By Steve Palackdharry
After renting an apartment for two years, Ashley Johnson knew that she wanted to be a homeowner, preferably in Detroit, where she works for the Girl Scouts.
Ashley prequalified for a mortgage with Talmer Bank last summer and then began a diligent search for the right home, within her price range, in a good and convenient neighborhood. Near the beginning of the year, she came across a new listing online that met all her criteria, and she immediately and excitedly contacted the real-estate broker, Vertitable Group.
Veritable was started by Southwest Solutions, and it represents the REO houses that Southwest Solutions has acquired and renovated and then offers for sale to strengthen neighborhoods, as well as retail space that Southwest Solutions offers for lease. One of those REO homes is what drew Ashley’s keen interest.
The home in northwest Detroit was listed for $69,000. Ashley took a close look and was impressed by the quality of the renovation work and the numerous amenities. Part of the acquisition and renovation cost for the house was covered through a $5,000 grant that Southwest Solutions received from the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan.
Ashley furthered researched the neighborhood, and then offered $75,000 for home.
“I offered more than the asking price because I already knew that the home would appraise for this value and I wanted to make sure I was the high bidder,” Ashley says.
Ashley also understood that she could defray a significant part of the purchase price through Detroit HomeLIFT. This program provides eligible homebuyers with $15,000 toward down payment and closing costs on qualified homes. HomeLIFT is sponsored by Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks® America, and the Detroit program is administered by Southwest Solutions. It is available for eligible homebuyers looking to purchase in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Livonia or Dearborn. Ashley worked with Southwest Lending Solutions and Southwest Economic Solutions to secure the HomeLIFT funds.
“It was a smooth process for me to acquire the home and HomeLIFT assistance, which made the home an even better bargain,” says Ashley, who moved into the home in February.
Detroit HomeLIFT funds are still available. Visit its website to learn more. HomeLIFT down payment assistance can be combined with the new Detroit Home Mortgage program, which provides a second mortgage up to $75,000 to make up the difference between appraised value and the purchase price, including the cost of renovations.
It is certainly an auspicious time for prospective homebuyers in Detroit.