Maria: Buying a first home for her family.
I feel so good because my brothers are going to be with me. They are going to come here legally, they are going to look for work, and they are going to help me pay the mortgage.
Maria’s path to homeownership was fueled by a belief that you can get what you want in life if you confront your fears, work hard, and follow the rules.
By 2016, Maria’s three brothers in Nicaragua will undertake a trip she herself made almost 30 years ago – immigrating to the United States to work. Realizing her one rented room in a shared house would not accommodate their needs and those of her mother for whom she is caretaker six months a year, she put together her plan of action. Hearing about LEDC’s housing counseling services on the radio, Maria partnered with LEDC to purchase her first home by preparing for the responsibilities of homeownership and qualifying for financial assistance through the DC Home Purchase Assistance Program.
Rolanda: From Home to Homeownership.
For 29-year-old Rolanda Wray, coming home to her 2-story yellow townhouse with a spacious backyard and a wraparound picket fence is a daily reminder that her decision to purchase her Northeast Washington home was without a doubt the right one.
“I had just come out of grad school and was looking for an apartment, when I realized, the expenses for an apartment [were] the same as for owning a home,” said Rolanda, who grew up in the Petworth neighborhood of D.C.
After careful consideration, Rolanda opted for the route of homeownership, and began attending several open houses for first-time homebuyers.
The programs and assistance that was out there for first time homebuyers was really what pushed me to buy a home… I felt like I had gained a lot of knowledge and it was time for me to sow my own seeds.
Feeling better prepared to tackle the next step, Rolanda contacted the Latino Economic Development Center’s Homeownership Counseling department. Guided by LEDC housing counselor Jose Rodriguez, Rolanda applied for financial assistance through the DC Home Purchasing Assistance Program (HPAP). The program provides qualified applicants with up to $40,000 in financial assistance to be used for down payment and/or closing costs of their first home.
With stable employment and a great credit score to match, Rolanda’s biggest difficulty had been finding an agency that could accommodate her work hours.
“LEDC [was] definitely more flexible when working with clients,” she noted. “Mr. Rodriguez was willing to take my appointment even after work—it would be 8 o’clock and he was still here working with me.”
Constraints aside, Rolanda enrolled and completed her homeownership training and counseling. The training brought together loan officers, insurance agents, and closing agents as they taught prospective homeowners the nuts and bolts of homeownership.
In March 2013, Rolanda moved into her new home.
“I felt that I had grown so much that it was time for me to move,” said Rolanda, recalling her decision to become a homeowner. “Investments are always good for your future.”