October Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center Newsletter

Space & Accessibility for Maddie

For most families, the prospect of buying a home is daunting, but exciting. They look forward to going to see homes and picking out the perfect fit for them. For Ian and Sarah Kennedy, the prospect of buying a home was simultaneously critical and impossible. Ian and Sarah’s sixteen-year-old daughter Maddie has disabilities and was struggling in their small three-bedroom apartment that was not accessible. She couldn’t even get into some rooms, including the kitchen, which limited the activities the family could do together. And because they rented the apartment, they couldn’t make any physical changes to the property.

Of course they dreamed of moving, but it seemed a financial impossibility, since they were living on one income. Then the apartment complex was sold and the neighborhood deteriorated quickly. Ian and Sarah knew they had to do something to improve the quality of life for Maddie and improve the safety for all of them.

That’s when they contacted the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center. The staff listened to their story and encouraged them to pursue homeownership. They were pleasantly shocked to find they could not only afford to own a home, but their mortgage payment would be $150 less than their rent payment.

The staff at the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center kept an open line of communication with Ian and Sarah, giving them realistic time estimates, and dealing with them pleasantly throughout all their many questions.

The new house has plenty of room for Maddie to get around in her wheelchair, and they even have enough room to invite friends and family over, which was something they’d never been able to do in their apartment. They are looking forward to the holidays: their first Christmas in their new home. They’ll even be able to put up lights outside!

The Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center made the impossible a reality, and a family is now able to function and live in safety for the first time in years!

Cleaning the Gutters

After nearly a decade of being a home owner I’ve seen a lot. From a furnace breakdown on Thanksgiving morning to a sump-pump blowout 8 hours after I had surgery. But the vast majority of home repairs, big or small, are preventable with some regular, easy maintenance. October is a great month as the fall season begins. My family looks forward every year to pumpkin picking and backyard campfires. Fall is great, but it’s also the time when leaves begin piling up in the yard, around the house and especially in the roof gutters. Without proper cleaning, leaves can wreak havoc on a homeowner’s budget.

There are ways to prevent big expenses due to issues with your gutters. First, is to regularly clean the gutters out. Get some decent gloves to protect your hands, climb your ladder and dig in. But be sure to use safe ladder practices to stay clear of power lines and to prevent falling. Clean the debris from your gutters and if you have an outdoor water spigot, buy a hose and run water through the gutters until the water flows easily all the way through the downspouts. Neglecting to clean your gutters will cause leaves and mud to clog things up and when winter hits, all that build up renders the gutters useless. Even worse, if that build up freezes, it can get heavy enough to begin pulling away from the facia, which can cause water to enter into the wood behind the facia. That wood can rot or let water through into your ceiling and walls doing some serious interior damage.

If you aren’t a big fan of heights, you can always hire someone to clean out the gutters for you. A professional may cost you somewhere in the $200-$400 range to clean them out. Lastly, to avoid paying every year for gutter cleaning services, if you have the ability, hire a professional to install gutter guards. This would prevent you from having to climb a ladder or clean a gutter for years to come. These may seem like unnecessary costs, but they are far less expensive than the high price associated with a busted gutter system.