'Country Girl' Lands Home With Homeport

Linda Powell outside lease-option home she purchased the end of 2016.

Linda Powell outside lease-option home she purchased the end of 2016.

Lease-Option Program Brings ‘Big Dream’ To Framingham Resident

When Linda Powell moved into Framingham Village in 1998 she was not envisioning herself as a potential homeowner, just a Mom happy to be living in an affordable, newly constructed home to raise her boys.

Fifteen years passed and Powell became eligible to purchase the three-bedroom, 1 ½ bath home owned by Homeport. But it took a while – an additional three years – to buy into the idea and to take the courses to educate herself on how to successfully transition from renter to homeowner.

Linda Powell at closing flanked by Gail Blizzard, left, of Park National Bank, and Homeport's Brenda Moncrief, right.

Linda Powell at closing flanked by Gail Blizzard, left, of Park National Bank, and Homeport's Brenda Moncrief, right.

On the last day of 2016, with encouragement from her pastor and now adult children, as well as Homeport, she pulled the trigger on the deal.

“You can do anything when you put your mind to it,” Powell said.

Not everyone is ready for homeownership, but Homeport’s vision is to empower its residents to dream and shape their future. The lease option program is part of that vision.

Homeport offers the potential buyers the individual counseling and courses needed to make for a successful transformation from renter to owner. They learn credit scores, financial fitness tips and are taught the responsibilities that come with home ownership.

At purchase, Homeport replaces the roof, furnace and water heater to minimize the large capital repairs the new homebuyer will experience in the first five years of ownership. The price of the home is also reduced $1,000 for every year the resident has lived in the home.

Homeport has 488 homes in its lease option portfolio, though most have yet to reach the 15-year requirement. Framingham Village residents became eligible to purchase their homes in 2013 and 12 out of 22 have been sold and three more are in contract.

“It was one of the most emotional closings I have had, for me, and the lender (Park National Bank),” said Homeport Lease Option Program Manager Brenda Moncrief. “We were so proud of Linda realizing the American Dream of owning her own home.”

Powell said Moncrief was encouraging. “She said, ‘Please don’t pass this opportunity.’ She talked me through it, what I needed to do to qualify.”

The two-story home with a full basement was purchased for $86,000. But there was much work by Powell to prepare for the actual transfer of the property.

She took from Homeport courses in exterior and interior home maintenance, lawn care, financial fitness and homebuyer education, all part of the lease-option program to ensure success as a homeowner.

Being a homeowner brings stability and a sense of pride, Powell said.

“My family was happy for me. My boys were raised in this home and were happy for me. And so was my pastor,” Powell said. The pastor echoed Moncrief’s comment: “Please don’t let this opportunity pass you by.”

Linda Powell keeps a message in her front room. 

Linda Powell keeps a message in her front room. 

And she didn’t.

“I’m here. This is mine. It’s a big dream,” said Powell. “I thank Homeport and (property management company) Wallick for allowing me to stay and be a renter and giving me an opportunity to advance. I’m just a little old country girl from Louisville, Ky., who never thought she would be a homeowner.”

In addition to Framingham Village, 33 residents in Kingsford Homes on the city’s West Side are eligible this year to purchase homes they have been renting for up to 15 years.

In 2018, 39 families of Southeast Columbus Homes will be eligible to purchase the homes they are living in. Homeport has scheduled a Lease Option Kick-Off meeting for Southeast residents on March 23 at the Community Properties of Ohio (CPO) training facility, 933 E. Gay Street.

Homeport residents in the lease-option program can learn more by contacting Brenda Moncrief at 614 545-4816 or e-mail Brenda.moncrief@homeportohio.org.