MILTON — The Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce will host “Homes Can Come True,” a new series of workshops.

 Meetings are set 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month, starting April 18, at the chamber, 5247 Stewart St. in Milton.

Educating residents on several aspects of home buying is the focus, according to Realtor Denise Terry, with Janet Coulter Realty, who organized the program.

“It will be a learning experience to get people from being a renter to a homeowner,” Terry said. “I’m an ambassador for the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce and I wanted to just get a group together that could give information to people that are renting who could be buying,” she said.

Workshop attendees will learn about the possibility of purchasing a home with a $0 down payment apart from closing costs, according to Terry.

“There are currently many renters who are just able to pay their bills each month and struggle to keep money in their savings,” Terry said. “Rather than building their own equity, they continue to provide for someone else's mortgage,” she said.

Three benefits of owning a home include the average lower mortgage payments compared to rent; building equity; and the freedom to make changes, according to Terry.

“Most people feel they have to have X amount of dollars in the bank to purchase a home,” Terry said. “Most people can actually upgrade their standard of living and still pay less than what they’re paying in rent.”

For example, renting a home may cost $900 a month while a mortgage payment on a $100,000 home could be between $450 and $500 a month, according to Terry.

Homes usually increase in value but only homeowners can take advantage of that, according to Terry.

“When renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage; but buying (a home) is like putting money in the bank because of the equity you acquire,” she said.

Homeowners are free to make changes to their homes and bring their home’s value, the equity, up according to Terry.

“As long as you don’t live in a homeowners association, you can do whatever you want,” Terry said. “You can put money into it and increase the value of your home with projects.”

Examples of additions include installing a pool, a garage or a new roof, adding custom paint or custom flooring, and landscaping.

“There are a lot of people that rent that feel they can never own because they don’t have $10,000 in the bank,” Terry said, “but with programs that are available now, with three to four percent of the purchase price paid in closing cost, you can actually own your home.”

Among business representatives scheduled to appear at the first workshop are Kim Cato Chalmers with InterLinc Mortgage, Greg Cowell with Farm Bureau Insurance, Jamie Peaden with Jr. Peaden Septic Tanks Inc., and Greg Micklos with 2 Men and A Truck.