A lot of people keep journals. It’s a handy way to voice your dreams, celebrate your triumphs and work through the tribulations of everyday life. Few document the path to homeownership, however. Claudia Flores did. She started her journal in October 2014 and titled her first entry, “The Beginning.” In it, she introduces herself, husband Eddy and young daughter, Katherine. She expresses gratitude for their parents who brought them from Mexico to the United States when they were very young because they “wanted a better life for their children,” and writes, “We also want what is best for our daughter.”
While everyone wants their children to have the best of opportunities, Claudia’s story is unique for a few reasons. First, she and Eddy are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients or “Dreamers” so they have a special appreciation of homeownership as the “American Dream.” In addition, she’s a CHWC employee and has seen firsthand the joy experienced by many families when they received the keys to their new home.
That’s why she and Eddy felt “empowered to buy a house” and decided to embark on their homeownership journey. With the support of a CHWC housing counselor, the couple started to learn about one of the most important aspects of home buying, credit. They had applied for a home loan unsuccessfully and discovered that no credit, despite having no debt, was as bad as a low credit score. Her November 2014 entry was called, “Debt, the Awesome House and the Not So Much,” and described how they were disappointed but had received some helpful advice—they needed to establish a credit card or other line of credit and try, again.
Discouraged but remaining cautiously optimistic and determined, Claudia had fallen in love with a house CHWC had newly acquired. She could visualize how amazing it would look once they finished the renovations and, in May 2015, wrote how she wanted to schedule a “before” and “after” photo shoot. It was a “great house with a great yard” so she named it the “awesome house” and wrote, “I would love this home for us but I think it is over our budget, and oh, yeah, we can't even get a loan.”
Deciding to set her sights a little lower, in July 2015, she wrote, “Eddy and I have decided to give it another try!” This time they had their eye on a “cute, little fixer-upper.” Because it needed work, they realized they wouldn’t have to take out a big loan and figured doing the renovations could be fun. With their fingers crossed, they started envisioning celebrating Christmas in their new home and thinking about decorating ideas. They had been working on establishing their credit and were hopeful this time, they’d be approved. Unfortunately, they were denied, again, not because of credit but because they were DACA recipients. She wrote that they were disappointed but they were thankful for the opportunity to be in the United States and were trying to stay positive and wondered if they had set a “world record for the most loan applications submitted and denied in a certain period of time.”
Nearly a year after starting her homeownership journal and journey, Claudia decided to introduce her husband to the “awesome house.” He wondered why she’d never shown it to him and wouldn’t stop talking about it. She wrote, “I keep saying I don't want to get our hopes up, but with the down payment assistance CHWC offers, it might actually work.” With more determination and positive credit history after paying consistently on a car loan, they applied for mortgage a couple more times, and by the spring of 2017, were approved!
Claudia and Eddy officially went under contract to purchase the “awesome house” in July 2017. After a few months of renovations, the family closed on December 26, 2017, and welcomed 2018 in the home they’d been dreaming of.
Claudia and Eddy chose all home finishes. The house is nearly 2,400 square feet with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. They went with beautiful, bold, traditional Mexican "Determined Orange" and "Goldfinch" wall colors for the kitchen and dining room and a calm "Autumn Orchid" color for the bedrooms and bathrooms. Claudia and Eddy qualified for the AHP (Affordable Housing Program) grant and received $25,000 toward their downpayment.
Although their journey may have been longer than usual, Claudia and Eddy encourage other “Dreamers” to become homeowners. Claudia says “as Dreamers, we will always have to give a little more and push a little harder to achieve our goals. But please, keep pushing and keep working hard for what you want. I mean, hard work is what we are made of, right? There are banks and agencies like CHWC who want us to strive; do not be afraid to take advantage of their services. We [CHWC] are here to help everyone.”
Eddy, Claudia and Kate, welcome to Wyandotte County!!!
Start your homeownership journey!
Learn more about: CHWC Homes for Sale, Downpayment and Closing Cost Assistance, Credit Counseling, Homebuyer Education Classes.