“I couldn’t believe I was ready,” stated Laura Schwarz, a new homeowner in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Laura and her three children lived in rental housing without a comfortable outdoor space for her two young children to play. “I really wanted a yard for them where I could keep an eye on them,” shared Laura.
“I knew I had to get into my own house, but my credit was too bad at first.” Laura found out about United Way of the Bluegrass’ Back on Track* program, and Back on Track introduced Laura to Community Ventures.
According to Laura, she received great support from emails that would get her pumped up to save money and pay off bills, and she received help with her prioritization of necessary expenses. “They did not judge me,” she stated. “I didn’t feel like a bad person for having bad credit.” She watched her credit score slowly go up with every payment. “It was a slow process but every time I paid something off, I’d wait, and then my score would go up.”
Then she got the call. Jackie Faris, CV’s Housing Specialist, contacted Laura last September and said it was time to go looking for a house. “I didn’t believe her,” said Laura. “I figured something would happen and not go through. But I got a call from my realtor, Towanda, and she said that we were going to look for a house on Sunday!”
Laura had a laundry list of want-to-haves including a garage, a fenced-in backyard, vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, stainless steel appliances, three bedrooms and two baths, and the oh-so-necessary walk in closet. And she got them all. After looking at many homes with her realtor, she actually found her dream home herself.
This home was in foreclosure and had been standing empty for about a year. It needed some upgrades, and by working with Community Ventures, Laura got a new HVAC system, new hot water tank, and all new appliances along with lots and lots of insulation throughout the house. “Myron Agnew with CV was great! He made sure my utility bills would be low with all of the rehab he did for me and my family,” stated Laura.
Laura and her family only pay $50 more to own their own home than they did to rent. And their utility bills are much lower due to the insulation and energy efficient appliances and lightbulbs.
Their favorite part? Six-year-old Brandon says his favorite room is the kitchen where he likes washing dishes. And three-year-old Olivia’s favorite room is her bedroom, covered in pink, mermaids, butterflies, and many stuffed animals.
Laura’s favorite part was working with a non-profit that’s not out to make money. She states, “Community Ventures was there for me. They took me where I was and helped me make my dream come true.”
* United Way of the Bluegrass: Back on Track is designed to help hardworking individuals succeed by matching their savings through Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).