First-time homebuyers celebrate

Down payment assistance program helps people achieve dream of owning a house
BY RICHARD MIZE Real Estate Editor Modified: June 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm •  Published: June 30, 2012

No more things that go bump in the night — or feet that stomp, music that blares or voices that carry — for Jeremiah and Kayleen Burton.

Apartment life, with ceilings that shake and walls that are never thick enough, is over.

They've bought a house.

“It's awesome. It's cool. We can realize a dream and be homeowners at a young age,” said Jeremiah, 25. Kayleen is 24.

They, and 19-month-old daughter Jada, are the faces of homeownership, to hear Dennis Shockley tell it.

The Burtons bought the new house — 1,498 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths, in the Chisholm Village neighborhood near NW 122 and Western Avenue — with 3 ½ percent down payment assistance through the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency. Shockley is the executive director.

Lack of a down payment “is the biggest impediment to homeownership. They're first-time homebuyers, and we're celebrating this with them today,” Shockley said Tuesday at a small ceremony in observance of National Homeownership Month at the Burton home.

The agency has financed more than 40,000 homes since 1980 “for families just like this couple we're with here today,” he said. “We're just very excited for this couple, and they're just representative of many of the families we help each and every year through our network of over 200 lenders statewide that originate the loans for us.”

Little Jada celebrated in a new inflatable wading pool, complete with a baby slide and bright red, blue, green and yellow blow-up umbrella that sprinkles water. Her parents marked the occasion by showing off their house and talking about their favorite spaces.

Kayleen loves the open layout and large kitchen but was quick to brag on their “OSU room” — a bedroom dedicated to all things Oklahoma State University, with their diplomas, awards, plaques and such. OSU is where they met, Kayleen from Fairview, Jeremiah from Enid. Her degree is in elementary education. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in business.

Jeremiah, a claims adjuster for Farmers Insurance, said his main domain is the back yard.

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