by Carly Weber, CHP Homeownership Client
There is a saying when one door shuts, another will open. On October 20, 2014, as I signed my name for the thousandth time at the attorney’s office, a huge door opened. It was one I never thought would be possible for me, especially as a single woman: I became a home owner.
Life circumstances earlier in the year made it necessary for me to find a new home for myself and my two boys. We have always lived in Blacksburg, Va., and I wanted to remain in the area so we could keep our routine. While exploring my options, I discovered that the cost to rent in the New River Valley was surprisingly high. After scouring Craigslist, rental agencies, and asking around, I realized that finding a rental option that fit our family needs and budget was very unlikely.
A friend, in passing, mentioned that paying a mortgage would probably be cheaper than renting, and I would have the benefit of owning my own place. I laughed. Now wasn’t the time or the place to purchase a house. But at my friend’s suggestion, I called a local real estate agent to see if buying might actually make more sense than renting. My original goal was to find a place to rent and set up a plan for purchasing a house in a year. With this in mind, the REALTOR asked my permission to have someone in the CHP Homeownership department review this option from a financial perspective.
When I walked into that first meeting at CHP, I figured I wouldn’t qualify for a loan. I had just returned to the work force after seven years of staying home with my children. I am a single mother, and, frankly, my income is low. However, as a first time home buyer I quickly learned that I had more options available to me than I realized. A Homeownership Specialist at CHP sat down with me and proceeded to ask me questions, run numbers, and draw up a personalized financial framework. He helped me figure out exactly what I could afford that would be manageable and not overextend me financially. My hunch that renting would strain my finances proved true and explained the sleepless nights I had worrying about how I could afford put a roof over our heads. I quickly realized that purchasing a house could be a reality.
Truthfully, looking for a house wasn’t as glamorous as I thought. It was stressful and difficult to make a decision that would impact my family for many years. Fortunately, my real estate agent and CHP made a great team and helped ease this stress. They answered every question, went over contracts, and worked hard to make sure that all the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed. After several contracts fell through and not being able to find the house that felt right, I almost gave up. Then a house in Christiansburg, Va., came on the market. I went to look, not expecting to like it, and walked out knowing this was the one. It’s not perfect. It needs some work, but it fits my needs and my family.
CHP was with me from beginning to end during my home purchase. From the initial meeting, the education process, and the final signing of the papers, they were there. Now I sit in my house, which has been decorated for the holidays, and I know that it was a good decision. One I couldn’t have made without the guidance and support from a great team.