“I wish…” “If only…” “It’d be great if…” We’ve all said these words at one point or another. Frequently, these phrases are followed by “but”, “I can’t”, “maybe later.” So many of us never reach our dreams or potential because we get stuck on the “but” out of fear, lack of knowledge, or a host of other mental blocks. Often, we shut down, or we give up without even trying.
But Guillian’s story didn’t end that way.
Guillian’s journey began in 2007, when at age 11 her family relocated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. “It was a scary and frustrating time, as I didn’t know a word of English, and had to quickly adapt to a new language and culture while enrolled in public school,” she recalls. The family ultimately gained U.S. citizenship in 2017 after navigating through mountains of immigration paperwork, legal bumps and confusion. Yet, Guillian and her family persisted. That determination to emerge from the unknown would serve Guillian well in the years to come.
Fast-forward to 2020. At 24 years old, Guillian was busy taking a full course load toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, while also working full-time as a human resources technician. Looming in the background, her parents were going through a divorce; and Guillian, her mother and younger brother found themselves at a crossroads. They learned that the family home would have to be sold, and they faced the uncertainty of where and how to live. Once again, Guillian found herself in unknown territory. “We didn’t know where we’d end up and whether we could afford a space that gave my mom and brother their own rooms, not to mention be able to house our German Shepherd, Juicy,” she said.
A search of potential rental properties proved frustrating, as Guillian and her family discovered how hard it could be to find places that would accept large-breed dogs, and rental rates were often comparable to mortgage payments for a home large enough for three adults. At the same time, she noticed new homes were being built directly across the street from her soon-to-be former home and felt an “intuitive, uncanny pull” toward one house in particular. She dismissed the thought initially, believing there was no way she could even dream purchasing it, nor would she even know where to start. But the thought kept coming back. So, Guillian decided to step out of her comfort zone and try to seek help navigating around her nagging mental blocks.
“Initially I did not believe it was possible for me, and that I was not ready as I did not have at least $10,000 for a down payment,” said Guillian. “DreamKey Partners facilitated securing the down payment assistance I needed to make my dream possible.”
In December 2020, Guillian and her family moved into that home across the street: a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom house with a spacious living area and backyard ample enough for Juicy to run and play. The home was built with energy-saving features, which keeps her utility bills in line; and because it’s a new construction, maintenance costs are low. “My favorite space is the master bedroom,” she remarks. “It is so peaceful; I feel like I have my own piece of heaven.”
Today, Guillian loves sharing her story so others can see what is possible when you push yourself to overcome your fears. It’s her way of “paying it forward.” She emphasizes that just because your finances aren’t where you’d like them to be, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start your homebuying quest. She offers these tips:
1) Ask for help; ask the questions. There are experts who can help.
2) Approach the process with diligence and an open mind.
3) Be patient. The process can be lengthy, but oh so worth it.
“There are people who are unaware of the resources that exist to buy a home,” said Guillian. “I would love it if more people could reach their dream of home ownership and be able to tap into all the help that is available. Owning a home is a great investment not only in the present, but it also creates generational wealth. I believe we can all succeed if we help each other.”
When asked about how her journey has affected her personally, Guillian downplays her tremendous accomplishment. “I feel a sense not so much of accomplishment but of peace, knowing that this is our home,” she said.
Welcome home, Guillian.