Habitat home dedications are an exciting and emotional time, celebrating the completion of a family’s new home and showcases the talent, determination and generosity of volunteers, donors and staff who were involved in this project. An equally emotional moment, but with less ceremony, is the title transfer. For the B/CS Habitat families, becoming a homeowner occurs in a room at University Title Company in College Station once they sign the deed and deed of trust. Often, this is the first time in their lives that they’ve owned their own home. In fact, for many of our homeowners they are the first in their entire family line to own a home, and we hope that they are the first of many homeowners.
Similar to purchasing a home on the open market, a Habitat applicant becomes the official homeowner when a designated Habitat signer transfers ownership of the home and property to the family. This is done by the prospective homeowner signing the warranty deed, a document that proves ownership of a property and is recorded at the county courthouse, an act that completes a lengthy trail of paperwork stretching back several months. The designated affiliate staff “closer” signs the document first, swearing that nothing is owed against the property and relinquishing any right to ownership of the home and property. Then, the prospective Habitat homeowner signs the same document, assuming 100 percent ownership of and responsibility for the newly-purchased property and house. It is at this point that the prospective homebuyer becomes a homeowner.
In the last several weeks, three families have purchased their homes at a closing and become new Habitat homeowners. And each purchaser has had his or her own unique story and sense of excitement when this long, often difficult process to becoming a homeowner is finally realized.
Few people would consider signing a stack of papers to be a rewarding experience. The closing staff and agents who work at University Title Company tell us that they look forward to a Habitat home closing because it is such an emotional and rewarding experience for them. For Habitat and University Title staff, and especially for the home buyer, the significance of this event never fails to bring a smile, a laugh or even a tear. All are astonished at seeing God’s plan for this family unfolding before their eyes. Actually owning their very own home through Habitat for Humanity, something that had seemed so impossible for so long, has now become a reality. And that is indeed something to smile about.