Natalie Desvarieux had heard Davidson referred to as one of the best places to live in North Carolina before she had even moved here. Therefore, when she stumbled upon the Davidson Housing Coalition’s website in the fall of 2017, it felt almost like fate. At the time, she was working part-time as a server in Concord, and renting an apartment nearby. While her current lease didn’t end until the spring, she was already thinking about her next move. As a life-long renter, Natalie was well aware that each lease renewal meant an increase in rent. She was already paying $1,080 for a one-bedroom apartment, and even after taking another part-time position with an insurance company, her current living set-up was becoming financially unsustainable. Additionally, Natalie did not want to remain a renter—she had aspirations of being a homeowner, but with most of her monthly income covering her basic living expenses, it didn’t seem possible to save enough money for a down payment on a house.
When Natalie arrived at the Davidson Housing Coalition several months later, her dream of achieving home-ownership finally seemed within reach. She began meeting regularly with Gail Brooks-Lemkin, DHC’s Homebuyer Education and Financial Literacy Counselor. Initially, the two worked together to outline a new budget and to review Natalie’s income and credit. Then with Gail’s support, Natalie took the lead, completing a homebuyer education course and gathering the necessary paperwork to become pre-certified. In March, Natalie received notice that she qualified for the Town of Davidson’s Affordable Housing program, and started to look at homes available for purchase through the program. Then, in April, Natalie learned that she had been approved for down payment assistance through the Town. To add to the good news, she was also approved for mortgage support from the Community Partners Loan Pool program, offered through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.
Only three months after her initial meeting with Gail at DHC, Natalie closed on her new home. She officially moved in at the end of May. When we sat down with her, nearly a week after she moved in, Natalie had already changed the color of the walls, put in new flooring in the kitchen, and re-painted the kitchen cabinets—all design choices that she wasn’t able to make while renting an apartment. Natalie already enjoys living in her new neighborhood, and is excited to be a part of the greater Davidson community. An avid biker and a food enthusiast, Natalie is looking forward to biking around town, and to exploring Davidson’s growing restaurant scene. In addition to settling into her new home, Natalie’s biggest priority is to save money. Her mortgage payments are half the cost of her former rent, so for Natalie, home-ownership means not only financial stability in the present, but the promise of financial freedom for the future.