SHREVEPORT, La., July 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It all happened so fast. Toneka Lewis took a class for first-time homebuyers to see where she stood with her credit and whether she was a good candidate, at some point in the future, to become a homeowner.
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To her surprise, she was moving into her very own home within a year of taking the class.
Ms. Lewis, 32, said she grew up in rentals her entire life, and as an adult was also renting a home. Rising rent was the impetus to look into homeownership. "I was paying $450 a month on rent and it went up to $750. My house payment is less than $500 a month."
Ms. Lewis and her children, 15 and 4, found a three-bedroom, one-bath home built in 1978. It was in great shape, requiring no major repairs, she said. She received a $5,000 Homebuyer Equity Leverage Partnership (HELP) grant from Red River Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) to help with her down payment and closing costs on the home.
She moved into the home in May.
"I love it," she said. "It is in a quiet neighborhood with mostly older people around."
Ms. Lewis said Judy Madison, assistant vice president of community outreach at Red River Bank, patiently answered all her questions throughout the process.
As rental prices surge, buying a home makes financial sense for many people like Ms. Lewis, who face costly rents that siphon funds away from other necessities without building equity, according to Ms. Madison.
"Toneka Lewis and others in our first-time homebuyer classes are learning that they can save money and improve their quality of life by becoming homeowners," Ms. Madison said. "There are obvious financial and tax benefits to owning vs. renting, but it also provides plenty of intangible benefits to the family and the community to have people become property owners. We are proud of all the students who have taken first-time homebuyer classes and gone on to become responsible homeowners."
HELP grants are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as Red River Bank, to assist income-qualified, first-time homebuyers with down payments and closing costs on newly constructed or existing homes. For 2013, FHLB Dallas made $1 million in HELP funds available to its members on a first-come, first-served basis.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $31 billion as of March 31, 2013, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.
The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.
CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas