"I started homebuying process about 2012 or 2013," said Teela H. "I went on my own and researched realtors and mortgages. I got hit with 'You need to work on this. Or this.' It wasn't a positive experience. It seemed like a hopeless cause."
After the birth of her son, however, Teela decided to give homeownership another shot. She wanted stability for her son and was willing to work through the roadblocks so that she could have that for him. She was tired of moving from apartment to apartment because of rising rents or not liking the area for her son. She wanted a home for him, and the city's HouseCharlotte program helped her achieve that goal.
While navigating the process can be tricky for some, the City of Charlotte has several programs that can help potential homebuyers educate themselves about homeownership and potentially receive financial assistance.
Housing Counseling Services
The city offers several housing counseling services, including financial literacy, pre-homeownership counseling, and foreclosure prevention. Topics covered in these classes include budgeting, credit repair, mortgage loan approval, assisting in locating a home and assisting in negotiating mortgage loan terms, the purchase price, and mortgage loan closing process.
The HouseCharlotte Program offers deferred and forgivable loan options for household incomes at or below 80% area median income (AMI).These funds can be used to cover down payment, closing cost and interest rate buy down.
Beginning July 1, 2022, residents at 80% AMI or below are eligible for up to $30,000 of assistance with 0% interest, forgivable after 30 years. Families at 80-110% AMI are eligible for $10,000 of assistance with 0% interest, forgivable after 15 years. The maximum property purchase price will be raised to $300,000 for existing construction, and $315,000 for new construction.
Teela eventually heard about House Charlotte from her realtor. "I was impressed that they helped you get into a home and worked with you to help you maintain that home. They help with closing costs and other costs of buying a home."
Once the homebuying process started, everything went smoothly. She loved how the representatives from House Charlotte kept in contact and made sure that she was up to date throughout the process. She expressed gratitude for the program and for her realtor who mentioned it.
Homeownership has been a blessing for Teela and her son. She wanted her son to see her doing things and securing his future, and she wanted stability for him. Her son is now almost 7 and doesn't remember living anywhere else. Teela closed on her house and moved into her new home in 2017. They will have been in their house for five years next month.
Teela prefers it that way and wants this to be his home base until he moves out on his own. He will have a childhood home, which is what she dreamed for him. She explained, "I want him to be able to tell people in 50 years this is where I grew up, this was my old bedroom, my family lived here through my childhood."
"I would say to anyone who is trying to buy a home to remain positive and optimistic," she said. "I know that refusals and the answers that you don't want can be discouraging, but I believe that if you keep positive and remember why you started the journey you will be able to figure it out. Just think about how rewarding it will be in the end."
"My experience was overall positive, but it can take you on an emotional roller coaster," Teela shared. "I wouldn't change anything about it. I'm very grateful to House Charlotte and the services available to me. It is so rewarding. Just don't give up!"
Visit the City of Charlotte's housing website for more information about homeownership opportunities and resources.