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Getting mortgage-ready on a single income


07 Jun 2023

After living in a one-bedroom apartment and sharing a bunk bed with her young son, Tanja is thrilled at the prospect of moving into their very own Habitat home.

Since moving to New Zealand five years ago, they have had to rent several places. As a single parent, finding a suitable flatmate situation has been challenging. Renting a whole house wasn’t an affordable option, and choices were limited in regional New Zealand, which led them to share a bedroom and a bunk bed. They dreaded spending another winter in their current home. Tanja says, “It gets freezing cold, damp and the windows are always crying with moisture“. The rental home is also expensive to heat, given its condition.

However, they have received the happy news that their new home will be ready for them to move into in June 2023.

“ As a single mum with a fulltime job my options with banks were limited. But with the support of Habitat, I’m finally able to help myself get us out of our living situation and into a safe and healthy home of our own.”
Tanja and Jack looking out from the window of their new home.

Tanja and her son are looking forward to the community atmosphere of the 14-townhouse development and the sense of security it will bring to live in a contained area with shared communal spaces and a natural chance to get to know their neighbours.

Tanja is especially looking forward to developing the small outdoor area and making the most of the space by creating vertical garden planters. In her native Germany, one must renovate and redecorate before leaving a rental lease, and these skills have come in handy as she undertook the rewarding process of painting their two-bedroom townhouse for Habitat for Humanity Nelson. Each family in this development is required to contribute 375 hours of work towards their home, and Tanja has worked at the Habitat-run Restore as well as spent many hours sanding, painting, and landscaping her new home.

What is she looking forward to?

With the move-in date approaching, she is eager to have a space she can truly make her own. “The first thing I’ll do is turn on the heater“, Tanja adds. And what about her soon-to-be 10-year-old son Jack? “Watching YouTube in my very own room.”

Tanja doesn’t have anything to miss about renting. The lack of security of tenure, rent increases, and worrying about their future have taken a toll on her. Despite working full time in the science industry, she has felt that providing for her family and achieving homeownership and stability were out of reach.

“ Since being selected to partner with Habitat a year ago, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my wellbeing. I feel much happier and more hopeful for the future now that we are working towards moving into and owning our own home.”

Learn more about Habitat Nelson’s rent-to-own Progressive Home Ownership Programme.

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