For ten years after immigrating to Rochester, MN from Somalia, Ms. Farah had relied solely on rental options to house her family. She has eight children ranging in age from five to 24. Ms. Farah has always instilled the values of education and hard work as keys to success for her children. She is very proud to report they have excelled in those areas and are quickly becoming successful young adults. Her oldest son is attending the University of Iowa, studying to be an attorney. Her oldest daughter is enrolled at Rochester Community and Technical College in the nursing field. And her high school age children all have part time jobs. Ms. Farah wanted to provide an environment for her children to study and prepare for their future; a safe and stable place to call home.
“The dream of home ownership was very difficult for us. I took the home education class twice… I wanted to learn as much as I could about how to become a homeowner.” After much reflection, Ms. Farah determined that using a traditional loan from a local bank (which did involve interest) was her best option.
In April, 2009, Ms. Farah became a homeowner. She quickly learned about the additional expenses necessary to maintain the home, and has begun budgeting for future household projects. Despite the challenges of painting, yard work and the added expense of lawn mowers and tools, they are thrilled.
“Purchasing our home has given our family a sense of belonging and pride and most all, safety. It has given us a whole new meaning to freedom… we have built more trust among ourselves and our neighbors. The children have more freedom to play in the yard and feel safe!”
Ms. Farah and her family were kind enough to invite us into their home and allow us to interview her about her homebuying experience.
What was the first thing you did when you moved into your home?
Of course, we were all so excited to finally have our own home. The children ran all over the place trying to figure out what room to claim! My house has four bedrooms plus the basement area, so everyone wanted their own space. It was an exciting moment.
If you could advise others, what are the three most important things to do before purchasing a home?
1. It is important to check out the neighborhood. Make sure you really research what’s around the house you are thinking of buying; schools, gangs, parks, etc.
2. When you have found the house you really want buy, make sure you have a professional home inspector that will share all the details with you. Sit down with the inspector and go through all the details. Keep in mind the structure of the home; roof, laundry room, appliances, garage, and driveway.
3. Most of all, find an advisor or counselor that will help you through the process of your purchase. Building trust with the counselor, loan officer, and realtor is very important. I wish I had spent more time with a counselor to help me understand the process even though I had taken the home education class twice. I still needed help. I needed more assistance dealing with my realtor and understanding the loan process.
Ms. Farah and her family are models for what hard work and education can achieve. We wish them all the best as they settle into their new home.