Jean and his wife began their homebuying journey in the summer of 2021 with the hopes of buying a multifamily home. They completed a MassHousing-approved homebuyer education course and a course for landlords and were pre-approved for a mortgage by Christine Fiske at HarborOne Bank.
Renting in Lowell, the couple spent the next year looking at properties and going to open houses, only to have multiple offers declined in a competitive real estate market.
But with the help of real estate agent Daniel Lauture, an Associate Broker at Coldwell Banker Realty, and encouragement from Christine, who continued to work with the couple amid the rising interest rates and the competitive market, they found out about the MassDREAMS grant program through MassHousing.
"The MassDREAMS grant enabled Jean more funds and additional opportunity to compete in today's market," said Christine. "Without the grant this home purchase would not have been feasible. I could not be prouder to be a MassHousing top lender and provide these opportunities to my borrowers."
MassDREAMS grants helped more than 1,100 hundred eligible Massachusetts residents purchase a first home by providing them with up to $50,000 in homebuying supports, including down payment assistance, prepaid mortgage insurance, prepaid closing costs, and interest rate reductions.
"We were hopeful that we could continue our search to purchase our first home," said Jean. "We resumed our search and toured a two-family home in Fitchburg. That same day, our offer was accepted, and the closing process began. The MassDREAMS grant provided us with the opportunity to place more money towards our down payment, help lower our interest rate and covered some of our closing costs. This helped us tremendously as we were able to reserve some of our own money to put towards the maintenance and other cosmetic repairs we wanted to do.
"We purchased this home during a seller's market and the rise of inflation made it more difficult for buyers like me to purchase a home," Jean added. "MassDREAMS alleviated that burden by giving us a competitive edge and easing the financial burden through the process."
"Jean and his family were an absolute pleasure to work with," said Christine. "We spent many months and hours working together to find a home. Even a pandemic couldn’t stop us. We never gave up and they found their home. They not only are now homeowners, but they are investing in their future by purchasing a multifamily dwelling. They will forever be building equity and planning for the future through homeownership."
Daniel said Jean and his wife knew what they wanted and stuck to their plan.
"When we got started, they knew exactly what they were looking for, so it made the process easy even though the market was tough for buyers," said Daniel. "As soon as I showed them their property, they did not hesitate, and we put together a winning offer. He was able to buy without putting up much out of pocket money for the down payment and closing costs and used those savings on cosmetic repairs. None of this would have been possible without the MassDREAMS grant, which has helped many other first-time homebuyers in a competitive market start their journey of homeownership and get a slice of the American Dream. I'm so glad I got to help Jean's family and others like him, who are able to start building generational wealth by investing in single and multifamily homes. I hope that the MassDREAMS grant program gets funded again in order to help many first-time homebuyers."
Christine credited Jean and his wife with sticking to their goal of owning a home despite several setbacks.
"No matter how many late nights, weekends and vacations were spent via Zoom the end goal is what it is all about." she said. "To be part of this journey is why I do what I do. I couldn’t be happier for Jean and his family. Hard works pays off."
Jean said he would not have been able to purchase their two-family home without the help of Daniel and Christine. They bought in Fitchburg because it was a community they could afford and found a home they really enjoy.
"We wanted a two-family and were looking in some markets and seeing what we could afford," said Jean. "We looked at places like Fitchburg in our price range and found this house in a nice neighborhood."
Jean said it was emotional when he and his wife and three children moved into their new home.
"It was really just joyful and happy, and we didn’t quite believe it was ours," he said. "We were thanking God for helping us through this process. Christine was amazing and she was always available, as was our realtor, Daniel. We had a place we could call home and we can build a life here."
Without the MassDREAMS grant, Jean said they would not have been able to finalize a purchase.
"It was really a game changer," he said. "It helped a lot of people, who are working hard and needed a little help (to become a homeowner). The timing of it was perfect for us and it helped a whole lot.
"Thank you MassDREAMS Team, for making it possible for my family to purchase our first home," added Jean.
Having successfully completed the homebuying process, Jean said he is hoping to be an example for others, including families who will rent the second unit in his two-family home, to become homeowners.
"I would say continue the process," he advised. "It can be discouraging but have a goal in mind and keep going on it. We have a two-family and now can rent to others who maybe will be planning for their future and maybe will become homeowners like us."