Couple buys first house in local HUD program

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 26, 2001

Jerry Wayne and Krista Nations made history this month with the purchase of their new home. It was more than just the extraordinary price they paid.

&uot;We had looked at this house last year,&uot; Mrs. Nations said. &uot;It was listed at about $40,000, and we thought that was a lot, considering the work we’d want to do to it.&uot;

Imagine the surprise the couple experienced when a few weeks ago they saw the house featured in The Natchez Democrat as part of a Housing and Urban Development Dollar Homes initiative.

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Here was their chance to get the house and, they reasoned, at a much lower cost. &uot;When I saw the house on the front page of the newspaper, I said ‘there’s my house,’ and I called the very next day to ask about it. I was seventh on the list,&uot; Mrs. Nations said. &uot;We had to bid on it, and, believe it or not, we were the only people to turn in the bid. It was just meant to be.&uot;

For $19,000, the couple bought the house and quickly prepared to move into it with their three children, Thomas Miller, 10, Chaise Nations, 8, and Hunter Nations, 4.

The size of the house, the large yard around it and the location about a mile from Nations Road, where Jerry Wayne’s family lives, suited the family well. &uot;I’ve lived out here for 15 or more years,&uot; he said. &uot;I remember when this house was first built and when they added on to it. It’s been vacant for two years.&uot;

The sale of the house, located in the Cranfield community, marked the first of its kind in Mississippi, said James Johnston, head of community development projects for the city. &uot;This has been the only one available in our area so far since the program began in May 2000.&uot;

The way the program works is that HUD sells to local governments for $1 properties that have been acquired through Federal Housing Administration foreclosure actions. The FHA targets properties that have been listed on the market for six months or longer.

Local governments then may rent or sell the properties to low- and moderate-income families, first-time homebuyers or to groups who will use the houses to provide services such as child care centers or job-training centers.

From the $19,000 the Nations family paid for the house, a few expenses were deducted, such as sharing of appraisal costs. Bottom line? The city received $17,590 to add to community development projects, Johnston said.

What a prospective buyer might imagine would be a complicated bureaucratic nightmare, was not at all, Mrs. Nations said. &uot;We had so many good people helping us,&uot; she said.

At United Mississippi Bank, where the financing was arranged, the paper work landed on the desk of loan officer Lynn Case. &uot;She was wonderful,&uot; Mrs. Nations said. &uot;If there was a problem, she’d fix it. She never complained. And she’d call and leave a message for me to say, ‘relax, Krista; don’t worry; the house is yours.’ She watched over everything.&uot;

Mrs. Nations, with the help of friends and family, has scrubbed the house from top to bottom. &uot;It really was pretty rough on the inside with dust and spider webs. Someone else might have thought it was too much work,&uot; she said.

Her husband is concentrating on the outside for now, and on Saturday he was busy in the front yard filling holes and working on the driveway. He has plans for a small building behind the house that will be useful once hunting season begins.

As for the children, the new place is a paradise, Mrs. Nations said. &uot;It is a blessing to let them rip and romp.&uot;

In her view, the HUD dollar-house program, dubbed the City of Natchez Good Neighbor Program for local identification, is a winner. &uot;The guidelines make it possible for the families out there who really need the extra help,&uot; she said.