Homeowner Story – 7 min read

Homeowner Stories: Meaghan

How Meaghan bought her first home in Garland, Texas after receiving $12,000 in down payment assistance.

Homeowner Story – 7 min read

"I just think of all those years I was paying rent and how much equity I could have had by now! You know, that’s a lot of lost time. But I’m grateful that I am finally a homeowner."

In the heart of Texas, where homeownership can sometimes feel exclusive, Meaghan's journey stands as a testament to her determination, perseverance, and the importance of not waiting for someone else to make your dreams come true. 

Branch manager at a local construction company, Meaghan encountered common challenges of many hard-working Americans—poor credit, insufficient savings, and at a complete loss trying to navigate the home-buying process. However, her story took a significant turn, marked by a hinge moment that paved the way for her to achieve proud and rapid homeownership today.

We sat down with Meaghan to understand her unique journey and lessons learned on her unconventional pathway to home ownership. Let’s dive in.

Meaghan vs. Snowmaggedon: defrosting on the decision to become a homeowner

Born and raised in the Lone Star State, Meaghan's dream of homeownership was deferred by financial missteps in her youth. “When I was younger, I wasn't very responsible with my finances, which took a toll on my credit score. I had to work to fix that and to pay things off. It took several years,” she recounts.

2021’s Snowmageddon (AKA: The Great Texas Freeze) forced her to play her hand early, turn up the heat, and finally take control of her destiny. She explains, “I was working on fixing my credit for probably about five years and just getting to that point. But, what really made me want to go ahead and buy my first home was Snowmageddon.” 

Battling burst pipes and power outages, she found herself in an apartment she had no control over. “It was just crazy," she told us. "My building had no water for five days, and I had no control over the situation!" This sub-zero experience sparked her determination to pursue homeownership there and then. 

Today, Meaghan sits happily in her new home, feeling more secure and in control than ever before. “Now, I'm in my new house. If that situation were to happen again, I now have a fireplace, a charcoal grill on my patio, and much more control over what happens,” she shares with a smile on her face.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s explore the steps she took during this epic journey of buying her first home. 

Photo of Meaghan's new house in Garland, Texas.

Breaking beliefs, building dreams, and throwing down the welcome mat

Meaghan had some significant obstacles on her journey to homeownership, including a poor credit score, a lack of savings, and a confusing overview of what the homebuying process entails. 

However, her first step was rewriting a belief that had been stuck with her since childhood. “A part of me wanted to be married before I bought a house. But then I realized that's silly. There's no reason why I can't own a house by myself or why that idea should hold me back,” she explains—thanks, Hollywood 

The realization that she could buy her house as a powerful, proud, single woman prompted the next step: to try and decipher the whole buying-your-first-house process. 

“I wondered if I could even get approved for a mortgage. I didn't know the actual steps or how the whole process worked.”

This is something that many young Americans go through. The process can be lengthy and requires a ton of paperwork, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do on your own. Meaghan’s story is proof of that.

Ready to buy your first home? Here’s a practical first-time home-buying guide to help you understand the process, from Pinterest yearning to key turning.

What she had known for a long time was still true – she needed to improve her credit as fast as possible in order to qualify for a mortgage pre-approval. “I paid my bills on time, slowly paid off my debt, and prioritized buying only the things that were necessary—that I could actually afford.” 

While improving her credit score through responsible spending was a massive leap in the right direction, there was still a hopscotch game of finances to play. She still needed to make a down payment, pay the closing costs, and pay a number of other fees. 

She was still struggling with savings. “I didn't have a whole lot of money saved up, especially since I was spending so much of my energy and money trying to pay things off to improve my credit score,” she explains. However, Meaghan was set on transforming her homeownership dream into a reality as quickly as possible.

Then a solution popped up. Not through a traditional knock on the door but through scrolling her Instagram feed—the world we live in, eh!? “One night, scrolling on Instagram, I came across Dwelling and decided to check it out," she recalls. Five months later, she was (Spoiler alert!) a homeowner. "It was all pretty awesome,” she recalls.

Photo of Meaghan's new house in Garland, Texas.

Down payment assistance: her key to becoming a homeowner in Texas

“Based on my savings and credit score, what actually allowed me to buy my home was getting that down payment assistance. It meant everything to me,“ Meaghan explains. 

Down Payment Assistance (DPA) is a financial support program commonly provided by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private lenders. It aids in covering a portion or the entire down payment required for your home purchase. DPA often accelerates the path to homeownership, eliminating the need for prolonged savings by offering funds to facilitate your down payment there and then.

As Meaghan puts it, down payment assistance was the catalyst that made her go from an unhappy renter without enough savings and low credit to a proud homeowner in Garland, Texas. 

“This really did change my life, and I'm very blessed and thankful to Dwelling’s team for how easy they made the process that finally allowed me to be a homeowner.”

Meaghan secured $12,000 in down payment assistance. This allowed her to buy her first home at 37. However, she still wishes it happened a lot sooner. “I just think of all those years I was paying rent and how much equity I could have had by now!“ she exclaims. Thankfully, she learned about DPA at the right time and has thrown down her welcome mat on her own doorstep. 

Wondering how much you could receive in down payment assistance? Find out with Dwelling.

Home sweet home: living as a solo homeowner

From hosting cramped Thanksgiving gatherings in her rented apartment to embracing the spacious warmth of her new home, her journey to homeownership paints a picture of autonomy, independence, and the ability to build lasting memories with her loved ones in a space that’s hers.

“Being a homeowner has been great. I feel secure; it's a great feeling to know it's mine. I love my house!” she mused, reflecting on the joys of her newfound space.

Meaghan relishes her ability to be hospitable with the freedom and space she now has. Her home isn't just a home; it's a haven for her and her family. 

“My grandma stayed with me for some time before she passed away. Something that would have been impossible in my apartment," she says, her voice resonating with an endearing warmth as she recounts the happy memories she was able to create in the walls of her cherished home. "And I will always be grateful for that because me and my mom had the opportunity to take care of her and spend precious time together while we could.". 

Owning a house means more than just financial equity—it's about control, building a home you love, and having a place to look forward to at the end of a hard day's work. Today Meaghan is safe, in control, and proud of her new home. Cheers to you, your family, and the many happy years to come, Meaghan! 🥂

Meaghan’s advice for aspiring solo homeowners in Texas

Now that Meaghan’s been through the process and can see the advantages of being a homeowner, she has the gift of hindsight and some words of advice for others dreaming of buying their first home:

"If you're considering buying your first home, I say go for it! The time is now. Investing in a home is generally a sound financial decision. Unlike renting, where you're paying someone else, homeownership is an investment in your future.”

As she looks back on her journey, she strongly encourages people to improve their relationship with their finances and think about the future. “Live within your means and carefully consider your finances. Once you do that, you’ll see that owning a home can set you up for success."

If you need more guidance before making the decision, you can always have a look at the right time to buy your first home in Texas.

Meaghan’s first home was closer than she thought. Is yours?

Meaghan went from struggling with her credit score and barely having any savings to settling into a new home in five months. She’s proof that the homeownership journey doesn’t need to be complicated, tedious, or scary. It also doesn’t need to wait to get off that vision board or for a man to be at your side. In fact, her journey has been more empowering than she ever could have imagined because she did it all solo. 

With down payment assistance at your side, perhaps you could make your dream a reality much sooner than you think. Just don’t wait for the next Texas Freeze to push you into taking the leap.

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