Thursday, January 27, 2011

Part II In Their Shoes- The Journey from Renter to Homeowner: Success Coaching and Classes- James

I sat down with James at the end of December for our second interview. (Click here for his first interview.Wave 28 is currently in their 4th month of classes. They have already gone through orientation, two classes with dynamic financial education coach, Mr. Harvey Reid, and a class on tax preparation with IRS representative Carolyn Jones, and EITC coordinator Tim Flavin.  The clients have now  had the opportunity to start meeting with their success coach, get to know fellow clients, and start their financial literacy classes.  I was really excited to meet with James, as the last time we spoke he was not too sure what to expect, but was ready for this new phase of his life, and his drive, determination, and faith was inspiring. With this sit down interview he spoke of the classes and meetings with his success coach, Bianca. 

So here you are with round two of “Part II In Their Shoes- The Journey from Renter to Homeowner: Success Coaching and Classes- James”.  –Andriana Bicanin

As you recall from the last blog posting with James, he enrolled in the New Century IDA program after years of personal struggles, and decided that he was ready to take the next step in life, and buy a home.  He wishes to create a home for himself where his friends and family can come to; he wants to create a home that is reminiscent of what he felt at his grandmothers. 

Last time, James said before he entered the program it had “been a long time since anyone truly cared for me to succeed.”  With this sit down those words were expressed through the continuous praises for the support, education, and self empowerment that the people at the New Century IDA are providing him. 

He explained to me how he understands that the people at ESR and his success coach, Bianca, are there for him if he hits a bump or needs help, but as he progresses with his classes and learns more about saving and money management, he has found that he has the inner resources and capabilities needed in order to succeed. He explains to me that his “need to cling” has dissipated with the education that comes pouring in.  By acting on what he has been taught, he is making positive life choices. 

An example he gave me was how he now cooks his lunch at home and brings it to work.  He also brings soda and water to work with him, and it saves him the cost of a vending machine by $45-$50.  Because of these choices, and his sessions with Bianca, he is done worrying about saving the required $75 a month for the program, because he has now found a way to save 135 extra dollars a month!  His debt is reduced so much that he isn’t going to have to use his tax refund to catch up on back bills, and has the choice of paying bills off completely, or put it towards his future home. Through the classes and meetings with Bianca, he has found great ideas for cost cutting and savings. He now sees the numbers, and sees the actual spending rather than what he *thinks* he is spending.  As he says, it is “Reinforcing the whole reconciliation of expenditures versus savings.”  He has learned how to cut out unnecessary items, and save on the little things.  He has learned from both Bianca and Harvey that it is not so much how they save, but how much is spent.  

Although this is a lot of information to take in, it is coming in a way that doesn’t feel like economics, or a class itself.  He enjoys that the information presented to them is done in an understandable way, makes sense, and isn’t overwhelming; but as he quips, “With people like Harvey Reid that’s not hard to do”. 

James is very happy with the knowledge he is gaining in the classes.   His one to one sessions with his success coach and small group setting has really encouraged growth and understanding.  The knowledge he has gained is directly related to Harvey, Bianca, and other economic literacy class presenters.  He has not had to make major life changes, he just reduces the amount of items he spend on, and has found ways to cut costs, budget, and save. He tells me that it is “Not about what I want, it’s about what I need.  It’s not necessarily more about what I need, but what I can get by with, and feeling positive about that, and accepting that I am reducing my monetary footprint. So that I have more available towards investing.”  He explains, “Why pay all this extra to other people when I can be saving my own earnings?”

The group sessions have helped him become more excited and determined towards saving and buying his home.  There are three clients, and their success coach Bianca, who sit down and are able to feed off each other, give ideas, and support. It also helps that the success coaches and everyone in the program have been in the same position, if not similar, as he has.  They all have the commonality of knowing that each individual is coming into the program from a difficult situation, and through this shared background the teachers are empowering the students to rise above their current situations and take hold of their life. He doesn’t feel like this is a regular school setting, where a “college professor is saying do this, this, this.”

In closing, James passionately and emotionally reiterated, “Don’t give up. The only reason you wont succeed in this program is if you let yourself say no.  You can and will.  You are not just buying a home; this is another investment for you and your family.”

Monday, January 3, 2011

Spotlight Sponsor of the Month: Lisa Wright

A few weeks ago I conducted this interview with Lisa Wright of Fairway Independent Mortgage, in Winston Salem.  It was absolutely wonderful having the ability to talk to her and hear her story as to why she is a part of the New Century IDA program, and her experiences.  She has been working with the New Century IDA for the past eight years.  Others at Fairway who work with the New Century IDA are Ruth Hudspeth and Denise Maroldy.  -Andriana Bicanin

Lisa Wright is a senior loan officer with Fairway Independent Mortgage in Winston Salem.  At Fairway they hold a strong commitment to first time homebuyers, the community, and this program; combined, Lisa, branch manager Ruth Hudspeth, and senior loan officer Denise Maroldy hold over 20 years experience working with first time homeowners.

Lisa especially enjoys working with New Century IDA participants because of the education they receive.  The IDA clients are always ready, prepared, and energetic when they come into her office.  “We think the education that they get is fantastic.  Especially what they learn about budgeting, and managing their money, and preparing for homeownership.”

Lisa sees this is a “two-fold” program. It is something they strongly believe in, it benefits the community, and it is also a great way to bring in business.  Participation in this program allows them to develop relationships with clients, other realtors, and builders.

Her most memorable experience comes from a woman she met in the spring of 2009.  She met this woman at an IDA hosted event for realtors and lenders to meet potential clients.  At this event Lisa met a single, working mother, who was on Section 8.  She turned out to be an extreme saver, and through the course of the IDA classes was able to not only save $2000 in her IDA, she also saved a couple extra thousand in her regular checking account.  The more Lisa was able to talk to this woman and get to know her, the more she learned of her commitment to her daughter and how everything she did was for her daughter.  This woman ran into bumps along her path to homeownership, such as needing to pay for braces for her daughter, but unwavering she got the braces for her daughter and continued to save for her home.

Experiences like these, and meeting clients who are success driven and ready to repair their credit and turn their lives around, drives her to work on this program.  This type of job is getting harder, there are more hours, and these are the types of loans that give the greatest gratification.  They get to see how hard these clients work for it, and because they are educated on the process the low foreclosure rate is “amazing.”

As Lisa said, “Just because someone is low income, doesn’t mean they’re not a good qualified borrower.  Or just because someone has credit problems in the past, doesn’t mean that they can’t be cleaned up, fixed, established new credit, and demonstrate they can manage good credit.  People can get past anything and become a homeowner.”


Lisa Wright:
Ruth Hudspeth:
Denise Maroldy: