Want to Buy? Get Expert Guidance with the Duke Homebuyers Club

Buying a home is tougher than ever, but the Duke Homebuyers Club gives employees tools to help

A crowd of prospective 2023 Duke Homebuyers Club participants gather for the first meeting.

Long is a facilitator with the Duke Homebuyers Club, which gives Duke employees the tools to purchase a home through education and counseling. The Homebuyers Club is a partnership between the Duke Office of Durham & Community Affairs, the Community Empowerment Fund and Reinvestment Partners.

Registration is open for the Duke Homebuyers Club, which connects Duke employees and their families with financial literacy, counseling and homebuyer resources. Monthly in-person classes begin March 14 through December. Space is limited to 30 participants, and registration will be closed when the waitlist is filled.

Since it began in 2013, Duke Homebuyers Club has helped Duke employees purchase 67 homes, including six employees who purchased a home in 2022.

Classes in the program cover topics such as Budgeting 101, Conversation with a Realtor and Visioning Board. Participants also can work one-on-one with a housing counselor to develop an individualized plan and learn about first-time homebuyer financial support opportunities.

“Starting the process could be as simple as, ‘Let's bring your receipts in with your one-on-one financial counselor and let's see where your money is going and how you might be able to save $5 a day,’” said Eliza Mathew, Assistant Director for Housing and Community Development for Duke's Office of Durham and Community Affairs.

Long added: “It’s not easy. It’s work. You have to figure out what you need to do. There’s no magic pill. It’s working, every day.”

Some first-time homebuyers also are eligible to take an eight-hour online class that will provide a Housing and Urban Development certificate that can help them qualify for homebuyer programs and loans, including below-market rates, and down payment assistance programs.

All the tools and education are helpful at a time when the median listed home price in Durham is $425,000, according to Realtor.com.

“People are frustrated because the interest rates are high and there isn't a lot of affordable inventory,” Long said. “But you can't wake up and buy a house. It's a process. So even if there's nothing available at this minute, we still encourage people to come and participate so that they are ready when something is available for them to actually purchase.”

Read more about Stacie Daye, who purchased a home with the Duke Hombuyers Club.

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