10.18.2022

Dreams to Reality: Homeownership


Navigating the housing world today is an undertaking. We’re here to help.

In this series, Dreams to Reality, we will hear from several Urban Edge clients who have experienced successes, whether that be in renting, buying, or affordably maintaining their homes. We’re so proud to have worked with these hardworking people, and we are thrilled to be part of the process of making their housing dreams a reality.

One of our services that we are most passionate about is providing families with the resources they need to purchase a home. As many of our clients will tell you, buying a home takes patience, resilience and determination. When the system is stacked against you, it’s hard to know where to start – and we’re here to make it a little easier.

This story comes from Frandys Martinez, a long time Boston resident and a first-time homeowner. 

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Frandys has lived in Boston since she was 12 years old. She is originally from the Dominican Republic, and when she moved to Boston, she lived with her stepmom. Her stepmom owned her own home, and that was where Frandy’s inspiration began.

As a young person, Frandys never had any financial guidance on credit: how to build it, why it is important, and how it relates to homeownership. “Once I turned 18, I used to go on shopping sprees! I was never educated on how to be financially ready. This made it almost impossible to own a home”.

Now, Frandys lives with her husband and children. “I had always wanted a home, but once I had children I knew it was time.” By the time Frandys was ready to get serious about purchasing a home, her credit was suffering. So, she took on the daunting task of giving herself a financial education. 

Frandys heard about Urban Edge through a friend. She took our First Time Homebuyer Class with Milagros Pascual twice. “Once I got to Urban Edge, it wasn’t so difficult. Milagros knows what she’s doing and you can tell. She gave us really good advice, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that.”

Frandys taught her husband everything she was learning about credit, debt, and homeownership. Together, they resolved to pay off their existing debt and save up money for their first home. To pay off her debt as quickly as possible, Frandys decided to take on a high monthly payment. “For a while, we lived a very limited life.”

Several times they succeeded in paying off their existing debt, but then needed to use their credit card for an expense. Debt completely paid off, new debt created, and the cycle continued. Keeping the debt paid down while keeping up with constant life expenses is a difficult cycle.

Milagros sat down with Frandys and her husband every six months to go over how much they had paid off, how much money they still owed, and how much they needed to save in order to purchase a home. 

At last, with little debt left, some money saved away, and some assistance from Urban Edge, Frandys and her husband were ready to buy a home. Urban Edge was able to provide financial assistance to Frandys through a “Last Mile” fund we are piloting this year. We established this pilot because we know that not everyone has a support network to pay unexpected last-minute expenses that could derail a home purchase. 

After 5 years of working for it, Frandys and her husband closed their mortgage on April 25th, 2022. 

“Everytime I wake up in this house, I still can’t believe it’s mine. I feel like I’m staying in an Airbnb!”

“My children love it. Once the pandemic started, all i could think was — if i only had a backyard, so my kids could play! I prayed about that. Since we moved, my kids are in the backyard for hours at a time, every day, in any weather. The feeling is amazing.”

To everyone with a dream of homeownership, Frandys says: “Don’t give up. Keep going, keep working hard, because it will happen – eventually, it will happen. There were so many times when I almost gave up, but I picked myself up because I remembered how much I wanted this. I wanted my own home.”

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