Lessons from the Pros

Real Estate

How Home Ownership Can Transform Lives

I love real estate and am grateful for what it has done for my life.  I was a young girl raised in a rent controlled apartment by a single mom.  I had a good childhood and that apartment was in Santa Monica CA, three blocks from the ocean, but we didn’t have a lot of assets. I purchased my first condo while in college and have built a healthy net-worth since, due mostly to Real Estate.  At this time of year, when we focus as a country on gratitude, I’d like to share what home ownership has done for many through Habitat for Humanity.

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Habitat for Humanity is a charity that “gets it.”  It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up.

The homes are built at no profit and interest is not charged on loans.  Building costs are financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity.”  The fund’s money comes from the new homeowner’s house payments. No interest loans are provided by supporters and money earned by fundraising activities.

Habitat for Humanity has partnered with over 1 million families since 1973. Habitat for Humanity now operates in 90 countries and in all 50 of the United States.  Its board is made up of many impressive individuals.

Click this link to see a map of where homes have been built: http://app.habitat.org/habitatmap/

What is a typical Habitat house like?

Around the world houses are built according to the same guiding principles:

  • Simple –Habitat houses are modestly-sized.  They are large enough for the homeowner’s family’s needs but small enough to keep construction and maintenance cost to a minimum.
  • Decent – Habitat for Humanity uses quality, locally-available building materials.  Habitat houses are designed to reflect the local climate and culture.
  • Affordable – The labor of volunteers and partner families, efficient building methods, modest house sizes and no-profit loans make it affordable for low-income families to purchase Habitat houses.

Because I donate to Habitat for Humanity, I receive their “magazine” and I wanted to share a few of the stories that warmed my heart.

Lizzie Thornton was asked what does your house (moved in this year) mean to you?

“I am Free. Building these walls and this home tore down the walls of failure and limitation in my life.

I have always been a positive person, but at a different level than I am now. Before, it was positive with fear.  Now, it’s positive with freedom. “

Rebecca Fernandez was asked the same question.  Her response was “ The struggle is behind me now. No more stress, no more pressure.  I’m independent. I can live more freely. I can go forward. I have a new outlook on life.  I feel very empowered.   I know who I am, and I know I matter.  I’ve been able to complete my education…” Powerful stuff!

A couple of misconceptions about Habitat:

HabitatHabitat houses reduce a neighborhood’s property values.
Housing studies show affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. In fact, Habitat houses have proven to increase property values and local government tax income.

Habitat for Humanity gives houses away to poor people.

Habitat for Humanity offers homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional house financing. Generally, this includes those whose income is 30 to 50 percent of the area’s median income. In most cases, prospective Habitat homeowner families make a $500 down payment. Additionally, they contribute 300 to 500 hours of “sweat equity” on the construction of their home or someone else’s home. Because Habitat houses are built using donations of land, material and labor, mortgage payments are kept affordable.

That Habitat for Humanity was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Former President Carter and his wife Rosalynn (whose home is eight miles from Habitat’s headquarters and where it was founded) have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers who help bring national attention to the organization’s house-building work.

Thanksgiving is about gratitude – plain and simple. In this season I encourage you all to find a way to give back. There is no better feeling.

For more information about real estate and how it using the real estate market to improve your life, enroll in our free class today.

Diana Hill

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