The first thing you see when you walk through the front door of Ricardo and Claudia’s Albuquerque home is a pool table. They’ve played pool together since they started dating several years ago. They used to have to go out to play at bars and clubs, but now they can stay home and play together. It’s one of their favorite things about owning their own home. Claudia says that Ricardo always wins, but she sunk a few impressive shots while we were there.They first came to Homestart on the advice of a friend. They already had a house in mind in a neighborhood that they loved, but they had some work to do on their credit before they would be ready.
They spent the next year working together with their Homestart Home Purchase Advisor on their action plan to get themselves in a strong financial position to become homeowners. They were also able to take advantage of the HomeLIFT down payment assistance program, a collaboration between Homestart, NeighborWorks and Wells Fargo. With a welcome boost of $15,000 in down payment assistance from the program, they were able to achieve their dream much more quickly than they thought possible.
When they were ready, they knew they wanted to find a house in the same neighborhood they fell in love with a year before. Ricardo was set on finding a two story house with a two-car garage and a big backyard for cookouts. Claudia wanted something pretty on the outside with a nice yard where one day kids could play. They both wanted space for having friends and family over. Another favorite thing about owning their home is having people over for parties and gatherings. In fact, the first thing they did after moving in was have a giant housewarming party. Ricardo looked at a few houses online before Claudia saw them, but he wasn’t sure about any of them. As soon as Claudia joined in the search, she found the perfect house on the first try. It was a cute two-story house in the neighborhood they wanted with a big yard and two-car garage. She knew right away this was the house, and they made an offer immediately. A few months later they were moving into their dream home. They were so excited to have a place to call their own that they spent the very first night sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags.
Claudia couldn’t wait to start decorating the house from top to bottom to make everything perfect. Ricardo was ready to get started on landscaping the backyard. They’ve been in the house for about a year and are still steadily working on both projects. It’s taken a little longer than they planned because eight months ago they welcomed a baby boy. These days between their jobs, their son, and working on their house, time gets stretched pretty thin. But they always find ways to enjoy their time together as a family. Even if that just means cranking the music up loud while they clean the house together. That’s another thing they like to do now that they have their own home. They don’t have to worry about the neighbors upstairs getting mad about the noise anymore, so they can turn cleaning time into dancing time and their son gets to join in the fun too.
After all their hard work to become ready for homeownership, they have some words of wisdom for anyone thinking about buying a home. “Credit is important. Pay attention to it. You have to have good credit to buy nice things.” Ricardo advises. Claudia adds that, “It’s important to be patient. Don’t get desperate and get yourself into a bad deal. Just be patient and you can do it.” And out of all the things they love about having their own home, when asked to name the very best thing they both answered without hesitation, “freedom.”