As Carletha and Eugene (Gene) Nathan recount their history of being “ripped off” when trying to buy a house, we can’t help but feel the pain. That pain has now turned to joy and disbelief as they work towards buying their forever home.
The Nathans have been together for 40 years. They’ve raised five children, are the proud grandparents of 20 and the great-grandparents of six! Their dream of homeownership has been front and center for most of those years.
Way back when they were both working and raising their family, they moved into a “rent to own” property. But Carletha started to get seizures and their world began to turn upside down. She couldn’t work and was put on expensive medication. Gene had to cut his work hours to be her rock; they moved into a rental property and then relocated from Orlando to Sanford, where Eugene’s mom was able to check on Carletha while he worked.
Such was their saga of long-term rentals, only the most recent of which was a good experience. Carletha’s health had stabilized to the point that, after 18 years, she began working part-time in an elementary school cafeteria. Gene’s health and eyes, though, had deteriorated and he could no longer see. Surgery improved this, but he has been unable to work. Life turned 180 degrees and SHE became HIS rock these past 18 years.
Still bent on buying, they put down money for a “first-time homebuyer” program, went to a class, got a fancy certificate, and…NOTHING! It was a scam, as were several other “opportunities.” “Everything we think is legit, we end up getting bamboozled,” says Gene.
No wonder Carletha threw out the Habitat Seminole-Apopka postcard when it came in the mail. But, when a second card came, she thought someone above might be telling her something. The couple applied, got their finances in order, and were accepted into our Homebuyers Program. Still doubting, they asked a friend if she’s, “sure they’re for real?” The friend – a Habitat homeowner – assured them the program was “for real.” They began their journey in November 2021. How do they feel now? “This is heaven-sent. You guys are legit, and we stand behind you like you stand behind us,” says Gene. “I feel overwhelmed and joyful,” adds Carletha. “FINALLY, we’ll own a house!”