DETROIT (WXYZ) — When Diana Alaniz and her husband left Texas with their three children and headed to Michigan, the couple figured they'd continue to rent. It's what they did in Texas, and while her husband's job brought them to Detroit, Diana figured they'd continue to rent despite the high cost and not-so-great conditions of the rental homes they found in their price range.
Then one day, Diana drove past a house where contractors were busy at work, fixing up a two-story home in Southwest Detroit.
She asked how to go about purchasing the home and the rest is pretty much history thanks to Southwest Solutions and their Newberry Homes program that aims to turn renters with low to moderate incomes into homeowners.
And, so far, the organization has done that with over 40 of about 60 homes in the Chadsey-Condon neighborhood in Southwest Detroit.
"Knowing that we were working for it and the bank is not going to call or the landlord is not going to call and say, 'Hey, it's my house. I sold it.. time to look for another place,' So it gives us good security," she told 7 Action News.
Newberry Homes is a program with Southwest Housing Solutions and Southwest Economic Solutions.
"We provide homebuyer education counseling to those individuals so that we can help them understand what the opportunity is to become homeowners versus renters," said Hector Hernandez, Executive Director at Southwest Economic Solutions.
Homebuyer counselors help people build credit and clean up any credit issues.
"In every instance that those individuals have decided to proceed and become homeowners, their mortgage, including taxes, property taxes, insurance, are less than they were paying in rent," Hernandez said.
Diana said the teams at Southwest Solutions were helpful and great to work with.
"The program was fast and easy," she said.
The homes that are part of the program are only about 15 years old and are being sold to qualifying homebuyers for about $60,000, and $20,000 of that purchase price is a loan that is forgivable over five years. Southwest Housing Solutions also offers a gift of $3,500 at closing to bring the price even further down for the buyer who brings about $1,100 to the table.
There are still homes available in the program. You can find out more about the Newberry Homes program by clicking here to visit the Southwest Solutions Homebuyer Services page.