Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation

Working together, building community

For many immigrants, purchasing their first home is the truest fulfillment of the ‘American Dream’, but achieving it does not come without its difficulties, and especially without help. Determine to purchase her first home, Aracelis sought out all resources available to her, and made her first stop in her homebuying journey at Compra de Vivienda 101, Allston Brighton CDC’s first-time homebuyer class in Spanish. Filled with many doubts and questions, she took the class in December 2022, seeking step-by-step guidance on how to start the process of becoming a homeowner. Looking back on that time, she states “…In you starting the process [you find yourself] with different types of problems or doubts. In finding yourself with [those problems or doubts], who better than the people who have knowledge in [buying your first home] to help guide you.”

The process of buying your first home can be daunting. With high-interest rates and high home values, misinformation and half-truths can often dissuade people from even starting the process. Like many Latinos, Aracelis was not aware of the opportunities available to first-time homebuyers. She says, “There are many, many [resources]. What happens is that maybe we go to the wrong places [for help] or hear rumors. But there are possibilities for us as Latinos to be able to acquire our first home.” Latinos have historically been susceptible to predatory lending schemes, leaving some in the community filled with fear and suspicions regarding their chances to succeed in the market. For those with doubts or fear, Aracelis says the best thing to do is to ask for help: “For us Latinos we are sometimes told stories and we stick to those stories and do not look further. People get scared because their credit is not very high, they don’t have too much money in the bank – there are many factors that make us scared.” After taking Compra de Vivienda 101, Aracelis sought housing counseling ABCDC with hopes to purchase a single-family home within six to seven months. From January 2023 to August 2023, she worked closely with Evelyn Otero, a former ABCDC HUD-certified counselor, to create an Action Plan tailored to her unique journey. This ultimately led her to purchase her first home within her timeline.

With a closing date scheduled for August 31, 2023, Aracelis was finally within reach of being a homeowner, but the process did not come without its challenges. Previously, she had submitted four offers that were rejected before one got accepted on a single-family home in Brockton. In the middle of her search, she changed real estate agents, finding more success, comfort, and trust in Vanessa Sanchez of Keller Williams Chestnut Hill. Aracelis and her husband felt that Vanessa was more understanding of their lower budget and patient with all their questions. Seeking a team of homebuying professionals with experience in working with first-time homebuyers is critical to homeownership success. Many professionals are qualified, but not many have the specific experience of working with individuals where everything feels new, foreign, or confusing.

No one step in the process is more important than the other and taking a first-time homebuyer class lays the foundation to becoming an educated buyer. With her experience in both the class and counseling, Aracelis says, “[Counseling] is very, very important. The counseling must go hand in hand with the classes, definitely, yes. You want to reach the summit to see the process be successful – the counseling must go hand in hand with the class. That is what helped us.” Although the current housing market has many worried about their chances of being successful, it is not impossible. Regardless of language barrier of immigration status, there are extensive resources available for those seeking to purchase their first home in the United States. Though it may come with its own trials or rejections, nothing is set in stone. Like Aracelis reminded herself throughout the process, “I am going to go – I am going to get it done.”

©Allston Brighton CDC | 18R Shepard Street, Suite 100 | Brighton, MA 02135 | p: 617.787.3874 | f: 617.787.0425 | TTY: 711