An Interview with Arcelia “Chello” Gladden

Home ownership means the fulfillment of a dream for many, but for Arcelia “Chello” Gladden, buying her first home also gave her an injection of self-confidence.

“I’m so pleased with myself, because I did it on my own. I didn’t have a husband. So I really did this on my own and with all the help of Coastal Housing Partnership (CHP) and my work,” she says. At the time she bought her first home in Lompoc, in 2003, Gladden had been working at Raytheon in Goleta for 29 years and renting the same home in Santa Barbara for 15 years.

Her rental unit was sold and the new landlord raised the rent considerably, which made Gladden think that it might be time for her to become a homeowner.

She went to an employer-sponsored CHP seminar and came away convinced that it was time for her to take the plunge. “I listened to them and they just put a bug in my ear. I just thought to myself, I’ve got to do something. I’m going to end up probably homeless. Because we weren’t getting any raises and my rent was going up, up, up. It was not a good thing,” she says.

Gladden looked around, but she was reluctant to move to Lompoc, even though it was more affordable than Santa Barbara. “I hated the idea, but I needed to invest my money.”

CHP sent her to speak with a loan officer at Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, who helped lead the way. Gladden used her pension money to purchase the four-bedroom home for “a little under $300,000.” Shortly after her first seminar with CHP, Gladden, her recently divorced daughter and grandchildren moved in.

Two years later, in 2005, the house’s value had increased by more than $100,000. Now an enthusiastic believer in real estate investments, Gladden refinanced the house using CHP benefits and used that money to buy a second house in Lompoc that she rents to her daughter.

Gladden has nothing but praise for CHP and frequently urges her colleagues to take advantage of their services. “I found them very, very helpful to me. I wouldn’t have done it without them.”

Originally published in the Coastal Housing Partnership Newsletter

An Interview with Jonathan and Kathy Abad

The third time may be the charm for most people, but Jonathan and Kathy Abad had to go through eight unclosed escrows on different houses in order to finally buy their home in Goleta last year with the help of Coastal Housing Partnership (CHP).

Unlike many first-time homebuyers, the Abads had some real estate experience when they came to CHP for assistance, having purchased, upgraded and sold several mobile homes in the area while building up equity to buy a house of their own.

Since 1987, we would move just about every two years to maximize our profits, explained Kathy, who works for Hispanic Business Inc. Once they felt they had built up enough capital, they looked at homes for about a year and a half before finally purchasing their home.

“We basically wanted the biggest amount of property for our buck,” said Kathy. Plus, as parents of two young children, they wanted at least three bedrooms, plus a den to use as a home office.

“We saved a good 12 grand (working with CHP),” said Jonathan. The Abads worked with realtor Kristiann Wightman, (who owns Presidio Properties, a Homebuyers Assistance Program Participating Organization, which offers buyers back 40% of the broker commission) and though they didn’t get a mortgage loan through CHP, they got a discounted loan from a friend who matched the price of CHP’s discount.

In addition to the cost savings from CHP, the Abads were impressed with the educational services offered.

“If we would have known about them five years earlier, it would have really helped us out to learn faster than we would have on our own,” said Jonathan, who works for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. “They are there to really answer your questions and you’re not learning from a specific realtor that has a vested interest …you are getting a lot of point of views from people at these kind of workshops.”

He added, “I wish I knew about this six, seven years ago when we started doing this. It would have saved us so much work.”

Originally published in the Coastal Housing Partnership Newsletter