Colorado Woman Describes Her First Time Home Buying Experience

For one Colorado first time home buyer, purchasing a property for the first time was a challenge, but she persistently overcame all hurdles due to her desire to escape “unaffordable rent pricing.”

The Durango Herald has the story:

The golden principles associated with first-time home buying are basic ones: Set a realistic budget, run a credit report and save enough money to cover a down payment and then some. But signing the paperwork still can be daunting for many first-time buyers who may be wary of brokers and have some doubts about ending years of renting.

Kristin Hoff, a 40-year-old health insurance agent and single parent, moved into her first independently purchased home off U.S. Highway 550 North with her three girls this past spring.

Size, location, quality and opportunity to build equity contributed to her selecting her new north Durango townhouse and vacating her two-bedroom apartment on Florida Road where she paid $1,000 a month to live with her three kids. The purchase was prompted by a single factor, she said: “unaffordable rent pricing in Durango, Colorado.”

Hoff was “entirely uncertain” about the buying process but had two critical takeaways since she began searching for a house in spring 2014 – the first was that there are multiple housing organizations locally and in the state that can assist in home buying, and, secondly, that establishing or fixing your credit record is a lengthy process even when an outside organization is providing financial assistance.

“Some people think if they go through the Regional Housing Alliance, the process will be quicker, but it took me a year,” Hoff said. “You have to be dedicated.”

Another common trap that ensnares many buyers is failure to investigate the resale value of affordable dwellings. For example, there are dwellings such as mobile homes that federal agencies will not finance after the home reaches a particular age.

“If a low-income family could only afford a mobile home, depending on the particular mobile home, another low-income family could not get a loan to purchase it in the future after a certain amount of time,” Hoff said, adding that she was surprised to learn that fact. “That isn’t disclosed. You have to inquire about the future sale of anything you’re thinking of purchasing.”

Hoff leaned heavily on the RHA, which can move buyers into their new homes with less than a 3 percent down payment, when she began the home-buying process in 2014 by enlisting in the alliance’s Homebuyer Assistance Program. The program offers mortgage assistance on the stipulation of attending a free, eight-hour education class that covers what buyers need to know before and after to make an educated purchase.

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