Like thousands of Massachusetts residents, Sandra – who works as a clinical social worker at a dialysis center -- and her husband dreamed of owning their own home. Having rented an apartment in Canton for many years, they decided in 2016 to move in with Sandra’s parents to save more money for a down payment on a house.
Their home-owning dream seemed to come to an abrupt halt when Sandra’s husband was diagnosed with an illness that prevented him from working.
But Sandra was determined to pursue home ownership.
She enrolled in a first-time homebuyer course through NeighborWorks. Then, she contacted HarborOne Mortgage to learn about home mortgage loans. At HarborOne she was introduced to Christine Fiske, a loan officer who has helped many first-time buyers. Christine recommended a MassHousing loan for Sandra, as it came with generous down payment assistance, job-loss protection and other benefits not found with other loans. Sandra was able to realize the dream, earlier than she thought. She bought a house in Brockton and closed on the transaction in October of 2020.
Sandra's monthly mortgage payment is the same as her rent payment was for the Canton apartment. But now, she is building personal wealth every time she makes a payment and her ownership stake in the house grows.
"If I didn’t have the down payment assistance from MassHousing I would have needed to wait at least another two years to buy a home," said Sandra. "We were grateful for the opportunity to use MassHousing financing."
When asked about MassHousing’s unique mortgage insurance, which provides job loss protection for homeowners, she said "I think it’s a great thing that they offer. You just don’t know what will happen, an illness or injury, something like what happened to us."
Would she recommend MassHousing to friends and family? "Yes, I would," Sandra said. "MassHousing has given us an opportunity to buy a home. Your dream doesn't have to be five years from now, it can be sooner, it could be a year from now."
Her team helped her along the way. "Rocco Leone at MassHousing helped guide me through the process. I felt comfortable calling and asking questions. It was such an easy process. And of course, Christine Fiske at at HarborOne was incredibly helpful. She communicated with me and with MassHousing throughout," Sandra said.
Sandra's advice to future homebuyers? “At first, I didn't feel confident. But after talking to the pros - a lawyer, the bank's loan officer, MassHousing - they made me feel comfortable and I believed this was possible. You can do this if you have your finances and paperwork in order. You don't need perfect credit. I had a bankruptcy in my past, but it didn’t stop me. Anything is possible."