It’s been a test of patience for Quinette on her journey to becoming a Habitat for Humanity homebuyer.
“I came in quick because I’m like ‘Okay, I got the cash, I can get my house, boom that’s it,” she remembered at her home dedication.
In 2012, she approached Habitat for Humanity with the intent of purchasing a home. She quickly realized it required more than just money. Just like a mortgage lender, Habitat looks at your whole financial situation, a willingness to partner and the ability to pay an affordable mortgage.
“I gave up, then came back, then gave up again, then came back. And they’re like, ‘We’re not giving up again.’”
Eleven years later, Quinette is celebrating the finished construction of her three-bedroom two-bathroom home in Lehigh Acres.
Pregnant with her second child while going through the Affordable Homeownership Program, she still found the determination to complete the program’s requirements. This included 300 sweat equity hours volunteering at ReStores, warehouse and on construction sites to build her home and the homes of other future Habitat homebuyers.
Program participants also learn about financial responsibility.
“The program is very worth it,” Quinette said. “You learn about credit, what to put on your credit [card] and what not to put on your credit [card].”
Habitat offers a housing counseling service where people can learn how to improve their financial situation to save money, reduce debt and increase their credit score. The service is completely free, and anyone in the community can benefit.
“We ask for all of the things that a lender would ask for. The reason why is because, in their first housing counseling appointment, we consider all of the factors to see where they’re at,” said Melody Lineberry, housing advisor with Habitat. Melody is one of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified housing counselors who supports prospective homebuyers in improving their finances. “If we can plan out for the next year to three years, if needed, cleaning all of that up, you’re going to be debt-free for yourself but then you’re also going to be that much closer to having a permanent place to live.”
It’s been 11 years since she first stepped through Habitat’s doors to inquire about partnering for a home with an affordable mortgage, and now Quinette has a stable place to live for her family.
“Don’t give up, have faith,” she shared. “Just pray and have patience, because you’re going to get through it.”