A family of five in Winslow can now call a century-old farmhouse in the country their own, as a result of the help and support of USDA Rural Development and partners.

At a celebration at the family’s home on June 9, USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Tommy R. Higgins said, “I am so pleased that Esther and Mark can enjoy homeownership in Winslow. Many couples who are denied a home loan due to credit issues feel overwhelmed and sometimes give up. Esther and Mark are proof that families and individuals can work their way back to good credit, and obtain homeownership, through the Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Program,” according to a news release from Emily Cannon, public information coordinator, Rural Development U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Esther Bullard, new homeowner, said “Homeownership is a deeply satisfying investment. To have a place to call our own, where we can express ourselves and raise our children, is what we wanted most. It was stressful, took a lot of penny-pinching, and at times felt like it would never happen. The effort was completely worth it. We are very excited, both to enjoy a house filled with our own tastes, and to pass this asset on in the future,” according to the release.

During June, National Homeownership Month, the organization publicly recognized homeowners whose determination and effort has resulted in better financial futures.

Bullard and Bouchard first applied for a mortgage several years ago, but were turned down. That did not stop them from dreaming of becoming homeowners.

They worked hard to pay off credit card debt, took a first time homebuyers class through Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, and got their finances in order. They then met with a mortgage specialist at Kennebec Federal Savings Bank, and were pre-approved for a USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Home Loan in a matter of minutes.

The couple watched the real estate market closely for three years, and when they walked out of the bank they already knew their top choices. They chose a home within a week and moved in at the end of May.

For more information on how to apply, contact USDA Rural Development at 990-3676, ext. 4, or visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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