Catherine Gantt said she was convinced that the house on Keystone Manor Court in District Heights would be her home. But when her name was not announced at the Prince George’s County housing fair as the winner of the house lottery Saturday afternoon, she said was devastated.
“I had high hopes. I had my support team in place,” Gantt said. “I’ve never prayed so much in my life. I’ve dreamed about living in this home. I just knew it was mine.”
So when the 36-year-old from Washington, D.C., got the call Tuesday morning that the lottery winner, Porsha Hartwell, decided not to accept the prize after a previous bid on another home was accepted, she realized her dream would come true.
“I was just so excited. Tears just came down,” Gantt said. “Words can’t express how I feel. I’m just so glad.”
Gantt is now the winner of the county’s third house lottery, a raffle that gives eligible families the opportunity to purchase a renovated home in Prince George’s County with up to $30,000 in financial assistance. Gantt, who said she has spent more than a year looking for a home to share with her daughter, is looking forward to buying the home and hosting family get-togethers.
“I’m happy to be able to share my home with the rest of my family,” Gantt said. “It’s not just a win for me, but a win for us.”
Nine families applied to the contest, but only three families met requirements such as being first-time home buyers and being pre-approved by a lender for a $200,745 loan.
Saturday’s housing fair, which was held at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, featured more than 50 exhibitors who provided prospective homeowners with information on borrowing loans, caring for their property and even furnishing their kitchens.
Linda Raysor, 23, of Capital Heights attended the housing fair with her mother, Gwen Raysor, 53, also of Capital Heights. Linda Raysor, a registered nurse, said she is planning to buy her first home and said an explanation of the home buying process from an M&T Bank representative was helpful.
“A lot of times people don’t know what to do,” Linda Raysor said. “It’s good to be educated on it so when it’s time to purchase your home, you know what to do.”
Margeau Gilbert, a Laurel based real estate agent, answered questions related to all aspects of home buying and ownership. She said this housing fair is a critical service for prospective homeowners.
“These people are hungry for information,” Gilbert said. “They don’t know where to go or who to trust. This is a service that people need.”
For renters like Sheila Baker, 54, of Largo, the housing fair is a chance to obtain all the information she needs to make her goal of homeownership achievable.
“It can be an investment for me and a tax write-off,” Baker said. “With the many years you work on your job, you should be able to accomplish something like purchasing a home.”