Tell me a little bit of your experience when you were buying your home? What made you want to buy a house?
My name is Alma Flores and I am from Guatemala. I have been living in the United States for the last 25 years and I want to tell you a little bit about my recent experience buying a house, my own house finally.
Going through the buying process was a little complicated at the beginning because I am a first time homebuyer and there was a lot of information, guidelines, appointments , documents, to keep track of. Thanks to God, I was able to get in touch with a good loan mortgage officer, realtor, and housing program personnel who oriented me during the whole process. With the help of these individuals, I learned that there were programs that could help me with my down payment. Three Rivers Community Action had a great program which helped with $15,000 toward the purchase of my home and after 5 years of living in my home I do NOT have to pay them back!! Plus they helped me get a MN Housing loan and so with these two great programs they made it possible for me to start dreaming of owning my home.
My pre-approval amount it was in the 80 thousans and it was hard to find something that we liked and big enough for all of us. That was a challenge for the realtor! But their help, having the $15,000 from Three Rivers, and plus the MN Housing loan, we were able to find one! Improving my credit was another problem for me, it was very frustrating but I had to learn to be patient with the process.
What did buying a home meant to your family?
Buying a house was of a big significance for me and my family. It was a dream come true! Being a single mother of five ranging from ages 12 to 17 years old, I have all kind of responsibilities on my back. Providing shelter to my family is one of my main concerns and it is not easy to find an affordable, safe, good place to live with so many children. For the past 25 years, I was always renting houses from place to place, causing imbalance for my children. They were constantly switching schools, friends, neighborhoods, and churches.
On top of that, I faced problems with landlords and managements. The last time I was renting, it was an old small house with all kind of bugs. I was forced to sleep in the porch for six months because part of the house was inhabitable, and I let my children to sleep in the most clean area. That experience forced me to make a decision and seek help to purchase my house.
Tell us about your home.
My house is maybe not a mansion, but is my home and we’re very proud and happy!! This is a house with 3 bedrooms, placed in a good location, and is big enough for all of us. Really, to own your own place makes a big difference. It gives me a peace of mind that I don’t have to deal with landlords or managements at all. Now I have garden planted and we are enjoying our first summer in this house, its fun. My kids now are able to go in and out with their friends at our home. They are definitely more self confident about themselves and they have the freedom to play their music!
What was the first thing you and your family did when you moved into your home?
The first thing we did in our house was clean and fix some little things (remember it was hard to find a good 100% home ready to moved in), but with my brother help, it was less stressful to fixed. Then we moved but threw most of our personal stuff away because I was reluctant to carry bugs into my new house. Little by little, I had been buying some furniture, so we were ready with that.
If you could advice others, what are three important things to do before or during the process of their purchase of their home?
If I could advice others about purchasing a house, it would be to first, start building or taking care of your credit now. Second, listen to people who are knowledgeable in housing field, and third, don’t give up! Now I have my own house and I’m learning that it’s also a great investment for the future.
My family and I would like to thank everyone that helped us!!