FFP/HDFS 541 Housing and Real Estate in Family Financial Planning
Web Course, Spring 2008
Patricia Swanson, Ph.D., CFP®
72 LeBaron Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
Email: WebCT email (preferred) or email@example.com
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.
Title: Real Estate
Author: James E. Larsen
Publisher: Wiley & Sons
Pub. Date: 2007
Accompanying website – www.wiley.com/college/larsen
Additional readings as assigned
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.
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
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
3/21 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
14 Property Chapter 14 Exam 3 – 4/28
4/21 to Management and
15 Land-Use Controls Chapter 15 Case Study – 5/5
4/28 to and Property
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.