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Cabo Rojo to host free housing counseling event

The workshop is designed to educate on the buying process and financial assistance.

To encourage more citizens to acquire homes in Puerto Rico, a housing counseling event will take place on May 1 starting at 8 a.m. at the Cabo Rojo Convention Center. 

Financial institutions, real estate agencies and the Puerto Rico Housing Department, among other entities involved in the home-buying market on the island, will convene in the same space. The event is free for all registered attendees.

The housing counseling workshop, provided by PathStone Corp. and funded by the Housing Department, will educate consumers on home ownership readiness and the incentives available to them.

PathStone has conducted workshops and financial education for more than 10,000 families using CDBG-DR funds since 2020. It assists in the process and acts as an intermediary to ensure that families receive the information they need to purchase their home.

“Most consumers who buy a home don’t know their rights in the process,” said María Rodríguez-Collazo, director of Housing Programs at PathStone Puerto Rico. “We also don’t have enough information to be able to compare and determine if the mortgage loan offer is the most convenient one. I’m an example: Twenty years ago, when I bought my first home, I didn’t even know what mortgage insurance was imposed on me. I didn’t know I had a choice. That’s how important the workshop is; you become enough of an expert to make the right decisions for you and your family.”

During the workshop, PathStone’s housing counselors, certified by the U.S. Department of Housing, will be available to assist consumers with personalized help. Staff from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-DR) – Disaster Recovery program’s Homebuyer Assistance Program, and from the Housing Finance Authority, which administers the program will also be present at the event.

The workshop will cover a variety of topics including the importance of credit history, mortgage loan requirements, and consumer rights and protections.

Participants will receive in-depth information about the CDBG-DR Homebuyer Assistance Program, which offers “financial assistance in the form of a grant that must be used for the purchase of a new or existing home.” 

Eligible households may receive grants of up to $55,000. Properties in a designated urban center, approved by the Housing Department, may get an extra incentive “of $5,000 to be used towards the purchase price,” according to program material.

“Studies conducted by the Housing Department and federal intermediaries, such as NeighborWorks America, show that families that take the workshop tend to buy at a better interest rate and have lower closing costs. It has also been proven that these families are more likely to make their payments and avoid losing their investment to foreclosure,” Rodríguez-Collazo added.

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