Burglarized twice in six months on the Far East Side, Elizabeth Grimes was determined to find a home that was safe and affordable to raise her 15 year old son and six year old daughter. It took nearly two years, but she made it happen with help from Homeport.
Today, Ms. Grimes is living on the South Side of Columbus in a two-story, 4-bedroom, and 1½ bath home. Homebuyer Education courses she took from Homeport prepared her to interact with real estate agents to negotiate the purchase of a home, consider mortgage payment options, and understand maintenance costs, she says.
And her story is not singular.
In 2014, 1166 individuals took homebuyer education and budget and credit counseling courses from Homeport; 207 of the course graduates, including Ms. Grimes, successfully purchased $22.4 million in real estate in Central Ohio.
The success of the Homeport Housing Advisory Center Team is in large part a matter of detail, from courses to scheduling individual meetings and follow-up.
“We have a dedicated group of individuals who put the needs of clients first. Their care and concern never ceases to amaze me,” said Laverne Price, Homeport’s Senior Director of Learning & Engagement.
For example, last year, Homeport Loan Program Manager Isabel Giles linked several clients with a down payment assistance program funded by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. In order for the funds to be released, a home inspection must be conducted covering safety issues such as natural gas build up, lead in paint or faulty electrical wiring.
“In one case the home that clients (a couple) wanted to buy had a natural gas reading almost 10 times the max amount accepted by EPA,” Giles said. The house was cleaned up, down payment funds were released and within three weeks the family moved in.
“It is very rewarding to be able to provide a family not just with necessary funds to purchase their home but to be able to make sure the family is purchasing a home with decent, safe and sanitary conditions,” Giles said.
For Ms. Grimes, the process of acquiring a home in the Southfield community was a march that began with her decision to leave her crime troubled townhome off Brice Road. She moved in with her mother and began to save money.
In February 2014 she received a Home Buyers Education certificate from Homeport after taking eight hours of classes spread over two weekends.
In June she came back to Homeport for credit counseling. In November, she purchased her home. Now she is considering interior painting, possibly creating a “computer room” from an unused bedroom, and determining the best uses for the basement.
“The courses I took were very valuable,” Ms. Grimes said.
Homeport offers free classes on credit and budget counseling, overall financial fitness, homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention, home repair and maintenance, and has individual counseling services as well.
To learn about courses and other financial related services at Homeport, visit http://homeportohio.org/learn/contact-homeport-housing-advisory-center/ or call 614-221-8889 x134.