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John Stivaletta

A photo of John Stivaletta

© Mike Ritter

John Stivaletta admits he was "a little nervous" about buying his first home. But working with MassHousing's lender partner, Leader Bank, he was able to purchase a condominium in Boston with MassHousing's Operation Welcome Home loan program for veterans.

A Boston firefighter who served for four years in the Marine Corps—including a deployment to Iraq—John was unable to get financing from the Veterans Administration after a month-long review because of language in his condominium association documents that prevented renting the unit without approval of all the trustees.

Working with Senior Loan Officer Michael McCarthy at Leader Bank, John decided the MassHousing "Operation Welcome Home" loan was his best option because it did not have those restrictions and in addition, he could obtain 100% financing. He used a MassHousing Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance first mortgage for 97% of his purchase price and a 3%, zero-interest second mortgage provided by MassHousing under Operation Welcome Home to allow for the 100% financing.

"Everything went smoothly," he said. "The loan was very affordable and it was a good deal. The (interest) rate was among the best out there."

McCarthy said they were able to close the MassHousing loan in two weeks.

"We were able to rely on the Operation Welcome Home program without any red tape and managed to close the loan with no money down two weeks later," said McCarthy. "John's down payment took less cash out of pocket than a rental deposit and his monthly mortgage payment is less than a comparable apartment in Boston. It was a seamless and perfect program for someone like John."

John's real estate agent (who is also John's cousin), Jeremy Stivaletta, said the delays and ultimate rejection of John's VA loan application put the condo purchase in jeopardy until McCarthy suggested the Operation Welcome Home loan.

"That loan saved the day for everyone," said Jeremy. "With the VA loan, it seemed like form after form and it just didn't seem normal and finally his VA loan just didn't go through. Mike said we have this program through MassHousing and the loan went through very quickly, like in two weeks. It was really awesome."

"I love the pride of owning my own home," John said. "It's a big change from renting."