Success Stories

My wife and I lived together in her apartment for the duration of our eight month engagement.  We are both in our early thirties, so this wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary.  And after our honeymoon, when we came back to our kids and apartment and jobs, we started to think about and plan for the future.  We had a pretty good plan.  But it was going to take time.  Because while both of us are High School and College graduates, we work blue-collar jobs and have a modest income.  And living expenses aren’t exactly cheap these days, especially when you have three kids. So our plan was a long-term one.

We wanted to purchase a home, and start paying for something that was our own instead of just paying rent for another month.  So we did some research.  We looked at our credit scores and our bank accounts, trying to figure out just what kind of home we could afford.  We used tools found on the internet to calculate how much money we could realistically borrow from a home loan lender, and what kind of expenses came with home ownership.  When we had a pretty good idea of what we could afford, we again turned to the internet, this time to look at homes for sale in our area that fit our proposed budget.  While there were a lot of homes in our area for sale, most of them that were in neighborhoods that we wouldn’t want our children growing up in or were either out of our price range or listed as “fixer uppers”.  We knew we didn’t want to take out a mortgage and purchase a home only to spend even more money trying to fix everything that may be wrong with it.  We didn’t want to worry about putting a new roof on a home after five years of owning it.  So we were starting to reevaluate our plan.  We thought about waiting, and trying again in a few years when our jobs were better and we had more savings.

And we almost decided to do just that when my wife came upon a house while looking online.  It was in a good neighborhood, and was just in our price range.  But it was brand new.  I say “but” because at the time the only thing I could think was, “What’s the catch?”.  I dismissed it as either a typo or a scam.  I mean, where in Pinellas County can you find a brand new three bedroom home for $155k? Not anywhere I knew of.  But my wife, thankfully for us, was more optimistic than I was.  So when she asked me to check it out the next day that’s exactly what I did. By the end of the week we knew all about Bright Community Trust, had done some research on their program and the land-lease, and had seen some other homes that they had for sale.  We looked at a few of them, the only real detractor of any being their location.  We lived in Clearwater, and a few of the homes we saw were in Seminole.  I was talking to Marquaz, and I asked him about other homes they might have for sale in the area.  He told me that there was a home that they were planning to put on the market in a few weeks, but that it wasn’t ready just yet.  When he told me where it was I couldn’t believe it.  The home was exactly 1.2 miles from our apartment.  When my wife and I went and looked at it we fell in love.

We talked with Marquaz and Dania, and with their help we went through the application process.  They were so good to us, and not only answered all of our questions, but went above and beyond to make sure we had every possible assistance that we needed.  When we found out we were approved for the Bright Communities Program, we were overjoyed.  We then set out to get approved for financing.  I called a half a dozen mortgage lenders, but only one called me back.  When we applied for our home loan with Steve Stapleton at VanDyk Mortgage, we knew we were one step closer to owning this beautiful home.  We were pre-approved the same day, and set out to put in a contract on our new home. While we were in the mortgage approval process, we attended a First time home buyer class and obtained a lot of very useful knowledge that has helped us immensely.  We also worked with TampaBay CDC, and obtained down payment assistance to help us with the purchase of our new home.  Before we knew it, the day had come that we closed on our new home.  Both my wife and I are so thankful and feel truly blessed to have this home, where we will make a life time of memories with each other and our children.  We never thought we would be able to purchase a new home, and certainly while we were still in our thirties! Bright Community Trust has truly made our dreams come true.  Not only that, but our children have a wonderful and beautiful home to grow up in!  I cannot thank enough all of the people who worked to make this dream come true for us! Dania and Marquaz at Bright Community, Yuki Yamasaki with ReMax, Phil McHenry with Hopsitality Realty, Steve and Rose at VanDyk Mortgage, and Carrie at TampaBay CDC, and all the other people who helped us have our thanks!

Jesse C., New Homeowner

Read the full St. Petersburg Tribune story.

I just got my first house and this wouldn’t of been possible without the help of Dania. I want to take the time to thank her because she was so helpful throughout the whole process. She always explained everything where I could understand every step. I also want to thank Marquaz for the class he gave on homeownership. I thought those 8 hours would’ve been very long and dreadful but on the contrary, they were interesting and educational. He did an amazing job. I never thought an 8 hour class would’ve been as entertaining as it was. Thank you Bright Community Trust team. It made it possible for me to become a homeowner and I hope this program continues to help other families.

Ashley C.

Dania is so sweet and knowledgeable! Just had our first meeting and I’m excited to move through the process of saving and learning all we can before purchasing our first home. She let us know exactly what to expect. Thank you!!

Jessica D.
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