When artist Preston Sampson and his wife were expecting their first son, they knew that homeownership would give their growing family the foundation it needed. But there was one major problem. “I had no idea of how the homebuying process went,” Sampson says.
Without a real understanding of the intricacies of credit reports and what lenders were looking for in a loan applicant, Sampson felt like homeownership was out of his reach. “It was very intimidating,” he recalls.
Luckily, he met Marcia Griffin, founder and president of HomeFree-USA, in an art gallery. The two hit it off, and when Sampson found out what she did, he wondered if the Universe was conspiring to help him to achieve his dream. He and his wife sat down with a HomeFree-USA counselor.
Not only did HomeFree-USA help the Sampsons get a mortgage, but “they helped us to understand the process,” Sampson says. “That was most important.”
Sampson recognizes that he and his wife weren’t the only ones to find homeownership confusing and he urges others to seek counseling and education so they can put themselves in the best position to become homeowners. “There’s a lot of information gathering that you have to do in the homebuying process and most young people – especially minorities -- don’t have a clue about what to do,” he says.
The relationship between HomeFree-USA and Sampson did not end after the Sampsons bought their first home. HomeFree-USA benefited from Sampson’s artistic talent when they asked him to create a print that would represent HomeFree-USA’s mission. The result was “All the Way Home,” a picture that shows a family looking optimistically toward the path of homeownership.
The print not only represents HomeFree-USA’s purpose, but it represents Sampson’s own experience as HomeFree-USA’s first client. “It shows someone looking to the future,” Sampson says. “I would tell anybody who is dreaming of owning their first home to come to HomeFree-USA.”