Self-Help Shares

Lower Rates + Determination = New Homeowners

By Staff
  | Dec 07, 2017

Charlene - 2017 homeowner

Charlene Watson at the closing of her new home.

For years, Charlene Watson had the goal of becoming a homeowner. She wanted a house in a safe neighborhood where she and her 15-year-old son could thrive. She also knew that by owning, she could build a stronger financial future.

Charlene discussed a mortgage with several lenders, but they all put her application on "the back burner." She didn't give up. To save more money, she moved in with her mother in Henderson and commuted to her job in Raleigh, where she works as a meter reader.

When Charlene came to Self-Help, our lending team saw her strengths. She had a steady income and savings from a job she had done for six years. Her credit was good, and her track record on paying rent and utilities was stellar.

Charlene was determined to get a mortgage. We at Self-Help were determined to help her qualify, and we have the tools to make it happen. We now offer a variety of new options for lowering interest rates and providing down payment assistance.

Through a grant from the Oak Foundation, we were able to offer Charlene a loan with an interest rate of 4.5%. Through subsidies from federal and nonprofit programs, we were able to lower her down payment and closing costs. Charlene closed on her loan in June this year with a monthly payment of $700.

Photo of Charlene's new house in Knightdale, North Carolina

Charlene's new home in Knightdale.

"It was unbelievable," Charlene said, remembering how she felt when she learned she would be able to afford a three-bedroom house in Knightdale, North Carolina. "I love everything about that house!"

Now she has a yard big enough for a basketball goal for her son. They have also added another member to the family, a new puppy.

"Don't worry," she says, "it's already house-broken."

Self-Help's goal is to help more renters become successful homeowners in the most affordable way possible. Contact your local branch, call 800.476.7428 or drop us a line at to find out if you're eligible for a lower interest rate and/or down payment assistance.

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