A Home of Firsts for a New Family
When Brooke and Nick were expecting their first child in winter 2020, they decided it was the right time to buy a home. They wanted the opportunity to put down roots in a home with room to grow. We helped them reach their goal, just two weeks after the birth of their daughter, with homebuyer education, counseling, and down-payment assistance.
The couple had been renting a house for more than 8 years in the South Hills. Brooke noted they could have purchased that home two times over with the amount they had spent on rent. Long term, the cost savings and stability of homeownership just made sense.
Brooke and Nick also wanted amenities like a driveway, to ensure they had a consistent place to park at night, as well as the ability to make their own improvements. “We can fix or update things in the home and not have to worry about getting an approval,” Brooke said.
At first, the process of buying a home seemed daunting. Brooke was surprised at just how many steps it involved. She had lists on top of lists to organize the daily to-dos on their home purchase journey. Fortunately, the couple did not have to tackle the process alone. Our homeownership counselors guided them along the way.
“They are great!” said Brooke, who described her counselors as wonderful people “cheering you on for homeownership.” While it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the ins and outs of a home purchase, Brooke noted that everyone from the NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania team “was informative and detailed about the process.”
When asked if she has advice for other homebuyers, Brooke suggested they “save every penny.” Buying a house involves more than just the actual purchase. “You have to have money for all the other costs related to moving in and getting yourself resituated in a new home,” she said. You need to “anticipate the small things you don’t think about,” she added.
Brooke also encouraged first-time homebuyers to explore assistance programs to help with such things as a down payment. Don’t assume you’re not eligible, she advised. Brooke never thought her family could qualify for down-payment assistance, but they did. Gaining assistance on the big stuff, she explained, can free up your finances for smaller unplanned costs. Being able to save for a rainy-day fund to use for inevitable expenses, such as appliance repairs or fresh paint supplies, was crucial for them.
Today, the family lives in a friendly new neighborhood in Bethel Park with a school and park within walking distance of their home. “Everyone in our community looks out for one another,” Brooke noted, making it a perfect location for new parents. When asked what her greatest moment of joy has been in their new home, Brooke said, “probably all of our daughter's firsts, like smiling, rolling over, crawling, and walking!”
NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania helped make buying their first home possible by turning what can feel like an overwhelming process into one that’s more manageable.