Annie Price* is an African American woman in her mid-fifties. She’s been living in Atlanta for just over 10 years after relocating from the West Coast to be closer to her family in South Carolina.

A widow with no children, Annie calls herself “semi-retired.” After being downsized from her long-term job in the health care field, Annie now works part-time as a care provider.

The positives? She makes her own schedule with the agency that employs her. The negatives? She’s making a lot less money that she did in her last job.

But Annie calls herself a “low-maintenance, no frills” kind of person, and still manages to save a little money every month, even working part-time.

She lives in a large, comfortable apartment just south of the city, and was content with being a renter, until a co-worker suggested she look into buying a home.

“I thought she was nuts,” Annie admitted. “Buy a home, on my salary?”

But Annie thought of a saying she liked, ‘nothing beats a failure but a try’, so she thought “why not?”

She accompanied her friend and co-worker to the Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT event on May 4. She took a number and waited, while doing some work on her laptop.

After a little more than an hour, her name was called.

“I was there all day,” Annie explained. “I went to three different tables, had my finances poked and prodded, but to my amazement, they offered me a $15,000 grant to buy a home.”

Annie was excited, but a little overwhelmed. She left the event with a letter offering her the money, with the stipulation that 1) the home become her primary residence, and 2) that she live there for five years. The grant would become forgiven after that.

Bogged down by paperwork, a tight 60-day deadline to be under contract, and a daunting to-do list, Annie was ready to go house hunting.

She invited me to come along for the ride and document her journey, step by step.

Annie Price* is a pseudonym.

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