Abio Cares: Donate to Help Clean Up A Veteran’s First Home for the Holidays
After 62-year-old Army veteran Eddie Mitchell and his disabled wife Ve learned the rent on their Antioch apartment would be doubled this past spring, they didn’t think they’d ever find secure housing again.
But then Abio Properties Realtor Mariah Bradford and a caring community stepped in to help.
Here’s the story about how Eddie and Ve were able to buy their first home, and how you can help them clean, repair, and move in, just in time for the holidays…
By Mariah Bradford
Eddie is 62 years old and a U.S. Army Veteran. He has never owned a home in his life; always a renter, and struggling to make ends meet with his job at Home Depot. He was told by a lender that he would “never buy a home in California” because of the expense and he should “just give up or move.”
Then a crisis hit this spring when his landlord almost DOUBLED his rent.
His sister (who I helped with a real estate transaction two years ago) told him to call me. When I heard his story, I was so angry that I decided come hell or high water we would get Eddie and Ve a home. Otherwise, they would always be at the whim of a landlord and never able to have equity or security…
How to help:
A scrappy, rock-turning, creative lender I know at Land Home Financial (Angela Erves) pulled together a VA loan for Eddie that would be almost impossible for me to pull off because of the price point and conditions. BUT HE WAS PRE-APPROVED!
We searched for a home to buy and wrote offers for nine months, looking as far away as Sacramento. It wasn’t easy. The most they could afford was $210,000 – crazy low for the Bay Area where the median home price is $996,000.
Another nearly unsurmountable barrier: Finding a seller and listing agent willing to take a VA buyer. There is a lot of fear/prejudice around VA loans in particular and even FHA loans from uneducated Realtors and sellers who do not understand the process or the appraisal and who think it will be much harder on them. (They are using old or wrong information. I probably have completed 80 escrows in the past few years that were FHA or VA loans without any problems.)
Finally, in October a dream place hit the market right around the corner from where they live now. When the seller accepted our offer, I literally burst into tears.
On Nov. 15, the miracle happened! Eddie closed escrow on a condominium in Antioch – the first home purchase of his life.
It’s single-story for Ve, has two bedrooms and baths, and, best of all, an inside laundry (something they never dreamed of having!).
Now I’m seeking community donations to help Eddie and Ve with move-in costs, because this place is far from move-in ready.
I can’t even describe how badly it SMELLS. And I would not step on that filthy carpet barefoot for anything!
The condo has been a Section 8 rental for many years. It is very dirty, with many areas in need of repair. At a minimum, they need new carpet, paint, and repairs to the kitchen. Doors are falling off hinges, and anything metal is rusted.
My goal is to raise $5,000 for renovating Eddie’s home as much as possible before Thanksgiving.
If we raise more than $5,000 it will be used towards dual pane windows and/or HVAC. Any surplus not used directly for Eddie’s home will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Please help me help a veteran in need, and let’s give Eddie a clean, beautiful FIRST home.
UPDATE: Thanksgiving week was a big one for Eddie’s and Ve’s new home! Richmond Pallet donated floor tiles for the bathroom and kitchen, and Christiansen Fasteners of Livermore donated 20 gallons of paint. The kitchen is under renovation, which included tackling surprise mold and mice issues. A small crew has been working fast and hard to install new sheetrock, cabinets, doors, hardware, appliances, and carpet. Keep those donations rolling in!
Abio Properties is a boutique real estate agency with offices in Oakland and Lafayette. Our Realtors and staff are committed to giving back to the East Bay community through individual charity work and our Abio Cares volunteer program. Our volunteers donate their time to coastal cleanups, winter coat drives, animal rescues (Take Me Home Tuesdays), packing food at the Alameda County Community food bank, and so much more. Contact us to learn more at 888-400-ABIO (2246) or firstname.lastname@example.org.