|This article was published on: 06/01/2006|
FEATURE: Great Partnerships
BY BARBARA BALLINGER
Finding the American Dream
For some people, the dream of owning a home seems beyond reach. Whether their problem is bad credit, minimal savings, lack of access to flexible mortgage products, or unrealistic expectations, these potential home owners often don’t know the steps that’ll put them on the path to ownership. Fortunately, there are real estate salespeople out there who don’t understand the words “can’t do.” They’re helping turn dreams into reality despite tough odds. In celebration of National Homeownership Month, we salute them and the buyers they’ve helped, partners who truly understand the meaning of home, sweet home.
The Story of Maria Gonzalez and Jorge Villa
In moving to the United States from Mexico, Maria Gonzalez and her husband Jorge Villa wanted a part of the American dream. Four loan officers told them they wouldn’t qualify for a loan. One even suggested they relocate from California to Texas, where housing was more affordable.
After moving from their parents’ homes when they were 18 years old, Jen and Tony Kimmen worked hard to get by. But the birth of their two daughters and their modest salaries — she’s a utility analyst and he’s a cable line splicer — led to a history of bad credit. “Nobody tells you when you’re 18 how important good credit is,” Jen says.
With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy on her financial history and no savings, Tralina Mason, 23, never thought she’d be able to buy a house. But an increase in her rent and a desire for her son and daughter to have separate bedrooms pushed the single mom to try every avenue.
Janelle Keller, 43, never thought she’d be able to buy a single-family home. Raising her son on her own from the age of 22 — and relocating three times for better jobs — she was content with renting. Until she had an epiphany.
After a family crisis destroyed their “perfect” life and credit, Anne and Robert Lassiter were eager to relocate from Florida back to Georgia where they grew up. They responded to a newspaper advertisement for a lease-to-purchase. The investor who owned the property was looking to cover monthly costs and help credit-challenged people eventually buy their own homes. Making a killing was not his incentive.