Meet the ACTS team! You’ve stumbled upon an ACTS Team Member spotlight. These spotlights, published once a month, share what our team members do each day to make ACTS a success.
Yussuf Mursal, 36, just hit his six-week milestone as an employee of ACTS. He says he is enjoying his time here.
“Everything I do here I like,” he said. “I have never had such a warm welcome and people to support me and show me how I can do a better job.”
Yussuf works as ACTS’ administrative assistant which often requires him to interface one-on-one with interested homebuyers.
It is a natural fit for him.
Yussuf, too, is an ACTS homeowner and was a featured speaker at ACTS’ very first Longest Neighborhood Table fundraiser.
“We like it here,” he said of himself and his family who emigrated from Somalia in 2004.
They fled the country’s civil war and he recalls that they walked to the refugee camp in Kenya. It took 17 days.
His experience as a refugee has carved a lane for him professionally. Up until six weeks ago, he worked as Lead Case Manager at Catholic Charities of SE Wisconsin where he helped other people emigrating resettle in Milwaukee.
Yussuf continues to assist the Somali community in Milwaukee, and gets them on the path to homeownership. Recent ACTS orientations have boasted at least one referral from Yussuf.
“I like helping people,” he said. “Your neighborhood is where you get back to normal and say ‘this is my starting point in life.”
Getting Your Home Winter Ready
Clean gutters and downspouts – Ensure that the water drains properly. Pooling water can cause damage to foundations, driveways and walkways
Drain and shut off exterior faucets and store hoses
Change your furnace filters – It is recommended that you change them monthly. Consider having a furnace check performed by a professional.
Change your batteries – Once a year you should be checking to make sure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices are working.
Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and reduce heating bills
Clean window wells and check drainage
Check attic vents
Check that the exhaust ducts are clear
Simon Arenal and his wife Gregoria Copto were intimidated by the ACTS rehab process and saw a total of four homes.
They were anxious until they found their home in the Clarke Square neighborhood and saw its potential.
They purchased a city-tax foreclosure for $3,500 and received a $25,000 home rehab loan through ACTS Lending.
ACTS realtor Tess Wynn said, at the time they closed on the property, it had three purchase offers.
“It was a very hot, competitive property,” Wynn said.
The family worked with Senior Rehab Counselor Ramon Guadarrama.
The home needed electrical work, had water damage on its first floor, had prior work done without a permit which needed to be redone, and needed an updated kitchen.
In addition, the family worked on the bathroom floors, cabinetry, and more. They loved their bathroom tile so much they used leftover tile for the table in their dining room.
In total, the rehab project on the first unit took them just three months.
Simon said owning a home had been his family’s dream.
“We’d been wanting to do this for a long time. Thank you to ACTS for helping us make it a reality,” Simon said.
While they are living in one part of the house, they are completing the rehab on the second part of the house. Simon says the second unit is where his brother will live.
‘We’re so happy to have something to take care of,” Simon said.
See the transition of repairs to the Arenal household below.
The holidays are just around the corner, but the holidays don’t have to bust your budget. It’s possible to enjoy the holiday cheer and reach your goal of saving for a home.
Below are some tips from ACTS Housing’s Director of Homebuyer Counseling that can keep you on track as you plan to make holiday purchases.
- Make a list: Generate a list with names of individuals you plan to buy for.
- Check it twice: Assign a spending limit for each person and stick to the amount you budget.
- Start early: The more time you give yourself to shop, the more bargain-conscious you can afford to be. There are great deals to be had before the shopping season officially begins.
- Double check for accuracy: Everyone makes mistakes, even the person ringing up your sale. And with long lines at the register, it’s even more likely. Check your receipt to make sure you were charged correctly.
- Save your receipts: After checking for accuracy, put your receipts somewhere you will be able to find them later. That way you can track your spending as you go, but also efficiently return items if need be.
- Carry a visual reminder of your homebuying goal with you when shopping.
- Use a layaway plan when available. It helps you stop from buying on impulse, without thinking. Layaway plans do not have finance charges like credit cards do.
- Use the money you have. Try to pay with cash, check or debit card instead of a credit card.
- Ask yourself hard questions. DO I really need to spend the money? Is buying your home more important than the material items you will be purchasing? (Need: something you/family has to have. Want: something you/family would like to have).
- Continue to save. Most important, continue to put money in the savings account for the purchase of the home. Do not stop saving during the holiday!