A home of one's one is the ultimate goal as I talked about in the first two SharePosts in this three-part series. Being able to afford a home is the difference between shattering into homelessness and finding a sense of security and stability in your recovery
Your apartment is the command center of your life. Years ago, I lived in a housing complex in a dangerous neighborhood on the outskirts of town. Cracks vials littered the hallways. I'm glad I've come a long way from then.
Buying a home could be an option for some of us so I want to talk about this now.
The New York State agency SONYMA offers a 4 percent interest rate to people with psychiatric conditions who are first-time homebuyers. It's the Home Of Your Own (HOYO) program. It is offered through the Department of Mental Health in Albany. You need to meet the requirements and get financial counseling; however, once those things are in place, you qualify.
Yes, you are entitled to this program only because you have a psychiatric condition.
Investigate whether your state has a similar program. If it doesn't, and even if it does, keep your credit score as high as possible so that you'll get a sweeter deal on your interest rate. To get a better deal from a lender, your FICO score should be 740 or higher. The lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate.
What I can tell you: real estate agents are sellers. They want to get their commission so will often use pressure on you. Get your own agent to represent you as the buyer. Have him or her get the answers to your questions promptly from the seller's agent.
Be as dispassionate as you can and don't take it personally how you're treated if you're treated in a way that seems less than respectful. You're not talking to friends. Soon you will not see these people again. Remember: it's a business transaction. That's all it is: they want their money and you want your house.
It goes without saying not to tell the seller of the apartment and any of the agents or anyone else involved that you have a mental illness. You definitely keep it private at all times. The co-op board you meet with will screen you out or in. The board will determine if they let you in the building. It is possible they will not. Be professional and dress smart when you have the meeting.
You can be hit with an unexpected assessment when you own a co-op or condo so be prepared to have a significant emergency fund should you need to cover the cost of the assessments or home repairs.
It will be stressful searching for a new home, regardless of whether you plan to rent or buy your place. I suggest that you don't tinker with or change your medication routine while you're conducting this search unless it's absolutely necessary. Rely on your support network when you go on the hunt. I did this and I also attended a peer support meeting as often as I could.