Teacher Felt Time Was Right to Go From Renter to Homeowner

AJ loves the outdoors. As a youth, he was inspired by a science teacher, and when he attended the University of New Mexico, he decided to make teaching environmental sciences his career. Since then he has spent countless hours with his students at Harrison Middle School exploring the Bosque nature area that is conveniently located adjacent to the school. “We take weekly field trips where the kids can see firsthand the plants and animals that are a part of the ecosystem and how they all interact,” he said.

His students collect samples and analyze data, learn about the effects of industrial pollution, measure water table levels, and keep records. “Everybody feels great about it,” he added enthusiastically. “Being able to spend time with students in a natural environment has been a game changer for me as an educator.”

After ten years of teaching and still feeling passionate about his work, AJ decided it was time to stop renting and purchase a home. “I began to see myself being here long-term and I wanted to feel more grounded. In addition, investing in a home felt like I would be contributing to the overall health of the community.”

At Homewise, AJ took classes to educate himself about the home buying process. He then met with Elena, his Homewise Realtor®, who he says was “fantastic to work with! I can’t say enough good things about her. She was a tremendous help to me.” After looking at a few homes, AJ fell in love with a one-of-a-kind adobe built in the 1940s with unique curved walls and cozy spaces. “The style, the location, the park across the street—it all felt right for me, just my speed.”

AJ then worked with Anna, his mortgage loan officer, who was able to put together a loan package that included down payment assistance. “Anna’s knowledge and skills truly helped bring AJ to the closing table,” remarked Elena.

Because there were other offers being made on the home, AJ decided to write a letter to the seller, which he felt made a big difference. “The house used to be a rental,” he explained, “and there were a lot of people who were interested in buying the home as an investment property.” AJ let the owner know that he was planning to make it his home, and was thrilled when his offer was accepted.

Although AJ has only been in his home for a short time, it already has a comfortable, homey vibe. There are lots of beautiful green plants lining the wall where two windows provide plenty of natural light. There are also multiple guitars and music-related accouterments that speak to AJ’s other passion. In addition to teaching, he is a musician and songwriter who performs both locally and in other venues outside of New Mexico. He recently did three shows in Dallas, Austin and Houston, and will be making his first vinyl record this summer featuring an eclectic mix of folk, country and a bit of rock. “I want to eventually host house concerts,” AJ shared, “and do live performances here in my home.”

AJ is enjoying the autonomy that homeownership provides. “It’s nice to make improvements without having to ask the landlord for permission.” A few of the first things he did was to pull out some moldy carpeting and create a pet door for his companion and confidant, Posey. He also plans to replace an old, non-working fireplace with a wood burning stove.

“My favorite thing about my house, though,” AJ said, “is having a big park right across the street.” Roosevelt Park is where he and Posey spend a lot of time walking and relaxing in the shade of its many large trees. “The park has a great history too,” he noted. “It was built in the 1930s as a result of WPA money that provided work for local residents. It was also the site of Vietnam war protests.” Currently, AJ says it is the most popular place for Frisbee golf in the Southwest. “I may just have to learn to play!”

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