Renting never felt right to Shani. “I felt like I was just throwing my money away,” she says. And she was right: her rent payments went to her landlord rather than toward helping her build equity.
But today that has all changed. Now she’s enjoying the many benefits of homeownership including equity, tax breaks and control over her environment. “I've always wanted to own my own home, and to have the freedom to do what I wanted to do in my own house,” she says. The days of upstairs neighbors making noise are behind her. And though she’s currently single and doesn’t have children, “I can pass the house down to my children if I choose to have them,” she says.
Her biggest fear was that she wouldn’t have the means to pay the mortgage. “I hear people saying, ‘Once you buy a house, you're not going to have a landlord to fix this or fix that,’” she says. However, taking the time to get educated about the process helped to relieve her fears enough for her to move forward.
Through financial education, she also learned what type of house she could best afford. While she initially envisioned a detached single-family home, she decided that a townhouse would make better sense for her budget. “This is my first home, so it doesn't have to be my last,” she says. “If all goes well, I can always move to a larger place.”
HomeFree-USA made the process easier for her from beginning to end. Her homeownership advisor connected her with a loan officer and helped her identify money that she could use for her down payment and closing costs through programs geared toward first-time homebuyers and toward teachers. “All I needed to do was find the house,” Shani says. Once she found the house she was looking for, she closed on it within 30 days. “When it's your time, it's your time!” she says.