Perseverance

Kathy Carter, second from right, celebrates closing. Left of her is Homeport's Brenda Moncrief. On the far left is real estate agent Melle Eldridge of King Thompson. On the right is Gail Blizzard, Vice President & Mortgage Lender at Park National Bank.

Kathy Carter, second from right, celebrates closing. Left of her is Homeport's Brenda Moncrief. On the far left is real estate agent Melle Eldridge of King Thompson. On the right is Gail Blizzard, Vice President & Mortgage Lender at Park National Bank.

2017 Brings Record Year In Lease-Option Program

Since 2012, Kathy Carter has been eligible to purchase the Northeast Columbus home she had leased from Homeport since 1997. But wanting it and making it happen are definitely different, Carter said.

“I had a lot of financial hardships, not even knowing how to pay rent at times let alone buying a house,” the Framingham Village resident said.

That changed on Dec. 29, the final business day of 2017, when she signed paperwork that made her 4-bedroom, 1 ½ bath residence her home.

The end of year closing was the eleventh in 2017 for Homeport in its lease option program that, under terms of the construction financing, require the homes to be rented for 15 years before a sale can take place to the person or family in it the 15th year or beyond.

While Carter’s story is heartwarming by the length of time – twenty years -- it took her to transition from renter to owner at her home, it is not unusual in terms of the work homeownership requires – income, credit scores and general homebuyer education.

“We tell them, ‘we’ll be there to help you but it is up to you to cross that finish line,’” said Homeport Lease Option Program Manager Brenda Moncrief. “’We’ll give you the tools (counseling, courses), but it is up to you to do the work.”

Also closing on a Homeport lease-option home in December was Greater Linden Homes resident Sherry White. After leasing her home seven years, White came home after the closing and said to herself, “‘This is my home.’’’

Greater Linden Homes resident Sherry White, second from right, at her closing in December.

Greater Linden Homes resident Sherry White, second from right, at her closing in December.

Her message: “Clean up your credit and get what you want. That is the most important thing. And have faith in your Realtor, Lender and the Grace of God. Learn what to do and how to do it.”

Homeport’s Moncrief said there is a message about the last two sales from 2017.

“Both of these residents put in the work and made it to the finish line. They did not stop when they got that first ‘no.’ We want to encourage other residents when you get to that first roadblock … don’t stop. Keep working and you will get that American Dream.”

Homeport has sold 24 lease-option homes since 2013 and has a total of 142 homes eligible for purchase in its Framingham, Greater Linden, Kingsford, Joyce and Southeast Columbus single family lease-option communities. The 11 homes sold in 2017 was a record for a single year in the lease-option program.

To learn more about the lease-option program, click here.