MILWAUKEE — At 47-years-old, MPS substitute teacher, Latonia Ford, finally owns her first home, a four-bedroom in Milwaukee.
"You know how you've been wanting something for so long, and then when you finally get it, you're like, this isn't true, something is going to happen. So like every step, I was nervous," said Ford.
That anxiety is understandable, especially in this contact-free COVID-19 world. Ford had to tour the house wearing a mask and signed all the paperwork via email.
To get where she's at, she's done the work. She did credit counseling and paid off some of her cards. And the result was worth it.
"As a renter, I was paying $750 for rent. But now, as a homeowner, I'm paying $456," said Ford.
"When it came down to closing, I only had to pay $77," Ford continued.
Ford took advantage of grants and other resources helping first-time homebuyers. One of them being a loan from WHEDA or Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
"Most times, WHEDA products are much more affordable than our conventional mortgages," said WHEDA's Assistant Deputy Director, May Yer Thao.
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For some, affordability becomes even more important during a pandemic. Thao says with low-interest rates and WHEDA's low-cost financing programs, for some families, buying makes sense.
"It really offers homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, the opportunity to get into homes sooner and with more affordable long term payments, mortgages," Thao explained.
Ford herself, was in her home within six months of starting the whole process.
"My friends, they are really inspired by me and it makes me feel good because they're like "You did it!" said Ford.
"When I got older, I'm like I want something I can call my own and something that I can leave to my children," she said.
If you're renting but want to buy, start with credit counseling. You can reach out to the Milwaukee non-profit Acts Housing at 414-933-2215.