The last time Linda owned a home was in 2008, with her then-husband. They lost their home that year, thanks to what she describes as a “bad mortgage,” like so many other Americans. Not long after, she was a single mom, raising her teenage son alone.
Now, in 2021, she lives in her dream home, a townhome in Chapel Hill’s Ballentine neighborhood. Her end unit has a side yard where her two dogs can play, and her son even got married in a field in the neighborhood last April. She describes her neighborhood as “sweet and vibrant” and says it feels like a family.
How did Linda find her way from South Florida to her dream home in Chapel Hill?
“Chapel Hill has always felt like a diamond to me,” she explains, and she says she knew from the time she visited a friend here 10 years before she bought her home that she wanted to relocate here. A teacher for 23 years, Linda first got a job working in Durham Public Schools when she moved to North Carolina, but behavior issues with students drove her away. As she searched for her next opportunity and wrestled with whether to stay in teaching or move into another field later in her career, she happened upon North Carolina Cyber Academy, a fully virtual public charter school. She’s been a high school social studies teacher there since fall 2018, and she says that “what’s beautiful about NCCA is that as a teacher I now have a closer relationship with my students and their parents than I ever did in person.” While many families have made the transition to virtual or other non-traditional school over the past year, Linda and her students were already thriving in a fully remote setting long before the pandemic necessitated it. For her students, many of whom are artistic performers, athletes, or have disabilities or learning differences, the non-traditional model is a perfect fit.
Once Linda qualified for CHT’s homeownership program, the process moved very quickly. She says that Deanna Carson, our Homeownership Program Manager who passed away about a year ago, “was an angel. She had her way of getting to know you, and sometimes I felt like she knew me better than my own friends. She understood me as a mother, and she looked at my history and thought, ‘What this woman has been through, we have to get her what she needs.’ I felt like I gave my need up to her, and she said, ‘I’m going to take care of this.’ And she did.” Linda’s home was the first one she looked at, and when she walked in, she knew immediately that she had found “the one.” Her son felt the same way. Once Deanna had matched Linda with the house, Amy Slaughter, our Sales Manager, “held [her] hand through the whole process, answering every tiny little question [she] had without hesitation and always with kind encouragement along the way.”
Linda is now a member of the neighborhood HOA, and she is Community Home Trust’s liaison with the board. Every day, she walks her dogs past the field right in the neighborhood where her son got married, and it’s a daily confirmation for her that she’s right where she’s supposed to be.
Since she bought her home in 2018, CHT has continued to support Linda. She says that Ian Morse, our Property Manager, “was so sweet and caring, and wonderful to have here for me when I first moved in. Just to know that I could reach out whenever I had a question was a blessing.” With Ian’s help and the home maintenance classes he teaches, Linda says she feels much more confident with homeownership maintenance troubleshooting than she did when she first bought her home.
“The thing people who aren’t with Community Home Trust don’t understand is that they’re your best friend, and they’re really there to take care of you.”