Get That Deed helps first-time homeowners attain financial stability
Year after year, Wilmington is listed as one of the top places people are moving to, and with the rate of growth, demand for real estate is at an all-time high. Homeownership is a huge part of the American dream, but for many, that dream seems so far from an attainable reality.
BRENDA DIXON felt the same way, and in 2013, a middle-of-the-night revelation left her excited about the future for those with aspirations to own their homes. She is now the founder of the first-time home-buying initiative known as Get That Deed.
“Our mission is to help the essential worker, retired, and disabled families break long-standing generational tenant cycles in their family,” says Dixon. “We currently have helped 80 families to become homeowners with this initiative, and most have rented for more than 10 years, and some had rented for 50-plus years. We have more than 1,600 families in our Get That Deed Facebook community where they get continued inspiring and informative information to keep them working towards homeownership.”
This free, no-cost program for families has been going strong since 2013; so strong in fact, that even 2020 could not stop it.
“Despite all of the pandemic unrest with layoffs, cut down payment assistant funding, strapped first-time buyer loans, increased credit scores requirements, and more, 22 of our Get That Deed families still became first-time homeowners in 2020,” says Dixon. “They really worked for it, but it was so worth it.”
It can be easy to understand why homeownership is seen as out of reach. However, in many cases, mortgages are lower than rental payments, offer more freedom to the buyer and result in an asset of property ownership.
“Homeownership is the number one way working families achieve financial stability, wealth, legacy, and inheritance,” says Dixon. “After being in the real estate space in our area full-time for the last 30 years as the owner of Dixon Realty, I have seen many families struggle to keep rental housing within their budget. In our coastal area especially, the affordable housing plight is great.”
Dixon explains that rental amounts have increased yearly, but the wages have not off-set the increases. For the majority of the 80 families Get That Deed has helped, their mortgages were cheaper than the leased unit they were leaving.
“Purchasing a home sooner versus later will help families position to build equity with the payments they make versus throwing money away month after month,” she says. “Our Get That Deed families that purchased in 2014 and 2015 have homes that are now worth a minimum of $50,000 more than what they paid for it. That is very impactful.”
Get That Deed’s process is simple through the acronym DEED: Decide they want it for their family. Evaluate their current finances and get a plan of action to get it from where it is to where it needs to be. Educate themselves from A to Z on the homebuying process. Do it, just do it, according to Nixon.
“Families need to do it not just for themselves, and not just because it will set their family on the road to financial wholeness but also because it is a fact that when Daddy and Mama own, so do the kids,” she says. “They need to do it for the kids. Studies have shown that kids that grow up in homes that were owned by their parents are more likely to seek homeownership for themselves when of age.”
Dixon’s hard work and diligence with Get That Deed are immeasurable and invaluable to the community around her. Local support is essential, and anyone with enough desire can achieve the goal of homeownership through this process.
“My goals for Get That Deed are to expand our reach state and nationwide to assist more families,” says Dixon. “Forming relationships and partnerships with employers, community leaders, and organizations to get the information to the families they are connected to so they can gain homeownership with less stress and fewer mistakes.”
Another goal for the program is to find real estate investors that will see the value and rewards in making a dollar and a difference at the same time.
“Lastly, our goal is to also partner with other Realtors locally and across the U.S. that have a heart of service and want to see every family in their community achieve homeownership. Truth is, there are so many families that just don’t know how to get started, and how to get to the finish line,” Dixon says. “We have a proven blueprint for Realtors to follow that will enable them to help many of these families in the most effective way within their perspective areas.”
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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