Robert and Chasity Woody are first-time homebuyers in their early 30s. The Woodys have two beautiful daughters – four-year-old Calie and one-year-old Aria – who love to play and didn’t hesitate at all to invite us to play with them for a while.
Robert is a Navy combat veteran who served in Operation: Iraqi Freedom, working on aircraft carriers. He now works in the corrections department in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Chasity is a stay-at-home mom. You can tell that she enjoys photography from the gorgeous prints of her children on the walls, and the telescope in the corner illustrates her interest in astronomy.
The Woodys were previously renting, and their situation was unsustainable. Their monthly utility bills ballooned to between $300 and $400, and their rent put an extreme burden on their finances. The landlord would often let water and other utilities lapse into disrepair, and there was too little space for their growing family in the small unit.
They knew that it was time to move forward.
Robert and Chastity went to their local USDA office for financing, and after completing homebuyer education, they were pre-approved for their home loan. Robert felt better prepared after learning so much from homebuyer education. While they had been approved for financing, they couldn’t find an existing home to meet their needs, and housing prices were high – and rising – in Asheville. At this point, their USDA representative pointed the Woodys toward Mountain Housing Opportunities – a Next Step Network member – and they immediately set up an appointment to meet with the staff.
After meeting with Self-Help Homeownership Manager Joe Quinlan and his team, the Woodys decided that a new modular home in Mars Hill, about 20 minutes north of Asheville, would best suit their needs. The community, overlooking Mars Hill University, has breathtaking scenery and a long walking loop.
Robert and Chasity enjoyed the process of buying their Next Step home. They loved being able to customize their home by choosing colors, textures and patterns. The family often visited the site to watch the installation process, and they moved in the day after the driveway was complete. Robert and Chastity were so excited to move into their new home, they walked their belongings into the home from the road before the drive was set.
Since moving in, their utility bills have been less than $80 a month, and the mortgage payment is significantly less than their previous rent. Robert and Chasity are saving money, putting aside savings for family trips and their daughters’ education.
Their story is the Next Step story: creating the opportunity for people to own their own homes, building better lives for themselves and their families.