Introducing Home Owner Tonya Dent

When first meeting new homeowner Tonya Dent it is clear that she is proud of her home ownership journey and wants others to take her advice to stay encouraged and persevere even when it seems like dreams of home ownership may not come true.

Tonya first walked through the doors of Piedmont Housing Alliance four years ago, but quickly realized she wasn’t ready to become a homeowner yet. She came back last year and began working with former Director of Housing Counseling and Economic Opportunity, Melissa Yuille.

Tonya and her two daughters wearing matching red outfits standing in front of their new home
Tonya and her daughters Zameria and Serenity.

Melissa passed away unexpectedly in January 2019 before Tonya closed on her home, but she speaks highly of Ms. Yuille, recalling her encouraging words and positivity as Tonya improved her credit score and saved money.

Melissa was just the first in a support system that Tonya says was monumental in her home ownership story. Tonya said that one piece of advice she has for potential home buyers is to “surround yourself with positivity and positive people.”

Among those she credits for being on her team of positive people are her mother and father – Linda and Paul Dent; her friend, Lynette Walker; real estate agent Kelly Morrison; and Julia Morris Roberts, a mortgage loan officer at Fulton Bank; and Virginia Leary, the Housing Counselor at Piedmont Housing that she worked with after Melissa’s passing. Dent said her team of cheerleaders “stayed with me till the end.”

Surround yourself with positivity and positive people.

Tonya dent, home owner

Tonya was also a member of the Home Buyer Club that Melissa started and had the support of her peers in that group.

Tonya closed on her new home in Albemarle County in early April 2019 and couldn’t be more happy. She is most excited that her daughters, 11-year-old Zameria and 5-year-old Serenity, can now “always have to place to call home.” The girls seem pretty excited too and take much pride in being home owners.

Sisters Zameria and Serenity pose outside their front door.
Sisters Zameria and Serenity pose outside their front door.

Tonya’s advice for potential home owners is to stay positive and don’t overspend. She has a special message for African-Americans who are looking to buy homes.

“You can own a house!” she said. While prices are high and mortgage loan amounts can be low, she encourages future home owners to shop around, ask the right questions and take their time when making decisions.