Insights

Picture of Sara Whitley

Happy tears. That’s part of Jeanetta’s story that I’ll always remember. But it took some time to get there.

In 2018, Jeanetta and her children were trying to escape homelessness. They found help and some stability through the Road Home’s Rapid Rehousing program—but Jeanetta wanted more for her family. She wanted to realize the dream of being a homeowner—to truly have a place to call her own. The same dream so many families have.

Coming up with a plan

Jeanetta’s Road Home case manager believed in her. And I believed in her, too. So we all sat down together to come up with a plan. We discussed what she needed to do to get her credit right (so she could qualify for certain loans) and save money for a down payment (to lower the amount she needed to borrow).

Despite Jeanetta’s unique situation, those really are the same aspects that challenge many to-be homeowners. During the normal routine of living life and paying bills, we sometimes don’t look toward the future—or aren’t able to. But as soon as you can work toward saving and getting rid of debt, the more options you’ll have as you move forward.

With Jeanetta, we worked together to make sure she was headed in the right direction. But she was the one who was most committed to making it happen. And who made it happen.

It wasn’t easy.

Finding home

Jeanetta applied for help through down payment-assistance programs. She worked and saved and got closer and closer to being where she needed to be. And when she reached her financial goal and had enough money to buy a home, there was still the issue of finding one. The housing market was tough, with homes selling almost as soon as they went on the market.

There were lots of offers. And lots of being outbid. There was nothing she was doing wrong.

Then, a house Jeanetta absolutely loved became available. There was plenty of back-and-forth with the real-estate agents on both sides. Eventually, an offer was accepted.

And, finally, at the closing, there were those happy tears when Jeanetta held the keys in her hand.

We often take buying a home for granted. We don’t realize the work, the sacrifice that goes into the process. We think it will be easy. But usually, just like Jeanetta, we need to make the effort, we need to have a great team on our side—and we can use a little bit of luck, too.


Down payment assistance programs can help

Find out more about the mortgage products and programs that provide down payment and closing cost assistance for eligible borrowers.




Green Bay native and life-long Wisconsin resident, Sara has dedicated more than 14 years of her life to learn the ins-and-outs of residential mortgage lending, helping assist customers with affordable housing and guiding customers to services that best meet their needs.

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