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					FFP/HDFS 541 Housing and Real Estate in Family Financial Planning
Web Course, Spring 2008
3 credits


Patricia Swanson, Ph.D., CFP®
72 LeBaron Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-2731
Fax: 515-294-1908
Email: WebCT email (preferred) or

Course Description

The role of housing and real estate in the family financial planning process, including
taxation, mortgages, financial calculations, legal concerns, and ethical issues related to
home ownership and real estate investments. Emphasis on emerging issues in the context
of housing and real estate.

Texts/Other Readings

Title:       Real Estate
Author:      James E. Larsen
Publisher:   Wiley & Sons
Pub. Date:   2007
ISBN:         9780470038000

Accompanying website –

Additional readings as assigned

Course Objectives

Students in this course have the opportunity to:
      1. Understand the role housing and real estate can play in a family’s financial plan.
      2. Be able to compute several financial calculations related to home ownership and
          real estate investments.
      3. Become knowledgeable of mortgages, legal aspects and taxation related to home
          ownership and real estate.
      4. Be able to apply ethical considerations as a financial planner involving housing
          and real estate.
Course Structure

FFP 541 is an online course – not a correspondence course in which you proceed at your
own pace. You will find the course has structure but also flexibility to accommodate your
busy schedules.

If you are not familiar with WebCT you will find “Resources/Tips” and “Introduction to
WebCT” on the course homepage to be helpful. In addition, WebCT has help pages that are
easily accessible from the top tool bar.

Previously I used “over-the-counter consumer books” by Kiplinger for this course. There is
a new housing text published in 2007 that will be used this semester. The selected text
appears to be written at the undergraduate level. Other timely articles and research will be
added to the course content. It is to your advantage to keep up on the assigned readings in
the course.

The course consists of one week units. Units begin on a Monday and you will have until
Monday noon on the unit deadline date to complete the learning activities assigned to that
unit. Included with each unit module will be an overview of the requirements for the unit.
An introduction to the content of the unit and/or a supplement to the text also will be
posted. These introductions are meant to replace what the lecture would provide in a
classroom setting. In addition, students are expected to read the chapters in the text as
well as the other assigned readings.

Operational policies:

It is important to frequently check the announcements that are posted on the course
homepage. If you have questions on course requirements that are not addressed on an
assignment sheet or announcement or if you have questions on course content, please
contact the instructor via WebCT email. It is the instructor’s goal to reply to email
messages in a timely manner. The instructor also will hold virtual office hours each week
via the WebCT chat room. Date and time will be announced weekly.

Announcements will be posted on the course main page. Click on the “Announcements” link
to read. Please check frequently for announcements as information given here may help
you in completing assignments.

If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course,
please contact me. Also, you will need to contact the Disability Resources Office (515-294-
6624 or for coordination of your academic accommodations.

If an extension is wanted for a deadline the request must be sent in writing (use WebCT
email) and submitted prior to the deadline. There will be no extensions granted for a
discussion. There are six discussions with the lowest score being dropped from your course
grade; this will accommodate missing one discussion.
Course Requriements

The course requirements are summarized below. More information on these tasks will be
given in the unit modules and via the homepage links for these tasks.

      1. Unit Modules

          Modules begin on a Monday and end on a Monday. You will have until noon on
          the due dates to complete the learning activities assigned for the unit. Click on
          the homepage “Weekly Modules” link to find an overview for each unit and a
          summary of the required activities for that unit. A variety of learning activities
          have been designed for the course. These include readings, discussion board
          postings, exams, mini-projects, and a case study. Students are encouraged to do
          most of their reading early in the week so that they can knowledgeably
          participate in their discussion group.

      2. Discussion Groups and Discussion

          Each student will be expected to participate in a small discussion group of 4-5
          students through the WebCT discussion board. You will be randomly assigned to
          a group for the entire course. You will receive a course email message with
          information on your group. Discussion groups will be given the option of posting
          discussion messages in the group’s private discussion folder of WebCT OR by
          holding a live discussion in the WebCT chat room.

          At the start of each of the six units having a required discussion, the instructor
          will post a question in your group’s private folder of the discussion board. The
          discussion question might be a point of controversy that has been introduced in
          the readings or a question about how the material relates to the field and practice
          of financial planning. You will have until noon on the Monday that the unit ends to
          make your discussion postings for that unit. Your lowest discussion score will be
          dropped. More information on discussion expectations will be given in the unit

      3. Mini-Projects

          Five mini-projects will be assigned during the course. The goal is to give you an
          assignment to work through that may simulate an experience that you would
          have as a family financial planner or a housing counselor. Each mini-project is
          intended to be a brief endeavor (500 to 800 words) that fosters creativity and
          applies course material in a meaningful way.

          Mini-projects will be posted under the “Assignment” link in the course homepage
          left tool bar. If you are unfamiliar with this way of submitting papers, please
          review the “Resources and Tips” information found on the course homepage.
       4. Case Study

          This project involves counseling a case study family (case will be given to you)
          through the financial processes of buying and selling a home as well as
          considering additional alternatives related to housing and real estate. The project
          parallels the material presented in the course and provides a “hands-on”
          application of housing finance counseling.

       5. Exams

          Three exams and a final exam will be given during the course. The exams are
          timed (one hour for each test and two hours for the comprehensive final exam)
          and are expected to be taken closed-book.

          Practice tests are available on the website that accompanies the text. Students
          are encouraged to take these in preparation for the graded tests.

          Exams are posted under the “Assessments” link on the left tool bar of the course
          homepage. You will see here when each exam is available, the time allowed to
          complete an exam, and the maximum points possible.

Course Evaluation

Exams – 3 @ 40 points each                                   120 points

Final exam                                                    80 points

Mini-projects – 5 projects @ 30 points each                  150 points

Case study                                                    75 points

Participation in group discussion – the 5 highest             75 points
scores @ 15 points each

TOTAL                                                       500 points

Course grades will be assigned using the following scale:

A     465+              D+   335 - 349
A-    450 – 464         D    315 - 334
                        D-   300 - 314
B+    435 – 449
B     415 – 434         F    299 and below
B-    400 – 414

C+    385 – 399
C     365 – 384
C-    350 - 364
Course Outline

Units     Title                Readings*                   Deadlines
                                                           (All deadlines are noon Central
                                                           Time unless noted otherwise.)

1         Introduction         Chapter 1                   Survey – 1/21
1/14 to                                                    Mini-Project 1 – 1/21

2         Concepts of Home     Chapter 2                   Discussion 1 – 1/28
1/21 to   Ownership

3         Interests in Real    Chapter 3                   Discussion 2 – 2/4
1/28 to   Estate

4         Forms of Real Estate Chapter 4                   Exam 1 – 2/11
2/4 to

5         Real Estate Liens    Chapter 5                   Mini-Project 2 – 2/18
2/11 to   and Taxes

6         Legal Descriptions   Chapter 6                   Discussion 3 – 2/25
2/18 to

7         Real Estate          Chapter 7                   Mini-Project 3 – 3/3
2/25 to   Financing

8         Real Estate          Chapter 8                   Discussion 4 – 3/10
3/3 to    Foreclosures

9         Real Estate Agency   Chapter 9                   Exam 2 – 3/17
3/10 to   and Brokerage

3/17 to
3/21                                        Spring Break

10        Real Estate          Chapter 10                  Discussion 5 – 3/31
3/24 to   Appraisals

11        Real Estate          Chapter 11                  Mini-Project 4 – 4/7
3/31 to   Contracts

12        Closing the Real     Chapter 12                  Discussion 6 – 4/14
4/7 to    Estate Transaction
Unit       Title                  Readings*                 Deadlines

13         Income Taxes           Chapter 13                Mini-Project 5 – 4/21
4/14 to

14         Property               Chapter 14                Exam 3 – 4/28
4/21 to    Management and
4/28       Leasing

15         Land-Use Controls      Chapter 15                Case Study – 5/5
4/28 to    and Property
5/5        Development

5/5 to                                                      Final exam – 5/9 – 5:00
5/9                          Final Exam

*In addition to the text readings listed here, relevant articles may be added to a unit.

The schedule and content of this syllabus may change due to unforeseen circumstances.