Meet Our Borrowers: Odenis

For Odenis, the journey to homeownership was a long and winding one.

“When I dreamed about having a house, I thought I was crazy!” she said.

She first arrived in Manchester with her husband and six children fifteen years ago, and struggled to find a place to rent due to the large size of her family. She finally found an apartment through NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire, but she still wondered if her family could one day find a larger place of their own.  So in 2010, she attended a homebuyer education class and started to investigate ways to make her dream possible.

Her investigation led her to New Hampshire Housing, whose staff told her about how you can use a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher toward a mortgage payment. In 2012, after Odenis and her husband received a voucher and qualified for the New Hampshire Housing’s Voucher Assisted Mortgage Option, they began saving for a home using an Individual Development Account (IDA) through the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, which matched each dollar saved with an additional $3.00 up to $2,000. Through the IDA program, Odenis saved a total of just over $8,000, attended an additional homebuyer education class and took other training.

The class, which was through NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire, covered many things she didn’t know about homeownership. She said it covered everything from the responsibilities of homeownership to budgeting to the importance of home inspections. After the class, she said, she was intimidated by the intricacies of homeownership and second-guessed her goal. But she decided to keep going.

She returned to New Hampshire Housing for her mortgage loan, opting to go with the Home Flex Plus program, which offers up to 3% of the loan amount for downpayment and closing costs. For Odenis, this meant an additional $4,000 toward her dream. She also was able to lock in her loan at a rate that was better than what other lenders were offering her.

When everything was set and ready, the process of actually buying a house took longer than she expected. After receiving mortgage pre-approval in October 2013, she found a house within her budget in Manchester that was undergoing a short sale. Because it was a short sale house, she ended up waiting six months to close on the home because of the bank’s extra steps and final approval process. She called her New Hampshire Housing Family Self-Sufficiency coordinator while she was waiting to ask questions and seek support.

“I liked her a lot,” she said. “She helped me and was patient.”

Odenis’s dream became reality when she closed on April 25. She and her family enjoy their new, quiet neighborhood, and this summer they’ve been taking advantage of the pool that came with the house. What did she learn in her journey?

“Have patience, and a fixed goal,” she said. “With patience and a goal, you can do it.”

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