'Don't Miss Your Blessing'

Helen Starghill and her husband Richard Taylor outside their Kingsford Homes residence.

Helen Starghill and her husband Richard Taylor outside their Kingsford Homes residence.

After 15 Years, Kingsford Resident Becomes Homeowner

As a new roof was being installed on Helen Starghill’s home this summer, she called out to on-looking neighbors: “Don’t miss your blessing!”

Helen moved to her newly built rental home in December 2001 and was determined to buy it as soon as possible under Homeport’s Lease Option Program. Helen achieved her goal the last week of August and, in the process, she became the first homeowner from 33 homes Homeport built in the Kingsford Homes development on the West Side of Columbus.

"She is a great model for the lease-option program," said Homeport Lease Option Program Manager Brenda Moncrief. "The day she got the sales price, I got a signed sales contract from her. She said for years, 'As soon I can buy it, I will.' And she did."

As part of the Lease Option Program, prior to closing, Homeport provides the resident with a new roof, furnace and water heater to minimize potential expenses a new homebuyer may experience in the early years of ownership.   

“I’m constantly talking to my neighbors about the awesome opportunity to be homeowners. We’ve talked in each other’s yards, living rooms, and garages about what it was going to take to one day own our homes,” she said. “And now that the time is here, everyone is going about the prospect and making sure that whatever needs to be done to make it happen is done.”

Homeport owns 15 lease option developments throughout Central Ohio. Twenty-one homes have been sold to residents upon reaching the 15-year mark, a time frame determined by the terms of the financing of the homes.

Richard and Helen at closing.

Richard and Helen at closing.

While homeownership is not for everyone, Homeport’s vision is to empower its residents to dream and shape their future. The lease option program is part of that vision and provides a path to affordable homeownership for Homeport’s residents.

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

 “You would be crazy not to take this,” Helen recalls Homeport Senior Housing Counselor Layden Hale telling her. “Don’t pass this up.”

Having been an executive assistant for another non-profit building and renovating homes, Helen knew she had the organizational ability to take on the challenge when she moved into her four-bedroom, 2 ½ half bath, 1820-square foot home. She loves that she reached her goal.

 “[It] may have seemed like a pain in the beginning, but in the end I am telling you [it has] all been worth it. The word needs to be out that there are programs like this that can help people become first time homebuyers.”