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Mary Bland, Troy

Single mother and long-time renter Mary Bland needed more space for her teenage son, a varsity athlete, to practice. Bland said her 16-year-old son has always wanted a backyard to play in. "He is a great kid and does not ask for much," she said.

Realtor Janice Blakeney of Advantage Realty helped Bland find a newly-constructed home in a developing Troy subdivision.
 
"Some of the things I was looking for in a home were three bedrooms, more cabinet space, and a safe neighborhood," said Bland.
 
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom patio home, built by Matthew McIntyre of Delta Land, LLC.,was the perfect fit. The house is located in the quiet Deer Stand Hill subdivision only minutes from Bland's job as a bookkeeper at a regional community mental health facility.
 
For financing, Bland sought help from Anchor Mortgage in Montgomery. Loan officer Reba Curtis recommended Bland apply for an innovative offering by AHFA, the Alabama Home Buyer Initiative.
 
The Alabama Home Buyer Initiative was a mortgage enhancement offered in conjunction with AHFA's Step Up mortgage program. Participating borrowers were able to benefit from Step Up's 30-year, fixed-rate financing and down payment assistance as well as private mortgage insurance (PMI) provided at no cost to the homebuyer via AHBI. During its year-long run ending in March 2015, AHBI assisted more than 1,600 homebuyers and generated approximately $243 million in home sales.
 
Bland said Step Up's financing and down payment assistance made it affordable for her to purchase a home. She noted that her house payment is only slightly higher than the rent she had been paying.
 
"This was the easiest and most rewarding experience," she said. "I have told everyone I know that this was a piece of cake. This was easier than purchasing a car."
 
Bland and her son moved in on the same day her loan closed and are enjoying their home as much as they had hoped.
 
"We love our new home," said Bland. "My son and I go into the backyard and throw the football, and I also play catch with him."