In August 2018, Bruce heard about ACTS Housing and called about next steps.
“I decided I would attend orientation and see what happens,” he said. He purchased a four-bedroom, move-in ready home in the Rufus King neighborhood.
He is preparing to move into it by the end of the month.
Bruce worked with ACTS realtor Tess Wynn, and said he saw a couple homes–including one that is up the street from the one he purchased.
“I knew I had to get this house,” he said. “It feels different from any home I’ve ever lived in.”
Bruce cites the room sizes and kitchens as selling points.
“Instead of just large rooms, they’re sectioned off and there’s a fireplace.”
His favorite room is the kitchen which he fell in love with upon seeing its photo on a listing.
“Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses,” he said.
When he’s not working, he readies the home for move-in for his family.
His current project is taking dimensions of the living room and bedrooms for furniture.
He is on the lookout for furniture and just installed a stainless steel refrigerator in the kitchen. He put a light sensor in the restroom.
Bruce’s advice to those looking to purchase: just do it. He notes ACTS’ family-first approach.
“ACTS is patient…they really work with you to get you the type of house that you want. They’re not just sending you on a hunt to hurry up and finish.”
Upon meeting Horacio, it’s evident he’s proud of his home. He frequently displays the home’s progress on his Snapchat.
Sitting cozy on Milwaukee north side, he and members of his family (including his 74-year-old grandfather) have been working hard on the home rehab: insulation, finishing walls, pulling up carpets and refinishing the original hardwood floors.
“It’s been a lot of work,” he said. “But we’re almost finished.”
He worked for five months getting the home code compliant after purchasing it for $3,500 in May. The family moved in in September.
Horacio hopes to complete the cosmetic rehab projects in another six months.
Among the projects left to complete is adding a fireplace console.
Previously, Horacio and his wife Maria rented a small two-bedroom apartment.
Living in a 4-bedroom, single-family house has taken some adjustment.
“Sometimes it feels like it’s too big,” he said.
The neighborhood has them smitten. Horacio knows his neighbors: a janitor to the right of him and a third-shift worker to the left.
“This area is good,” he said. “And quiet.”
Johnnie Ashley couldn’t believe her ears when she was told she was done paying off her home rehab loan.
“It was mindblowing,” she said. “I went and told my church.”
Johnnie purchased her home on Highland Blvd in 2016 and completed a rehab project that included updating the kitchen and plumbing.
She lived in the home as a renter for five years before purchasing it from the city after it went into foreclosure.
“I just went for it,” she said.
She says she also worked closely with ACTS rehab counselors to have her roof repaired and ACTS volunteers cleaned her attic and basement.
“It was amazing,” she said of the household volunteer help she received. “I needed that done.”
The city, she says, gave her first-offer to purchase.
She is satisfied with her home although it may need a little bit more cosmetic work.
She’d like to remodel the bathroom and add a walk-in shower. A deck in the back yard. Knock out a wall and make her kitchen bigger.
Paying off her ACTS loan now gives her freedom to make those repairs.
“It’s a relief,” she said. “A big relief. I can’t believe I paid it off.”
Her home is a hotspot for Sunday dinner and other family get-togethers.
“All I have to do is tell them I’m cooking,” she said.
Pictured: Rayford and Monica Jackson with their two children and family members, surrounded by the ACTS team and Mayor Tom Barrett. Featured image courtesy of the Milwaukee Times newspaper. To read more click here.
Monica and Rayford Jackson, both Milwaukee natives, hope to close on their home by the end of the month and then take a nice vacation.
“Somewhere sunny and tropical,” Rayford said.
The vacation is well-deserved.
The couple has been working with ACTS’ Homebuyer Counselors for the past three years to get themselves ready to purchase.
However, the home they have in mind isn’t just any home: it’s a family heirloom. The home belonged to Rayford Jackson’s grandparents.
The home went into foreclosure with the city, and the couple was able to occupy it through the City of Milwaukee’s lease-to-own program.
Working with ACTS gives the couple an opportunity to bring it back to the family.
“Now no one can take it from under us,” Monica said.
While they have been living in the home, they have worked to make the house code-compliant and live on the first floor. They have some repairs—both major and minor—to complete including the roof and foundation.
“The roof was always a major issue,” Rayford said. He said he wasn’t surprised about anything listed in the scope of work, the list of necessary repairs, for the home.
The couple has already been pre-approved for an ACTS rehab loan to help with the cost of the $40,000 rehab project ahead of them.
“We’re ready to take on the projects without any hindrance,” Rayford said. They are excited to start pulling permits.
The decision to purchase the home was spurred by their children ages 7 and 8.
“They’ve been in the house all their lives,” Monica said. “We want to leave a legacy. It’s nice to keep it in the family.”