Flexible loan makes home affordable
When her parents were ready to move from Franconia to be closer to their children, Jenn McLachlin looked for a home large enough for them to share with her and her daughter, Ashley.
Jenn wanted her parents, in their 70s and 80s, to be near Concord Hospital, where she works as a billing specialist. She also wanted to stay in the school district.
The three-bedroom, 1½-bath duplex they rented was ok until their rent climbed to nearly $1,800, with no utilities included. With her parents on fixed incomes, it was hard to keep up despite Jenn’s full-time job. Even the togetherness became stressful. With one small living area, Jenn and her daughter often retreated to their separate bedrooms for privacy or to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Jenn knew from friends about the affordability of manufactured homes and about the Community Loan Fund’s Welcome Home Loans that help families like hers. When she applied, we referred her to the Home Team’s advisors and homebuyer classes to repair her credit.
She spent four years cleaning up the results of “credit cards I shouldn’t have had and bills I didn’t pay,” and learning about spending and credit. Along with paying off her debts, Jenn refinanced her car to a lower payment, and got a credit card just to buy gas and rebuild her score.
She qualified for a loan last fall. The family’s household income qualified them for special assistance with the down payment and closing costs and a $2,000 tax credit offered in partnership with NH Housing.
The family moved into a brand-new doublewide home in Catamount Hill Cooperative in Allenstown just before Thanksgiving. The model Jenn chose is perfect for her family, with bedrooms, a bathroom, and a living room on each end and a common kitchen and dining area in the center. It’s all on one floor, so her parents don’t have to climb stairs. Everyone has privacy when they need it and meet in the middle for meals and family time.
And they’re paying $200 a month less for housing than when they rented.
“I love it. I know what I’m going to pay every month, and know I can afford it, so I don’t have that stress,” says Jenn. “It’s all been such a good experience and it’s made me feel so much better and confident and, finally, happy.”
This article was first published in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s 2020 annual report.