“I never thought I would go to school. I never thought I would buy a home… and then it happened,” stated Sarah Pollack, a new graduate and a first-time homebuyer, in amazement.
As a single mom with a son that has cerebral palsy, Sarah had a hard time saving money as she was not able to work full time and take care of her son. She had financial barriers to break-through from the past that were a result of her dropping out of high school and making unsound choices.
Sarah worked as a teacher without benefits and could not find many job opportunities without education. She knew getting a better job would put her on the path for financial wellness and give her the flexibility to care for her son. Getting on this path meant that she needed to finish high school and save enough money for college.
Her first step was a call to NeighborWorks Umpqua where she worked on setting up a small savings account and building her credit. In a few months she transferred the money she saved to an educational savings plan, and soon thereafter finished her GED and then started taking courses at the community college.
Later down the road, her financial coach called and said she had done so well saving that there was extra money. Her coach told her to “dream big” and she asked if she could look at potentially applying it to purchase a home.
She obtained a pre-approval letter for a FHA loan in the Fall of 2020, and as the fires occurred and she quickly found herself competing against multiple offers, and buyers with cash offers. Sarah’s NWU coach ran her credit again and helped her qualify for a conventional loan. She applied for the loan and benefitted from a lower interest rate which saved her money on her monthly payments. Then she received an inside lead to a home that was not yet on the market through a business partner in her new job. The upcoming seller was willing to work with Sarah to negotiate the sale of the home.
She now enjoys living in an established community in Medford where she can see birds outside her window while she works and take afternoon walks in the neighborhood. She has enough yard space to grow vegetables and sit under the shade of her heart shaped eucalyptus tree.
Soon after, Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree with Honors in Accounting. A large company in the northwest region, hired her in an entry level position, where she can further expand her knowledge while working and study for the CPA exam. She loves that she found a job where she can help people, as she was helped, as a “counselor of money.”
Sarah passed on the principles of saving and good spending habits that she learned from NeighborWorks Umpqua to her son. He learned to save money and budget so that he could purchase a practical, stable car for work and school.
“I would not be in this house today if it were not for NeighborWorks Umpqua – I am so grateful. I do not have the means to help my son alone as a single parent. This program has done wonders for our life. It’s an amazing program – changes peoples’ lives.”
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