November 9, 2017
Are you interested in HDF’s first-time homebuyer programs but not sure what to expect? Are you interested in buying your first home but don’t know where to start? Hear what Elizabeth, an HDF homeowner since 2016, has to say about her experience working with HDF.
CLICK BELOW TO WATCH THE TESTIMONIAL!
How did you hear about HDF?
When we were thinking about buying a house, a friend of ours contacted a realtor here in Norwalk, CT. She put us in touch with the Savings Bank of Danbury, who is a participating lender with HDF. He was the one who introduced us to HDF.
How do you think of our homebuyer counseling and education program?
Our counselor was fantastic to work with. She was very responsive to my emails and any questions that we had. When we started thinking about buying a home, we knew that there were a lot of things that we didn’t know, and we tried to do a lot of research on our own. So when we were put in touch with HDF, we realized that this is the type of program and assistance we needed to take that first step towards buying a home.
We had several counseling calls with our homebuyer counselor. She walked us through steps involved in buying a home and told us about different loan products so that we knew what all the options are and which ones are a good fit for us. The other thing that she had us do was taking a free first-time-homebuyer course. This course and counseling with HDF helped us to understand everything that would be involved so that we can make an informed decision.
In what ways specifically did your homebuyer counselor help you with the home buying process?
With all the documentations, we had lots of questions that came up during that process. Any time that I had a question, my homebuyer counselor were always available to answer the questions and give me directions. She was also an advocate for us.
She would tell me things to look out for, such as what’s very important when you shop for a homeowner insurance, what are some of the big questions that you need to ask, or things that you might want to consider when you work on a contract and a negotiation. She helped us to ask the right questions to make a better decision.
How did you feel on the day that you closed on your house?
On the day that we closed on our house, it was pouring down rain. We’ve done so much work in preparation for that day. For closing, we had an image of a room filled with people exchanging hands, but it was actually more like a quiet experience, going in and signing our names. But it felt like a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when we got our keys and when we got to walk into our new homes.
What’s different now in your life since you bought your home?
Since buying a house, there definitely have been many changes in our lifestyles from moving from living in a city to living in a small town. But I think it’s more like a sense of identity and being able to plant roots and knowing that “this is our home. This is where we’re staying. This is where our kids are going to grow up and go to school.” It’s also having a sense of feeling established in where we are in life.
Owning our own home also made a big difference in our day to day life. My son is able to have a backyard to run out and play, have a swing, and kick his soccer ball. I think we have more chance to get exercise, get out as a family and take a walk of the neighborhood. My husband is able to walk to the train station or ride his bike as part of his commute. We definitely enjoy just having more space to sit around and play games as a family in our living room and for our sons to have space to set elaborate train tracks that he loves to build. I definitely feel a lot less stress here.
How did your relationship with your community change since you owned a home?
One of the things that we wanted to do was to invest our lives in our neighborhood and our community. We learned that owning a home helps you to contribute to the community in a different way because you care in a different way. When we’re renting, we might not have thought about what your property taxes cover and how that impacts lives of everyone here. When you’re paying into these things, you care more about the services your city has to offer and how we can contribute more to make it a better place to live.
For me, it’s also a change in mindset, that we’re not only investing in a property – we also invest in being a part of a community. For us, being a part of a community would mean watching our kids growing up here. I’m excited that we’ll soon be part of the school system and different community functions, maybe a soccer group or a church here that is doing good work for the community.
Do you have any advice to other first-time homebuyers?
We thought we wanted to own a home but we wasn’t sure if it was possible. So I would tell someone who is interested in buying a house that don’t just brush it aside and think that it’s not for me or it’s not possible, because we were so surprised to find an organization like HDF too.
If you are interested in buying a home, at least take the first step and see if it’s right for you. What HDF has to offer is a lot of education and counseling, and that helped us weigh all the costs and the risks. They helped us look at our current financial situation to understand all that involves in owning a home and how to budget and plan for that. It’s definitely worth pursuing if it’s something that you want to do because there’re resources out there.
Are you ready to start your journey towards homeownership? We have downpayment assistance and counseling programs available to help you get started. Find out more HERE.