Homeownership Security through Shared Equity
Steve and Rachel Smith knew there was plenty of work to do if they wanted to become homeowners. They lacked savings but were working to get their debt paid down. Homeownership seemed like something that was still far off in the distance, but they were committed to owning their own home one day.
“If you don’t own your own place, there’s never any real security. You’re always at the whim of your landlord,” said Steve.
That had always been the story living near Los Angeles where they bounced from one apartment to another. But in 2012, when Rachel was offered a job as a preschool teacher back home in Vermont, it felt like the right time to make the move. Their son was young and the thought of living near family and having a bit more space appealed to them.
Initially they moved in with Rachel’s parents in Shelburne. They anticipated that they would be there for the foreseeable future given the area’s tight housing market and to save for a down payment, but Rachel’s mom suggested they consider Champlain Housing Trust’s shared equity program.
“We thought that the open market was the only way,” said Rachel.
It was important to them to stay in Shelburne. They didn’t want to move their son into another new school district, and they wanted to be close to family. They found a great single-family home in town for sale through Champlain Housing Trust’s shared equity program that they knew would be perfect and worked with CHT staff to get their application completed.
“We felt like we were ahead of the game because we knew what we needed to do. It was just the help of the shared equity program that gave us the last bit of support,” said Steve.
The couple is still surprised how quickly CHT allowed them to become homeowners. Instead of years of saving for a down payment, they were able to move into their Shelburne home after just a few months after returning to Vermont.
“I love my mom, but being able to move out of her house so much sooner than anticipated was fantastic,” said Rachel.
As they near a decade of living in their shared equity home they feel completely content in their lives as homeowners. They’re able to plan out future home projects and feel good knowing they’re making an investment in their home.
“It inspires you to go from shared equity to sweat equity. You’re not paying that much in rent, so it makes you want to put that money back into your home.” said Steve.
They now recommend Champlain Housing Trust’s shared equity program to anyone who will listen. It was an alternative to renting that they had never considered.
“The help with the down payment was what we needed. In the end we started with a mortgage that was actually much less than what we had been paying for rent in California,” said Steve.