502 Direct Home Ownership Loan — which provides funds for homeownership without a down payment — because they don't have enough money or they feel that they are too old.

He said “all they have to do is call us” to find out what options are best for each individual situation. Engel and NECAC Deputy Director of Housing Carla Potts said the 502 Home Ownership Loan funds are in strong supply. Potential applicants facing credit issues can access a variety of resources, too.

Potts said NECAC can assist people with classes focused on mastering budgeting techniques, understanding loan details, taking care of home maintenance tasks and getting a handle on credit debt.

“We don't just help people become homeowners,” she said. “We help them become successful home owners.”

Homeownership can be a tough process, Potts said. For instance, a conventional loan for a $100,000 home could result in a $20,000 down payment. But the the 502 Direct Home Loan does not include that payment up front. Potts said that anyone can call the Homeownership Center at the Marion County NECAC office or stop by to learn more or start the application process.

Engel said the dream of home ownership is daunting, but NECAC representatives are eager to help. “If your dreams do not scare you, they're not big enough,” he said. “We can probably make your dream of home ownership come true. You just have to take that first step and give us a call.”

To reach the Homeownership Center, call 573-221-3404 or visit the NECAC Marion County office at 3518 Palmyra Road in Hannibal.

Trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com