A Roundabout Way Back to Homeownership

Unforeseen financial hardships can happen to anyone, and sometimes can force families into difficult situations.  Kevin and Gina Taylor had lived in their home in Magna for 18 years, since it was built.  They had raised their four children there and built rock gardens in the front yard out of stones collected on family vacations over the years.  Then, ten years ago, Gina fell ill and was unable to work and the Taylor family could no longer afford their house payment.  They sold their home in a short sale to a buyer who then allowed them to rent the house from him.  This allowed them to remain in their house, but no longer building equity as homeowners.  They continued to live there as renters for ten more years, until unexpectedly in October 2013, their landlord gave them three weeks’ notice to vacate, as he intended to sell the house.  Kevin and Gina wanted to buy their house back, but were turned down by multiple mortgage companies, as they hadn’t had time to set money aside for a down payment.  The Taylors were devastated to have to move away from the house their family had lived in for 28 years.  They quickly moved their belongings into storage and moved into a motor home parked in Kevin’s brothers’ driveway while they figured out what to do next.  “It was killing us to think we’d have to try to start over again,” Kevin said.  “All of the kids’ memories are here.  We’ve done all the landscaping and the rose bushes in the yard were originally my mothers’.”  Eventually, they were referred to CDCU by a mortgage lender.

The Taylors contacted CDCU and began the application process for down payment assistance.  The family faced a number of hurdles to get back into their home, and the entire family pitched in.  Their 19 year-old son, Joey, found employment to help the family qualify for the loan, and Kevin’s brother cosigned.  CDCU and the Taylor’s mortgage lender continued working hard to help the family qualify as the Taylor’s focus shifted to an unexpected health crisis.  The family was able to move back into their home in January and was overjoyed to have found their way back to homeownership in the house they’ve loved for so many years.  The house appraised higher than the home purchase price, so the Taylors were happy to find they had immediate equity in their home.  Also a number of improvements had been made, including new carpet and paint, since they had briefly moved out.  Gina said, “It was like getting into a brand new home with everything upgraded, but it’s our house.”

Down payment assistance loans have helped many families like the Taylors to make homeownership a reality.  The loans are available in several municipalities in Salt Lake County, including Midvale.  Federal CDBG funds are designated specifically for families seeking to purchase a home in Midvale.  Additionally, each down payment assistance loan made possible by CDBG funds is leveraged with an additional $1,000 in funding from GE Capital Retail Bank.  Down payment assistance loans are available to low- and moderate-income families to help cover the costs of down payment assistance and closing, which can be significant barriers to homeownership for those who may struggle to save for these high up-front costs.  The loans are deferred and are either repaid upon the owners’ refinancing or selling of the home or are forgiven after 15 years of owning the home.  Down payment assistance loans contribute significantly to helping families in Midvale and other communities achieve self-sufficiency, engage in their neighborhoods, and build stronger, more stable communities.  Describing his family’s experience with down payment assistance, Kevin Taylor said, “We wouldn’t have been in the home if wasn’t for this.”