Misty Brown and her two children had been renting their Wichita home for four years when she started planning to buy a permanent home in Derby, where her children attend school and many of her family members live. The move was sparked by her sister, Tiffany, who had recently purchased her own Derby home with the help of down payment and closing cost assistance through the state’s First Time Homebuyer program. Because their finances were similar, Brown thought, “If she got approved, I might get approved; I might as well try.”
Brown reached out to Tiffany’s lender to determine if she may be eligible. “My lender did everything,” Brown said. “She told me what documents to send, and I was pre-approved in August 2022.” She worked with a real estate agent to find a house, and by January 2023, her family moved into their permanent home, just 43 seconds away from her sister’s driveway. She says saving up to buy a home “would have been a much longer process” without the down payment and closing cost assistance provided by the First Time Homebuyer program.
“The whole approval process was very easy, partly because I had been working on improving my credit,” said Brown. At one point, she was working seven days a week with a temporary, second part-time job to save the extra money a new home purchase would require.
“I waited until I was stable and ready buy a home, though I wish I had done it sooner,” said Brown. Prior to that, Brown moved every few years and felt apprehensive about the upkeep and costs of homeownership. “I never wanted to commit,” she said. “I was most scared of a big home improvement catching me off-guard financially.” She now realizes that continuous home improvements can prevent some of the major costs that come with the upkeep of owning a home. This spring, she has begun tearing up her old brick walkway and planting fresh grass seed in preparation for rebuilding the walkway.
Her neighbors donated an extra hose to help water her new grass seed where the old walkway had been torn away, and offered to mow her lawn until she could purchase a lawnmower. Since becoming a homeowner, Brown said, “I’m more invested in my neighborhood and community; I’m very pleased with my neighbors. Everyone around me also owns their home.” Brown’s family feels welcomed and supported in their new neighborhood.
Brown says the best part of being a homeowner is the impact on her kids. “My children have been thriving and blossoming,” she said. Their social lives have flourished now that they live closer to school, and Misty is able to be more present with her children since she has been able to give up her second job. “Now my daughter invites friends over all the time, and my son has really started to come out of his shell. They feel those roots; they feel safety and stability.” Her daughter recently graduated from high school this spring.
Brown has some advice for those interested in purchasing their first home: “Start saving money now. It’s hard to regret buying a house, especially if you have kids. Just put down some roots and invest in your community.”
Administered by Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), the state’s First Time Homebuyer program helps income-eligible households purchase their first home by providing down payment and closing cost assistance. Recent program updates have expanded eligibility. Homes in Kansas City, Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita, and Johnson County are not eligible for program assistance. KHRC’s new Home Loan Guarantee for Rural Kansas program helps rural homebuyers secure the gap between the cost of constructing or rehabilitating a home and its appraised value.
Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) is a self-supporting, nonprofit, public corporation committed to helping Kansans access the safe, affordable housing they need and the dignity they deserve. KHRC serves as the state’s housing finance agency, administering essential housing and community programs to serve Kansans.