Jackie’s American Dream: Overcoming obstacles on the path to homeownership

Play Video

When Jackie Dowd’s private lease-to-own agreement almost fell through, she didn’t know what to do. That’s when Landis stepped in to secure her family’s future.

Jackie Dowd hadn’t been back to her hometown of Greencastle, Indiana, in years, but the roads were still familiar. She found herself driving through town with her husband, Brian, and their four children — Dorian, 17, Julian, 11, Zoe, 9, and Liam, 6 — after over a year of searching for a place to call home.‍

Their journey began in Colorado after an industry shift left Brian without work and a flash flood ruined their rental. “We ended up traveling the United States trying to get one thing: a place to stay, or a job,” says Jackie. Their search brought them to Maine, and then across the country to Oregon, but neither one provided long-term success.

‍Something about Greencastle just felt right. “We were on a back road that I remembered from childhood,” says Jackie. “I said drop me off at this hotel, I think I can get a job right now. And I did.” Jackie was hired on the spot to manage The Fluttering Duck, a pub inside a historic hotel. Finally, their family had what they needed to stay put.

Beyond job opportunities, Greencastle made an especially perfect home when Jackie discovered an old house sitting empty on a beautiful, tree-lined street. “The thing was raw, no floors, no walls. Nobody wanted it.” With Brian’s carpentry skills, she saw nothing but possibilities.

‍Jackie started visiting the house after work, just to sit on the porch with a friend. “I would say ‘this is my house’ and she would say ‘yeah, this is your house’.” She eventually tracked down its owner, Matthew, through word of mouth. The universe was in her favor again: he was on the hunt for a buyer.

‍But after all of her family’s travels and false starts in other cities, Jackie’s credit was in rough shape. They entered into a private lease-to-own agreement so she could work on her finances while Brian renovated the house.

A year later, her journey still wasn’t over. Matthew was struck with an illness that required a risky surgery, and Jackie’s credit still needed work. He connected her with Landis to make sure his uncertain future wouldn’t affect her family. Once she was approved, Landis bought the home in cash on her behalf.

‍Determined to be a homeowner, Jackie dove into the credit and savings plans laid out by the Landis team. Her coach Noah walked her through her finances with clear, actionable steps each month. “I said I have to know every detail of everything. And he would explain it all, he was patient with me.”

‍Her kids watched her go through the entire process, and kept her motivated month after month. “The stress of not knowing your family is secure keeps you up at night. It’s grinding,” Jackie says. “Now they don’t take anything we have for granted.”

When Jackie was finally ready for a mortgage, she still had Landis by her side. “When you’re dealing with banks and numbers, they don’t care about humans. Landis cared about humans and that’s how I survived for so long.”

‍In July 2022, several years after discovering the house, Jackie closed on her mortgage and bought it herself. Her sleepless nights were finally over. “Landis really went above and beyond for me time and time again. Without them I think I would have fallen apart,” she says.

‍Given how many turns of fate helped her along her path to homeownership, it’s only fitting that on the night of the closing, she sat on the porch that now belonged to her and saw a beautiful full moon.