How an Affordable Mortgage Helped This Indiana Millennial Buy a Place of His Own

Phil Sajn, 31, moved back to his parents’ Munster, Indiana home in 2013 to work full time and save for a home of his own. He wanted to live in the town where he’d grown up and where his three brothers were already raising families. Recently, he learned about a low down payment mortgage from Fannie Mae that was cost-effective and made homeownership affordable. You can watch this video or keep reading below to learn more about his story.

Phil’s Journey to Home Ownership

Phil Sajn is typical of many Millennials (ages 18-34) who move back home after college or when just starting out in their career. He moved away to college in his 20s and later purchased a home in Illinois. But in 2013, he decided to move back to Munster to live closer to his family. His timing was ideal since his father was in the planning phases of opening a new micro-brewery in nearby Hammond, Indiana. Phil was hired to plan the menu and run the kitchen once the brewery was open.

By December 2015, Phil had saved enough for a down payment on a home or condo. He contacted Maria McShane, a long-time family friend and local real estate agent, to help him with the home buying process. Maria held a buyer consult with Phil to determine his needs, and agreed he was ready financially. They visited several potential homes but Phil “fell in love with” a condo just a few miles from his parents and brothers.

Phil prepares paperwork for his new mortgage.
Phil prepares paperwork for his new mortgage.

With that property in mind, Maria put Phil in touch with Michael Conley at Lake Mortgage, a mortgage bank company she works with often. Lake Mortgage gathered information over the phone to “run Phil’s numbers” for a preapproval. The preapproval would help Phil narrow his home search to those in his price range and would let sellers know his offer was a serious one in cases where there were multiple bids for a property.

“From the get-go I loved working with Michael. He’s very honest and open and got everything accomplished very quickly,” says Phil.

Phil dropped the documentation by on a Sunday and was able to meet in person with the loan officer. During that meeting, Michael mentioned Fannie Mae’s HomeReady mortgage to Phil – a new program targeting the home buying needs of low- to middle-income borrowers, meaning their income is at or below the area median income or AMI. Put simply, the AMI for an area means half the residents make more, and half make less than that amount.

HomeReady is a good fit for Lake Mortgage, explains Michael, because many local households earn at or below the 80 percent threshold. “Our average loan is $145,000, and in this area, 80 percent of the max medium income is $69,800 or an hourly rate of about $29/hour. We have a lot of neighbors here who would fit that profile,” Michael says.

Once the numbers were crunched, Phil was identified as a candidate for HomeReady. “We explained the HomeReady program to Phil and how it could save him money on the cost of the loan and mortgage insurance,” Michael says.

At the end of the day Phil opted to put five percent down, which allowed him to hold on to some of the money he’d saved for the down payment. “By using HomeReady, he saved one and a half points or the equivalent of a quarter percent interest rate,” Michael adds.

In addition to the low down payment, HomeReady lets lenders consider income from additional sources, such as extended household members or boarders. “It’s not uncommon for us to find households with several adults working,” Michael says.

Phil closed on his new condo in January 2016. Says Phil: “I like the layout and proximity to everything.” The condo is situated along a bike path that leads to Centennial Park, which has a golf course, soccer fields, and a lake.

“It’s great to be back here in Munster near my family and friends and starting my life.”

Laura Haverty is an author of three non-fiction books and journalist who spent more than 25 years in the publishing industry. As Fannie Mae’s editor in chief, she covers mortgage industry news and trends for Know Your Options, The Home Story, and Housing Industry Forum. You can follow Fannie Mae on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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