Homeownership Programs Equal Stepping Stones

By OHFA Communications

When Marcus  walked into the 2,000 square foot house with two spacious living rooms in east Moore, he knew he wanted to write his family’s next chapter there.

“The first thing that attracted me was the open space. This was like Disney World compared to the last house,” said Marcus.  “I loved my old home, but it was time to move on.”

Marcus and his wife Shaunt'e purchased their first house with the help of OHFA Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance in 2008.

After renting an apartment, purchasing the 1,154 square foot home in Del City offered the opportunity to invest in their family’s future.


“We knew it wasn’t going to be our forever home, but we knew it would be an opportunity for us to build towards that,” said Marcus. “Help with down payment offered the opportunity to bring our vision to life.”

With a mortgage payment of just $30 more than what the couple had been paying for rent, buying a house just made sense.

For the next 12 years, they wrote the first chapter in their family’s story. As their children Marcus, 14, and Mariah, 10, got older, the Reeves family needed more space.

The COVID-19 pandemic constantly placed all four family members and their dog Rocky in the house at one time. Space was tight.

Last fall, Marcus and Shaunt'e set a goal of selling their home and buying a house that better fit their needs.  They reviewed their finances and focused on purchasing a house that would still fit within their means.

Before placing the house on the market, Marcus worked for two months making upgrades to the house. He installed new flooring, added ceiling fans, painted walls, and made other updates so they could maximize its value.

The hard work paid off with a bidding war and an accepted offer of 15% above their asking price.

They used the sizeable escrow from the sale to pay down payment and closing costs on their new house. OHFA’s DREAM ZERO loan product offered a 2.25% interest rate, which will save them money over the life of the loan.

“Down payment assistance fueled not only a first home purchase for this family, it also set them up for success when purchasing their second home,” said Deborah Jenkins, OHFA executive director. “We are proud to provide opportunities for buyers statewide no matter where they are in their homeownership journey.”

Learning an OHFA product could once again make an impact came as a welcome surprise to the Reeves.

“OHFA helped us get our first home,” said Shaunt'e. “We wouldn’t have been able to buy that house without OHFA. When we moved into this home, OHFA helped us again by helping us get the lower interest rate.”

With two living areas, the new house offers plenty of room for friends and family to visit. On Friday evenings, they watch movies and play games in the movie room.

Not only has homeownership spurred stability and wealth building in their own household, it also inspired Shaunt'e’s mother, Deborah, to become a first-time homebuyer.

“I didn’t know if I could get a house at my age since I am retired,” said Deborah. “I see owning a home as an investment in myself.”

Shaunt'e guided her mother through each step of the homebuying process, including helping her navigate a smartphone and homebuyer education classes held via ZOOM.

“I told my mom you can still make your dreams come true. She always wanted to own a home. She decided she was going to go for it.”

Deborah purchased a home with a down payment assistance grant from the City of Midwest City, provided by OHFA’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

After renting a room in a house for several years, Deborah's grateful to finally have a place to call her own.

“I like the space in my house,” she said. “It has a lot of character.”

Shaunt'e admits that when she and Marcus purchased their first home, they knew very little about the process.

“We were just kids. We would have fallen for anything,” she said.

As the first in their family to purchase a house, homebuyer education and real estate classes proved to be an eye-opening experience.

“I’m coming in with knowledge,” said Shaunt'e. “I know the legalities of buying a house, that it’s against the law to be steered to a certain area based on the color of your skin.”

Marcus and Shaunt'e see owning a home as an example to their family members that anything is possible.

“Goals don’t come out of thin air,” said Marcus. “This is a pivotal moment to not only teach the kids about goal setting but to show them.”

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