Employer Match Savings Program Helps Renters Become Homeowners

Erica and Carlos were content for many years renting a home from a family friend who gave them a good deal. They knew about Homewise and would talk about buying a home now and then, but never pursued it. During the COVID outbreak, they were both working at CHRISTUS St. Vincent and signed up for the hospital’s Savings Match program offered in partnership with Homewise. They met Ken, the Homewise Outreach Manager, who helped them get enrolled. “Ken was so informative and excited,” Erica recalled, “he really inspired us.”

Erica and Carlos began to think about buying a home again. They had 3 children and space at the rental home was tight; the oldest was 17 and was sharing a bedroom with his brother. Both parents had great, stable jobs and they knew it was time. “No more excuses,” Erica said they told each other. “Our family deserves a home of our own.”

Erica and Carlos realized that they did not know anything about what it meant to buy a home. “Mortgage is a big, scary word when you don’t know what’s behind it,” shared Erica. They were concerned that they couldn’t afford a home in Santa Fe and needed lots of reassurance that homeownership was possible. “We put a lot of faith in Homewise to educate us.” The couple took Homewise’s free Homebuyer Education class and learned exactly what to expect throughout the whole home purchase process. “Ken was able to explain everything so clearly,” said Erica. “We began to believe that owning a home was attainable for us.”

The couple worked with their Homewise Realtor®, Gloria, and quickly realized that it would be hard to find a home in their price range. They thought about looking for a home in Rio Rancho, but happily the downpayment assistance they received helped them overcome their biggest obstacle. “Without the assistance,” Erica noted, “we might not have had the courage to try to buy a home.”

After looking at 3 or 4 homes, they discovered Desert Sage, a new Homewise Homes® residential community being built on the south side of Santa Fe. The homes were at the top of their price range, but they knew the lots would go fast, so they made the decision that night to get their finances in order and reserve their space, using the money they had saved through the Savings Match program towards their downpayment.

Once they committed, they had a wonderful experience waiting for their home to be built. “Gloria was our ‘lifelink’ and was just as vested in this as we were,” Erica said with a smile. “She kept us in the loop on everything. She sent photos of the walls going up and the windows going in, reassuring us the whole time. Gloria really went above and beyond and made the whole process easy.”

In July of 2023, they moved into a beautiful, new 4-bedroom home with mountain views. The kids all love having their own rooms, and when their son turned 18 and moved out, they turned his room into an office. Erica and Carlos love being able to make decisions without having to first call the landlord, and find it comforting to not have to worry about the rent going up, or about having to move. “We are all enjoying having our own home!”

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