Sleepovers; it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about homeownership, but it’s one of the things that Rae Johnson and their son are most excited about in their new home. Growing up on Milwaukee’s Northside, but attending school in Menomonee Falls, Rae realized that school friends never came over for sleepovers or to hang out. Prior to purchasing their new home in the North Division neighborhood, Rae’s son took 2 buses to get to school every day. Rae wanted to make sure that their new house was both closer to school (friends), and also family.
No one in Rae’s family has ever owned a house before, for years they always assumed that homeownership might not be in the cards. In the last few years, Rae started noticing all their friends owned homes, and it got the wheels turning that homeownership could be a possibility. Unsure of how to start the process, they remembered hearing about Acts Housing while working for State Representative Evan Goyke a couple of years earlier.
Once Rae took the first step to connect with Acts Housing, they were paired up with Homebuyer Coach Tony. “Tony was amazing. The thought of someone and a system knowing my credit score and savings felt paralyzing; but from the first day he met me, he could sense my reluctance and kept encouraging me to keep going.” Working with Coach Tony, Rae was able to get pre-approved for a loan through Acts Lending.
Being close to their son’s school and to Rae’s parents were definitely key factors for choosing a house in the North Division neighborhood. Rae also really wanted to own a house north of North Avenue. “Learning the history of segregation and housing in Milwaukee, I learned that at one point African Americans were not allowed to live north of North Ave. I feel like I’m able to claim back a piece of Milwaukee.” With the help of Acts realtor Jenean, Rae purchased a foreclosed home and is, “excited to invest back into the city.”
Though the house was a city foreclosure, it is still full of Milwaukee character and charm. Rae is excited about the original hardwood floors just like their childhood home. Rae reminisced about when their mom would freshly mop the floor and the fun that was had sliding across the floors in socks. “I’m excited to make those types of memories with my son.” Not only are Rae and their son excited about the house, but the whole extended family is too! Rae’s mom and grandmother have been helping design the kitchen and have already been planning future family holidays in the home.
Rae closed in July 2020 and after a year of rehab, the family was able to move in September 2021. Rae even had the opportunity to meet the original homeowner who was excited to see that the house would no longer be unoccupied and that a new family would be taking care of their once cherished home.
Interested in moving from renting to homeownership? Your first step is to view our online orientation.