October 31, 2014
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Keeping financial house in order helps dream of home come true
Meg Fraser
SETTLING IN: Richard Godfrey from Rhode Island Housing poses with Jessica and Joseph McGuire and their children, Emily and Chris.

After living in their Cape-style home on Aqueduct Road in Cranston for just over a month, the McGuires are starting to feel settled. As summer heats up, they’re taking advantage of the central air conditioning, grilling in the backyard and sending the kids across the street to the Budlong Pool.

They’re simple pleasures, but ones that would not have been possible without Rhode Island Housing. Thanks to a low-cost no mortgage insurance loan offered through the agency, the McGuires are living the American dream.

“This is our dream to own a home; I think it’s everybody’s dream. It means everything,” said Jessica McGuire after a recent press conference in her new backyard.

Prior to the move, the McGuires were renting a two-bedroom home in Warwick, where their son and daughter had to share a room. They heard about Rhode Island Housing’s new mortgage options through Jessica’s sister and brother-in-law, who had also benefited from the agency’s programs. They soon learned that they too qualified for programs.

“We created these lower-cost, low down payment mortgages to help more Rhode Islanders buy their first home, move up to a new home that meets their needs or refinance their existing home,” said Rhode Island Housing Executive Director Richard Godfrey in a release. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Rhode Islanders to take advantage of lower monthly payments and Rhode Island Housing’s fixed-rate 30-year term.”

All Rhode Island Housing loans are serviced locally. Eligibility is based on household income and a purchase price of less than $415,000. One- or two-person homebuyers can earn up to $87,800 per year; for families of three or more, income can go up to $102,400.

Last Thursday, Godfrey said interested buyers must keep their financial house in order to qualify for programs, but added that these services have made the difference for many homebuyers.

“Rhode Island Housing has always serviced people who were just on the cusp of homeownership. One of the keys is still maintaining good credit,” he said.

Designed to generate home-buying activity, Rhode Island Housing now provides mortgages to non-first-time homebuyers and loans with lower monthly payments. In the past, homebuyers have needed to put 20 percent down before mortgage insurance was waived. That requirement no longer exists, saving the couple $166 per month that they would have spent on insurance.

“That’s a big nut when you’re just getting started. That made the difference,” said Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Jessica and her husband Joseph closed on their house on May 23 and moved in the first week of June. The entire process took about three months, and Joseph said he was pleased with the responsiveness of Rhode Island Housing.

“Everything went really smoothly, from the initial application to the closing,” he said. “It was a relief to have the closing and move in to the house.”

For Jessica McGuire, she’s happy to have a home that her children can grow up in. She fell in love with the area and with their house. And the kids fell in love with their bedrooms.

“It’s nice that they get their own rooms, their own identities,” she said. “This was the house we fell in love with.”

Rep. Robert Jacquard (D-Cranston) congratulated the family and welcomed them to the neighborhood he grew up in and still lives nearby.

“I hope you love it as much as I do,” he said.

Carlos Lopez, chief of staff for Mayor Allan Fung, brought greetings from the city and offered his support to the family as they get to know Cranston.

“We’re here for you; we’re here if you need anything,” he said. “Thank you so much for choosing Cranston as your place that you’re going to call home.”

Godfrey knows too well that the real estate market continues to be slow, as families struggle to make ends meet. He is hoping more families will take advantage of Rhode Island Housing programs to turn that figure around.

“Home buying is much slower now than it was, but today we’re here to celebrate home ownership,” he said. “What better news is there than a great family buying a great home in a great neighborhood?”


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