“I started the process of buying a house around 2012 or 2013,” said CMPD Crime Lab police investigative technician Teela Hopkins. “I went alone and researched real estate agents and mortgages. I was struck by ‘You have to work on this. Or this.’ It wasn’t a positive experience. It seemed like a hopeless cause.”
After the birth of his son, however, Hopkins decided to give the property another shot. She wanted stability for her son and was willing to overcome obstacles so she could have it for him. She was tired of moving from apartment to apartment because of rising rents or the fact that her son didn’t like the neighborhood. She wanted a home for him, and the town’s HouseCharlotte program helped her achieve that goal.
While navigating the process can be tricky for some, the City of Charlotte offers several programs that can help potential buyers learn about homeownership and possibly receive financial assistance.
Housing counseling services
The city offers several housing counseling services, including financial literacy, pre-homeownership counseling and foreclosure prevention. Topics covered in these courses include budgeting, credit repair, mortgage approval, help with finding a home and help with negotiating mortgage terms, purchase price and the mortgage closing process.
The HouseCharlotte program offers deferred and repayable loan options for households whose income is at or below 80% of the regional median income (AMI). These funds can be used to cover the down payment, closing costs and interest rate reduction.
Effective July 1, 2022, residents at 80% AMI or less are eligible for up to $30,000 in assistance with 0% interest, forgivable after 30 years. Families with 80-110% AMI are eligible for $10,000 in assistance with 0% interest, forgivable after 15 years. The maximum purchase price for a property will be increased to $300,000 for existing construction and $315,000 for new construction.
Hopkins eventually heard about House Charlotte from her real estate agent. “I was impressed that they helped you get into a home and worked with you to help maintain that home. They help with closing costs and other home buying costs. ‘a house.”
Once the home buying process began, everything went well. Hopkins loved how House Charlotte reps stayed in touch and made sure she was up to date throughout the process. She expressed her gratitude for the program and for her real estate agent who mentioned it.
Home ownership was a blessing for Hopkins and his son. She wanted her son to see her do things and secure his future, and she wanted stability for him. Her son is now almost 7 and doesn’t remember living anywhere else. Hopkins closed her house and moved into her new home in 2017. They will be in their home for five years next month.
Hopkins prefers it that way and wants it to be his home base until he moves out on his own. He will have a childhood home, which she dreamed of for him. She explained: “I want him to be able to tell people 50 years from now that this is where I grew up, this was my old room, my family lived here when I was growing up.”
“I would tell anyone trying to buy a home to stay positive and optimistic,” she said. “I know rejections and responses you don’t want can be disheartening, but I believe that if you stay positive and remember why you started the journey, you’ll be able to relate to it. Think about how it will be rewarding in the end.”
“My experience has been overall positive, but it can take you on an emotional roller coaster,” Hopkins said, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so grateful to House Charlotte and the services that have been provided to me. C is so rewarding. Don’t give up!”
Visit the City of Charlotte Housing website for more information on homeownership opportunities and resources.