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(Watch) From Dream To Reality: A New Homeowner’s Journey

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Dec. 23 2021, Published 11:32 a.m. ET

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In Southwest Philadelphia, Sheena Crenshaw grew up in a home with a large, loving extended family. But when the family suffered from a foreclosure, Sheena became determined to find a home she could call her own.

Her only problem was that she knew very little about homeownership. “My thinking process was how do I position myself to live in a place where if I want to leave or if I want to stay, it is on my own terms, and it's not determined by a lease,” she shares.

In 2020 – after taking a homebuyer’s class and saving some reserves – Sheena found a home that checked off all her boxes. The moment she walked through the doors with her real estate agent, she felt a sense of family and community. Sheena went on to purchase the home with a mortgage from Bank of America and became a first-time homebuyer.

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“Buying a house, it’s super stressful,” Sheena said, “even though I had the homebuyer’s class […] I still had questions.”

Her Bank of America lender was always available to answer those questions, and by using resources provided by Bank of America’s Community Homeownership Commitment®, Sheena was able to receive a grant to assist with her down payment and closing costs. These resources were the determining factors in her buying a home sooner, rather than waiting another two or three years.

“Being able to actually get the home right, to call it my own, it kind of opens up a door,” she said, “I felt like more things were possible.”

However, to Sheena, the number one priority was having a stable home for her daughter.

“I'm thinking, too, about what it means to have generational wealth, to leave something for my daughter,” she said.

“Home buying is definitely a collective effort,” she said, “from the support I got from folks at the homebuyer’s class, from friends, from Bank of America, as well. All of that was essential in the process. I really could not have done it alone, and honestly, wouldn’t have wanted to do it alone.”

Hear more about Sheena’s inspiring story in our video interview.

This article is sponsored by Bank of America as part of our series Property and Power: The Millennial Woman’s Guide To Homeownership — What Every Woman Needs On Her Agenda To Make Smart Decisions. The words and opinions expressed are those of the author and the sources named.

Qualified borrowers must meet eligibility requirements including, but not limited to, being owner-occupants, meeting certain qualifying income limitations and purchasing a home within a certain geographical area. Minimum combined loan-to-value must be greater than or equal to 80%. The america’s home grant program is a lender credit. Program funds can only be used for nonrecurring closing costs including title insurance, recording fees, and in certain situations, discount points may be used to lower the interest rate. The grant cannot be applied toward a down payment, prepaid items or recurring costs, such as property taxes and insurance. Borrowers cannot receive program funds as cashback. Maximum income and loan amount limits apply. The home loan must fund with bank of america. Bank of america may change or discontinue the america’s home grant program or any portion of it without notice. Not available with all loan products, please ask for details.

Qualified borrowers must meet eligibility requirements such as being owner-occupants and purchasing a home within a certain geographical area. Maximum income and loan amount limits apply. Minimum combined loan-to-value must be greater than or equal to 80%. Program funds can be applied toward down payment only. Borrowers cannot receive program funds as cashback in excess of earnest money deposits. The down payment grant program may be considered taxable income, a 1099-misc will be issued, consult with your tax advisor. May be combined with other offers. The home loan must fund with bank of america. Down payment grant may only be applied once to an eligible mortgage/property, regardless of the number of applicants. Bank of america may change or discontinue the bank of america down payment grant program or any portion of it without notice. Not available with all loan products, please ask for details.

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By: Bareerah Zafar

Bareerah Zafar is a journalist based in Southern California. On top of her freelance reporting, she works as a beauty editor for Parachute Media. Zafar dedicates her career to empowering underrepresented communities through storytelling.

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