Many Stocktonians have dreams to become a homeowner. But what is that process like? A new homeowner, mother, and Stockton resident shares with the Housing Justice Coalition the unforeseen challenges in the road to homeownership. Monique and her family started their journey to becoming homeowners with Visionary Home Builders and with mentorship from Andrea Andrade. Monique shares that it started with the “little things that would help me pursue financial stability and to have independence. We set up goals that would keep me accountable.” Monique shares that she found someone that could provide her with a mortgage and took a course on homeownership in order to learn how to get the right deal before beginning the home searching process.
She states, “I didn’t know how to start at all. The class I took didn’t tell me how to build my credit, which is very important. I did a lot of research myself.” Monique also shares that, “when you live in survival mode, which I was on for a very long time, you don’t think about credit – you just live for the day, you live for the month, for the week.” Once she was able to pay off her bills and save enough money by living on a budget, Monique finally began the search for her home. However, this only came with more challenges and proved that becoming a homeowner in Stockton is extremely difficult for low income families.
Monique shares, “the market was crazy and it still is. It is a seller’s market.” She mentions that her family looked at over 30 homes. Even homes that fit her price range and needs she was often “outbid by people who had the money cash in hand. It was difficult and frustrating to have to compete with others.” After a long search, Monique and her family finally closed on a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom home. Monique shares, “I could not find something that I really, really wanted within what I could afford, but I was okay with it. Even though my home is a fixer upper, it has a roof and it’s functional. It works for my family.” Monique takes pride in her new home and even though a lot of work lies ahead of her to renovate the space, she is grateful that she and her family have a permanent space to call theirs.
Stockton residents should not have to go through such long processes in order to become a homeowner. Even with money and home purchasing support, Stockton residents still face challenges with being outbid and trying to keep up with Stockton’s competitive housing market. This is why we need more affordable homes for our residents who are looking to become homeowners. Like Monique, many Stockton residents dream about purchasing permanent spaces to call home. Let us make more of these dreams a reality.