“We appreciate the attention we’ve received from Amerifirst Poland and that Drew spent so much time explaining everything to us in Spanish so we could understand. He was truthful with us about everything, and it’s awesome living in Youngstown.”

Marisol Guzman

Meet the Guzmans

Joel and Marisol Guzman lived in Chicago for 10 years. While she had a steady job at the O’Hare International Airport and their apartment was nice enough, they didn’t feel quite at home with the fast-paced, big-city lifestyle.

They wanted more space and a place they could “establish themselves.” After two attempts at buying a home in the Chicago area didn’t work out, their friend introduced them to a whole new world – Youngstown, Ohio.

“We had a couple of bad experiences trying to buy a home in Chicago. We weren’t treated well and paid for things that were promised to us but never happened. The second time we tried to buy, they made the process too difficult and had too many requirements.”

After visiting Youngstown to check out the lifestyle and inquire about eventually relocating, Joel was quickly sold on the idea of moving from Chicago to Youngstown. That’s when they were introduced to realtor Shay Gonzalez and loan originator Drew Skrinyer.

What They Were Looking For

  • Three-bedroom, one bathroom with basement and garage
  • More living and entertainment space than their Chicago apartment
  • Safer and more relaxed living environment
  • More affordable cost of living
  • Trustworthy real estate agent and loan officer to help them overcome the language barrier and find the right home

Loan Challenges

They faced several challenges in the mortgage loan process:

  • Marisol speaks very little English, while Joel speaks none – so they needed loan documents and communications to be translated into Spanish
  • The Guzmans were living in Chicago during the mortgage lending process so they had to communicate virtually during the application process
  • Marisol couldn’t transfer her job from O’Hare to one at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, so her income could NOT be used to qualify for a mortgage loan
  • Finding an affordable down payment and great interest rate

Our Solution

Drew answered all their questions and explained every document they’d be signing. He translated all the loan processing documents, underwriting correspondence, and title closing information from English to Spanish.

Because the Guzmans weren’t living locally during the loan application process, Drew communicated with them in Spanish by phone, email, and text with Joel and Marisol during the mortgage loan process.

The Guzmans had an excellent credit history and Drew was able to help them qualify for the loan using just Joel’s income.

He suggested that they complete an online course to qualify for a conventional mortgage loan with Amerifirst’s HomeReady program for first-time homebuyers. Because they were willing to go this extra step, the Guzmans got an excellent interest rate and only had to provide a low-down payment through the First-Time Homebuyers (FTHB) loan.

The Results

  • The Guzman’s mortgage payment is about half the amount they were paying to rent their Chicago apartment
  • In addition to three bedrooms, one bathroom, basement, and garage, the couple discovered that they would be able to use the home’s large attic as additional living space
  • Joel and Marisol are especially pleased that owning a home in Youngstown provides a “more secure and safe” future for their 15-year-old daughter, who attends Youngstown East High School

Final Remarks


“I feel grateful and energized to have had the opportunity to help them understand everything and buy the home they wanted,” said Drew. “I’m happy I could use my mortgage loan knowledge and fluency in Spanish to help Joel and Marisol achieve the dream of homeownership.”



“It was his dream to buy a home, and when he saw that we could come here and pay a lot less than we were in Chicago for more space, he wanted to move here as soon as possible. I knew it would be difficult, but he believed.”



Joel is very excited to live in Youngstown and “tenga fiestas mientras cocina para familiares y amigos el próximo verano.” [Translation: have fiestas while cooking for family and friends next summer]



“I enjoyed working with Drew to help the Guzmans buy their first home. It’s very helpful to have a mortgage loan officer in the Mahoning Valley who is able to communicate with Spanish-speaking families during the mortgage loan process.”


*Testimonial retrieved on November 11, 2021