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Making a home in the city: Lending partnership makes it possible

Tiffany and Jelani Ellis outside their home in Rosedale Park

Like many prospective homebuyers seeking to live in Detroit, Alex Derdelakos had difficulty obtaining financing after the home was appraised much lower than the agreed-upon purchase price.

Tiffany and Jelani Ellis outside their home in Rosedale Park

Tiffany and Jelani Ellis outside their home in Rosedale Park

Alex, 32, is an architect. He has excellent credit and was working with a bank he had known for years to secure a mortgage. He and his fiancé Susan found the home they wanted in Rosedale Park.

“Susan and I wanted to be in the city in a stable neighborhood that’s also not too far from both our parents in Livonia,” Alex said. “Rosedale Park is a perfect fit.”

After his bank was reluctant to offer a mortgage, Alex asked Tom Goddeeris, executive director at Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp (GRDC), for advice. Tom suggested that Alex contact Michigan Lending Solutions. GRDC is one of five community development agencies participating in the Michigan Lending Solutions collaborative. Southwest Solutions is the lead partner and principal stakeholder.

Michigan Lending Solutions was created to help aspiring homebuyers overcome challenges they may face in the housing market, including financing problems and issues that may detract from the qualifications needed to acquire a mortgage.

Michigan Lending offers competitive loan rates and is an expert in packaging available incentive programs that provide down payment assistance to homebuyers moving into certain Detroit neighborhoods. In the last six months, Michigan Lending has closed on 20 loans. Ten others are currently being processed.

Alex worked with David LeClerc and Rosemarie Di Rita at Michigan Lending. David manages Michigan Lending, and Rosemarie is a loan officer who works closely with GRDC.

“I must say that it was like a dream working with David and Rosemarie,” Alex said. “As a first-time homebuyer, the process can be confusing, but they explained everything and made me feel comfortable every step of the way.”

Undoubtedly, Alex got a great deal on the home. It is a three-bedroom, brick colonial in excellent shape, on a large lot. The purchase price was $66,500. The home qualified for a combined $23,500 in down payment incentives from programs offered by the Detroit Development Fund, Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), and Citizens Bank. Alex took out a 15-year mortgage with an interest rate of only 3%.

“We intend to be in this home for a long time,” Alex said. “The neighborhood has a true community aspect, and we want to start a family here. This city has the potential to be better than ever and we will do everything we can to see that it happens.”

Tiffany and Jelani Ellis also recently moved into a home in Rosedale Park after securing a mortgage through Michigan Lending Solutions. Tiffany is employed in video production and her husband Jelani works for Chrysler.

“We had been looking for home for almost two years, but we couldn’t find one that we liked and was affordable for us,” Tiffany, 23, said. “We looked all over the Detroit area, but we were partial to Rosedale Park because we love the neighborhood and Jelani’s mom lives here, too.”

Ellis home in Rosedale Park

Ellis home in Rosedale Park

The home that Tiffany and Jelani bought is a spacious four-bedroom, brick Tudor in move-in-ready condition. The purchase price was $43,800; and the home qualified for $19,600 in down payment assistance incentives. The couple took out a 30-year mortgage with an interest rate of 3.7%.

“We are going to try to pay off our mortgage in about four years by putting extra money toward the principal every month,” said Tiffany. “We could not be happier about our home and our neighbors, and we feel that this will be a great place to raise our children. There are a lot of good things happening in the city, and we excited to be a part of it.”

Anthony Leo, 24, also was determined to live in city, close to where he works at Wayne State University. Through Michigan Lending and loan officer Daniel Alvarado, Anthony bought a loft on Canfield in Midtown. It was priced at $150,00 (including parking), and Anthony benefited from down Live Midtown payment assistance incentives amounting to about $20,000.

“The price, incentives and historically low interest rates make this a great deal,” Anthony said. “I consider this to be an investment in my future and my city.”

Anthony believes that the already impressive development in Midtown and Downtown will accelerate when the light rail along Woodward is built, and feels his investment is bound to appreciate.

“Detroit is such an accessible place with ample opportunities for adventure,” said Anthony. “Even though I tend to get restless, I also feel settled here, and it’s because of the people you meet and get to know.”

To learn more about Michigan Lending Solutions, visit its website or contact Dave LeClerc at 313-297-1305 or

Michigan Lending operates statewide and is comprised of five partner agencies:

Michigan Lending’s services are available to prospective home buyers seeking to purchase anywhere in Michigan.

Tiffany and Jelani Ellis outside their home in Rosedale Park

Tiffany and Jelani Ellis outside their home in Rosedale Park

Note: Steve Palackdharry is director of communications at Southwest Solutions

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7 comments on “Making a home in the city: Lending partnership makes it possible

  1. It's great to see such young people investing in Detroit's future. Congrats to all of you, and welcome to the neighborhood :)

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