Thursday, February 07, 2008

Affordable Housing in Santa Fe

My friend tells me that buying a house is kind of like a retirement account. It’s a forced savings that you can’t easily spend out and at the end you have something to show for all those monthly housing payments. It sounds pretty good, but as a single mom and a civil servant I didn’t expect to be able to afford to own a home, especially not here in Santa Fe where the cost of housing is notoriously high. Two non-profit organizations in town, however, assure me I can do just that.

The organizations are Homewise and the Santa Fe Community Housing Trust. These two agencies offer many similar services including an initial meeting with a financial counselor, home buying education classes, down payment assistance, access to houses that qualify as “affordable” (and are therefore not on the regular market), and mortgage options like low interest rates and special second mortgages through shared equity programs. The people at both agencies have been encouraging and helpful. You have to eventually pick one agency to take the classes with, and ultimately buy through, but they do differ slightly so it’s good to check out both.

I have been immersed in the process for several weeks now. Truth is, there really aren’t many houses out there for me to choose from. Still, I only need one. If you are looking ahead to doing all this one day in the future, it may behoove you to start the process now as some of the best “affordable” houses have two year waiting lists. We seem to have it narrowed down to a home that’s within walking distance of both my work and my son’s school. It even has a little yard for the dog. Keep your fingers crossed!

Posted by LW @ SSL

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