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Turning Impossible into Possible with Habitat

Blake MacKenzie
Posted by Blake MacKenzie on 10:00 AM on January 7, 2020

“I didn’t think it was a possibility—owning a home felt so far out of reach.”

Ikram had spent years moving from apartment to apartment, mostly in South Minneapolis and Bloomington. Whenever rent, parking prices, or other housing costs would spike up, she’d move in search of a better deal. But the moving grew tiring.

“I was thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be living in apartments anymore,” Ikram laughs. So when she thought about homeownership, she figured it would be about a 5-10 year goal. She had called some realtors, but never actually went out to look at homes. The process felt overwhelming.

But then a friend told Ikram about how her grandma had gone through Habitat and it was a great experience. She invited Ikram over to her grandma’s house.

“I was at her grandma’s house, and I was like ‘Wow, how did she afford this?’ Literally the next day I applied for Habitat.”

It was late 2018 when she applied. Right away, she started working with Homeownership Advisor Michael Hermanson to become financially ready to buy a home with Habitat.

“Michael was great to work with,” Ikram remembers. “I had a lot of questions and he was patient in answering all my questions. I learned a lot.”

She appreciated the Habitat homeownership classes—especially the one about home security. It made her feel more comfortable in being able to make sure her home would be safe.

And she was pleasantly surprised by Habitat’s Maintenance Fund. It works like this: a certain percent of each month’s home payment (the total monthly payment is kept at or less than 30% of your income) goes into the Maintenance Fund. You can draw on that fund for a wide variety of home maintenance needs. Ikram has already used a bit of her maintenance fund when she needed to call a plumber.

In any homeownership journey, there might be times when it feels a little overwhelming. The nice thing about partnering with Habitat is that someone is walking through that journey with you.

“There were three times I thought about backing out,” Ikram says, “and Michael convinced me to stay in the program. He just kept reminding why I started this journey in the first place. Where would I have been today had I backed out?”

“During my time working with Ikram, I came to know a determined and focused individual," Michael shares. "Ikram’s path to homeownership was not without obstacles, however her unwavering determination for homeownership helped propel her on to achieving her dream. I congratulate Ikram on her achievement and my heart swells knowing that Ikram and her family have a safe and affordable home to call their own and continue to build the life of their dreams.”

When Ikram made it through the program – it took her about five months – she was so glad she stuck it out.

“I was so overwhelmed with joy and happiness. I’m so proud of myself. I’m proud of everyone in my family who helped with the service hours. Until this day, that feeling hasn’t gone away. It’s just so weird, knowing that I’m a homeowner!”

After so many years of renting, she was excited to make the home her own. One of the first things she did was have friends over to paint the rooms in the colors she wanted. She loved decorating and picking out new furniture—putting her personal touch on the place. One day she wants to finish the basement and also create a home gym for her son as he grows up. Right now he’s two years old and loves the backyard.

Ikram’s currently working and in school to become a Registered Nurse, and her stable, affordable Habitat home will help her complete her goals.

She encourages everyone to consider buying with Habitat—especially because the knowledgeable Habitat staff will walk alongside you throughout the entire process.

Learn how to buy with Habitat

Tags: Family Spotlight, Homeownership Program, 2020

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