Originally called Workforce Housing Certification (WHC), this program was renamed to avoid some of the unfortunate stigma attached to the term "affordable housing." In some circles, affordable housing is equated to public or subsidized housing. Although voucher programs are important in discussions about housing options, this REALTOR® education focuses on first-time and middle income buyers. Maryland REALTORS® Housing Affordability and Equal Opportunity Committee found that the term workforce housing was still confusing for some, and undertook the task of evalutaing and improving the program. Now, through an expanded partnership with the State of Maryland, Housing Opportunity Certified REALTORS® will have more exposure to consumers through the Maryland Mortgage Program website, and through our own consumer website at www.marylandhomeownership.com.
Increasingly, housing costs in many areas exceed the financial reach of many low-to-moderate wage earners, such as service sector employees, entry level staff and health personnel, as well as teachers, police, and firefighters. Also, as many REALTORS® and lenders know, minorities and new immigrants often fall victim to discrimination and predatory lending practices. There are financial programs and tools that can help address the problem of affordability and you can learn about them. Develop your knowledge and expertise to serve this important and growing market by taking the steps to become HOC.
Housing Opportunity Certified (HOC) REALTORS® are specially trained to receive customer inquiries on workforce and affordable housing finance programs for selected jurisdictions. Earning this popular certification requires completion of the following three core classes in any sequence, as well as one elective course:
There is no exam and there is no Maryland REALTOR® charges or fees for the HOC certification. There may be some materials or facility costs associated with certain classes or locations. After completing the required classes, your name will be placed on a revolving referral list on the http://www.marylandhomeownership.com website, based on your preferred business locations (up to three.)The HOC program is not affiliated or endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS®.After the HOC certification is obtained, it is good until December 31 of the following year. To stay certified, you must complete the Maryland Mortgage Program class and another HOC course within the second year.
Interested in having a class in your area? Ask your local board/association to host a class series.
For more information, please reach out to the Education Department of Maryland Realtors.