Allston Brighton CDC was a game changer for me. As an apartment renter for 20 plus years, I nervously tiptoed toward the hope to purchase a space of my own. I went the traditional route and asked questions/advice of friends or family who had purchased in the past, but their feedback was not nearly enough. As a single person, with a modest income, I felt somewhat out of the running to be a homeowner. I first learned about the homebuying classes from a colleague who had gone through the class and won a lottery on a condo. Inspired by her ability to purchase a condo in Brighton, I took the homebuying class in June of 2016.
Homebuying 101 provided a wealth of information from budgeting, to debt reduction, to credit worthiness, to understanding all the players and steps needed in a real estate search. The teacher of our class was encouraging, informed and seemed truly invested in our understanding of the content. After the class, I had a binder bursting with notes and vital resources, and the knowledge was empowering. That said, I still had very little confidence I could purchase a home of my own.
During the class, we were introduced to various members of a “homebuying team.” I felt particularly drawn to a housing counselor, Mark Sullivan. I can safely say, I would not have the home I have today without Mark’s tutelage, mentorship, and generosity of time and spirit. My first meeting with Mark was in July of 2016. He had sent along paperwork for me to prepare prior to our session; mostly a recap of my financial standing. Suffice it to say, my finances were the area I had the most insecurity. Throughout the first meeting, I waited for Mark to take a deep breath and say, “I’m sorry but I don’t think homeownership is an option for you.” I was nervous, embarrassed and apologetic as we went over my income and debt and minimal savings. Mark was the opposite; he was steady, clear, and optimistic, and completely confident that all I needed was a plan and a path.
From that day forward, Mark helped to combat my insecurity with worksheets, positivity, and the next action step I needed to take. We went over each step in the process but focused heavily on my finances and my credit score, the foundation of it all. It took me a solid year to clean things up, save some money, and have a clear understanding of what I could afford and legitimately begin my home search. Through conversation and worksheets, goals and numbers, Mark helped build my confidence. Slowly but surely, I started to believe in the possibility of homeownership. He didn’t do the work for me but guided me along the way; he answered every question I had, with patience and clarity.
I hold immense gratitude for the steadfast guidance of my real estate team. It took me 18 months from my first class with ABCDC to the closing on my home in December 2017. Not to overdramatize my experience, but I felt like a different person by the end of that journey. It was 18 months of focused, consistent effort and counseling and positivity. It was a slow build of belief that I could do it, that helped to make it possible. By the end, I felt like I had climbed a mountain on my own steam but also with the grace and generosity from the people I met through ABCDC.