First-time buyers finding homes in Dover

DOVER — An organization with the motto “One family at a time” doubled up on its recent successes in home ownership on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.

A gathering to celebrate two Delaware families benefiting from the Restoring Central Dover initiative attracted an array of housing-related officials aimed at bringing affordable, quality single-family residences to Delaware’s capital city.

Mission accomplished, said first-time buyer Susan Sartin, who described her 231 N. Queen Street home during emotional remarks before a gathering of 40 onlookers.

While she missed out on another NCALL-built home at 212 N. Governors Avenue a month ago, Mrs. Sartin had little time to anguish.

“Before I was too sad, my realtor, Crystal Calderon from Weichert First Class Realtors, found me this house,” she said. “It had everything the North Governor’s house had with beauty, charm and amazing upgrades such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, energy efficiency and more.”

New home owner Susan Sartin with her granddaughters, Payton, left, and Carly Haggerty during New Home Celebration by partners NCALL and DSHA on Queen Street in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Smiling brightly was Justin Samain, who landed the North Governor’s Avenue property with the white picket fence across the street from Wesley College on July 14.

Since then, the 31-year-old Mr. Samain, his wife and 2-year-old son have settled into their homestead.

“It’s nice not to think about dealing with a landlord,” said the assistant manager at a employment staffing company.

“I’m making my own changes now.”

Mr. Samain added that he’d switched residences three times and “I really don’t like to move.”

New home owners Justin Samain, left, and Susan Sartin cuts a ribbon during New Home Celebration by partners NCALL and DSHA in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Both families took responsibility for $165,000 mortgages. Their new homes stand at lots that were previously in disrepair and abandoned.

Through a bank-settlement fund supporting 31 Dover homes the Delaware State Housing Authority provided $1.68 million in grants, along with other resources from its Housing Development fund to build or rehabilitate 10 area homes. Also key is the Downtown Development District program that offers rebate grants for eligible businesses or homeowners.

“As a community development agency, DSHA is proud to support these efforts to revitalize and strengthen Dover,” DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi said. “Helping families such as the Samains and Sartins find their dream homes is critical to helping our communities grow.”

New home owned by Susan Sartin at 231 Queen Street in Dover during New Home Celebration by partners NCALL and DSHA on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

NCALL Deputy Director Karen Speakman said the North Queen Street house appraised at $185,000 and the North Governors Avenue site was valued at $208,000.

Mrs. Sartin and her husband will move from Newark and make Dover their new home, which is also closer to two of their three daughters and several of their nine grandchildren.

At age 56, she never thought home ownership would happen.

“I am thrilled, I am excited, I am thrilled,” Mrs. Sartin said, beaming. “I can’t wait to be part of this community and come home from work each night to such a nice home.”

New home owner on Governors Ave Justin Samain speaks during New Home Celebration by partners NCALL and DSHA in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

At age 56, Mrs. Sartin, a medical billing specialist, never thought she would own a home.

Mr. Samain described a “long trip” that was “hard to get there” regarding home ownership, a process made easier with NCALL’s involvement.

A nearly lifelong Dover resident, Ms. Calderon described the city’s gradual shift back to the safe community she experienced as a child.

“I’ve seen the area changes and it’s becoming more family oriented again,” she said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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