The program that put one Idaho woman on the path to homeownership

Kiesha needed a fresh start. She was starting over after leaving an abusive relationship and regaining custody of her daughters. She had secured a place to live, thanks to a Housing Choice Voucher. However, she always dreamed of owning her own place. See how the Family Self-Sufficiency program made the dream of homeownership a reality for her.

The caring customer service approach that netted a customer for life

Katie was stuck. After a situation at work left her with a significant cut in income, her once affordable mortgage payment was suddenly a massive expense. She had been in her home for about a year and loved everything about it. The thought of losing it was a fear that was growing by the day. What happened next surprised her.

Katie meets with members of the HomeLoanServ team
Katie meets with members of the HomeLoanServ team

Katie decided to call HomeLoanServ, who was responsible for servicing her loan. Although she felt humiliated and stressed by her financial situation, she wanted them to know she wasn’t trying to run from the problem. She discussed how her income had taken a big hit after the loss of several clients and how her mortgage payment, which had always been affordable, was now overwhelming and something she was constantly stressed about. She talked about the missed payments and how she wanted to make her loan current. The loan servicing agent she was talking to, immediately tried to put her at ease.

“The experience was pretty incredible,” said Katie. “I felt like I was being heard and respected. I felt like a valued customer, not just another number.”

The agent told Katie that a loan modification might be the best path forward. The changes made during that process reduced her monthly mortgage payment significantly, to the point that Katie calls comfortable, saying she never stresses about making her payment anymore. She also says the modification forbearance put her monthly payments on hold briefly, allowing her to use the money to pay off her other debts, putting her on solid financial footing when the payments resumed.

“When I got the call to tell me what the modification arrangements were, I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. You guys couldn’t do anything more. You can’t imagine, to be blessed in that way. They cried on the phone with me.”

Good customer service is something that HomeLoanServ strives for. Every day, our loan counselors work with thousands of customers, spread out across 8 different states. We have an entire team dedicated to working with customers like Katie, to make sure their concerns are heard and addressed in the best way possible.

“We work together with all departments to reach our goal,” says Fabiola Chavez, Customer Service Manager with HomeLoanServ. “Customer satisfaction is very important to us and that starts with us all working together as One Team, One Vision, One Goal.” 

Katie says she hopes to be a HomeLoanServ customer for life. “Please don’t sell my loan… EVER,” she told us. She says she would recommend HomeLoanServ to anyone “in a heartbeat.” Beyond the great customer service, Katie says she feels good knowing the people she works with are Idahoans, just like her.

“It’s great to be supporting Idaho workers and knowing our local people are employed,” said Katie. “My heart is full because my mortgage is in Idaho and I get to work with such AMAZING people!!”

Finally Home! helps homeowners get off to a smart start

Joshua spent years looking for his home in the Treasure Valley. After spending more than two years reducing debt, better tracking spending habits, and increasing his income, he decided he was ready to get serious about buying. He met with Kendra Graybeal, Senior Mortgage Consultant at Evergreen Home Loans, to discuss his options. Like many first-time homebuyers, Joshua felt overwhelmed by the process.

“No matter how many times someone explained any part of the process to me, it was hard to understand,” he said. 

To help support first-time and move-up homebuyers, Idaho Housing provides Finally Home!, a home buyer education course that prepares students for the responsibility of homeownership. For Joshua, taking Finally Home! gave him a clear, unbiased understanding of what it means to be a homeowner.

“I really enjoyed having dedicated time to think about the big picture,” Joshua said. “This is what it takes to buy a home, here’s everything it entails; if you can’t do these things, you probably shouldn’t buy a home. It didn’t scare you into getting a home right away. They want you to be sure it’s something you can do.”

Empowered by homebuyer education and down payment assistance, Joshua closed on a home and began moving in earlier this year.   

Joshua has two recommendations for first-time buyers:

First, don’t bite off more than you can chew for your first home. “When I was looking for a home, I tried to go after the homes I really loved but couldn’t afford,” he said. “Being realistic is one of the most important things during the process.”

Second, if you’re feeling stuck financially, do some research and explore your options. Joshua said his conversations with Graybeal opened up opportunities that he didn’t think were possible. Oftentimes first-time homebuyers aren’t aware of all the financing options available to them; talking with a lender can help you better understand your options. It might end up being the difference between renting and owning, like it was for Joshua.