A Home to Call Our Own

Jessica and Joseph Bembry are the winners of our fourth annual homeownership contest

Declining home sales created a buyer’s market for the Bembrys. Still, the couple chose to walk a disciplined line. “We didn’t want to be in a position where we’d have to turn around and sell the property because we had purchased something we couldn’t afford,” says Jessica. “We were willing to walk away if we couldn’t have it our way.”

The couple explains that they wouldn’t allow themselves to get talked into custom options, such as bay windows or an upgraded kitchen. They went with the standard four bedrooms, two-car garage, and backyard to avoid incurring additional costs and a higher mortgage.

Jessica, 44, says it helps that she and Joseph, 51, are an older couple who began their relationship with conversations centered around their financial situations and life goals. “It was important for me to have a partner who was traveling in the same direction I was. We were very honest with each other,” says Jessica, who was married once before at age 19 and has a 23-year-old daughter, Lyza.

The duo has not always been on the same financial page. Joseph has been money-conscious all his life. “My mother was a big saver,” he says. “I paid cash for everything. At one point I didn’t have any credit history.” Once he established credit he worked hard to maintain a good standing. Jessica, on the other hand, admits to making some poor choices, spending more of her income than she saved early in her career, which includes a 13-year Navy stint. “When I looked at my wasteful pattern and realized it wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go,” Jessica says, “I began to undo some of the damage I had done so that I could purchase a home.”

Aiding in their quest was the ability to capitalize on the first development phase of a new community, Woodburn Estates, which was completed last October. Using the developer’s in-house mortgage company, NVR Mortgage Finance Inc., which allowed for a more simplified financing process, the couple received a competitive mortgage rate (the mortgage has since been transferred to Countrywide Home Loans).

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  • All2familr

    Congrats to the Bembry’s. This is such a great blessing…and a positive step in the right direction for financial soundness and planning together for their future. As newlyweds, how exciting it must be to win!!!