Anyone in the market to buy a home in Massachusetts can tell you two things:
- It’s a seller’s market out there.
- The entire process is daunting, particularly for first-time homebuyers.
Enter Somerville Community Corporation’s First-Time Homebuyer program – designed and developed to prepare potential buyers for these and other challenges ahead. The 12-hour course covers everything from meeting with realtors and setting expectations to working with lenders and securing a mortgage that works for you. Mortgage products designed for low- and moderate-income first
Support for First-Time Homebuyerstime buyers feature prominently in the course offerings, as do presentations about Fair Housing laws and practices and homeowner support programs offered in the City of Somerville.
Gilmore Tamny, a recent graduate of the program, closes on her first home purchase on Monday, October 31st. “In a market that is terrifying, I felt supported, encouraged and respected the whole time,” she says. “As someone who does not make a lot of money – and doesn’t anticipate making a lot of money – it was a very good experience for me to be treated with respect.”
Tamny is one of the fortunate few who benefitted from Somerville’s efforts at preserving affordable homeownership units. She heard through the grapevine about a unit that had sold as an affordable unit some years ago. It was due to come back on the market because of the owner’s need to relocate.
She investigated what she needed to do to apply, and enrolled in SCC’s First-Time Homebuyer program. “Honestly, I thought the classes might be more rubber stamp. I didn’t expect the depth of information, and I didn’t expect it to be quite as helpful,” she says. “And I didn’t think it would be fun – I actually had a little fun!”
Demystifying the Homebuying Process
“It was a wonderful class. It helped me not to get discouraged, or give up the second I got confused,” she says. “Besides that, do not be daunted by your ignorance.” One adjective Tamny uses to describe her FTHB class experience is demystifying.
“I find paperwork so dreadful, and it could have kept me from doing this altogether,” she explains. The class, and the staff at SCC, helped Tamny take things one step at a time, and helped her to realize that “paperwork is scary and overwhelming, but it is also doable.” She says that the entire class felt as if it were aligned with realities of the market and the process.
As her closing date nears, Tamny is the first to acknowledge that some of her fortune had to do with her luck at finding an affordable unit on the market. However, she is also quick to give encouragement and advice to others beginning the homebuying process. “It is very hard, but it is not impossible.”