DETROIT (WXYZ) — Levonne Jeffery was eager to own her home, but the 58-year-old was making too much money for many social service programs and, at the same time, she wasn’t making enough to qualify for a traditional mortgage .
But then the opportunity presented itself.
“I jumped on the moon,” Jeffery told 7 Action News as she stood outside her 384-square-foot farmhouse-style home where she’s surrounded by a beautiful garden that she tends herself.
Jeffery is one of more than a dozen Detroiters who have found their share of the American dream with the help of Cass Community Social Services.
Tiny Homes Detroit was Reverend Faith Fowler’s vision, and to date, 18 homes are occupied. Another house is almost ready for occupancy and six more are under construction.
The amount residents pay each month covers monthly homeownership expenses, including utilities and taxes. And after seven years of residence in their home, residents will own their tiny home and the land it sits on, knowing they can cover the costs of homeownership, independently.
“The opportunity to own was important to me. I’m getting older. I don’t want to keep moving,” said Jeffery, who lost his last home while rehabilitating from a vehicle accident. Jeffery was a pedestrian when she was hit by a car. “I can’t keep moving, you lose so much.”
Across America, more and more people of all socioeconomic levels are struggling to find what they consider affordable housing.
Even rent increases push people out of their target neighborhoods and, in some cases, out of the homes they already live in.
“By renting, you’re pretty much opening the window and just throwing the money away, but under certain conditions, for a small percentage of individuals, they’re better off renting,” said Maynard Neal, president and principal broker. by NERG Real. Estate Experts, which urges people to buy if they are able to qualify.
The hot housing market we saw in the spring and summer of 2021 that sparked bidding wars has cooled with higher mortgage rates and housing supply is starting to increase.
Neal said that last week two of his clients were able to buy a home at the asking price, something he hasn’t seen in over a year.
Neal said home ownership is the best way to control housing costs.
“When you buy a house, you’re locked into your mortgage rate,” Neal said. “And then when mortgage rates go down, you can always refinance.”
“I have several clients who bought three years ago and are selling or have sold this year, and made between $80,000 and $100,000 over the three-year period,” he added.
Neal urges anyone interested in buying a home to speak with a mortgage professional.
“A mortgage professional can look at your unique situation to see what’s on your credit, to see if you need to raise your credit score, to see what you’ll need,” Neal said. “They will be able to explain to you what arena you can enter the market, how much of a house can you afford, and what you will need to buy that house.”
Some Michigan residents may be eligible for down payment assistance through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).