My New home: Pastor’s patience pays off – The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN

My New home: Pastor’s patience pays off – The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN
Edward Hampton is a proud new home owner in West Memphis. At 73, this is Hampton's first time purchasing a home. Realtor Linda Franks helped him find the home. (Photo by: Brad Luttrell, The Commercial Appeal)

By Stacey Wiedower, Memphis Commercial Appeal


Sunday, September 6, 2009


At 73, Rev. Edward Hampton is still learning life lessons. The most recent one? Never say never.


When a family friend approached him last year about buying her West Memphis house, Hampton’s immediate response was, “I’m too old to buy a house.”


But his friend put him in contact with her real estate agent, Linda Franks of Crye-Leike’s Marion, Ark., office. Franks assured him age was not a factor in the home-buying process.


“It was his dream to have a house, but he kept thinking, ‘No, I can’t get one — I’m too old,'” Franks said. “He had been renting all these years. He didn’t even think he could buy.”


He loved the house, so when Franks told him it could work, he put his lifelong dream of home ownership in her hands.


Partnering with Laura Shelton of Regions Bank in Jonesboro, Ark., Franks and Hampton plunged into a buying process that was neither quick nor smooth. Due to an issue with the appraisal, Franks worked to turn the deal into a short sale — in which the proceeds of the sale fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage.


“I contacted the mortgage company, and they didn’t want to do it because they had been bombarded with short sales,” she said.


But she refused to give up.


“We sent all the paperwork in and started in June, and it took about five months to complete,” she said. “It was actually a ‘long’ short sale.”


Month after month, Hampton and Franks readied to close, but roadblocks kept appearing. Hampton was almost ready to throw in the towel.


“But Ms. Franks said, ‘No, you’re going to hang in there. Just have faith and chase it,’ ” Hampton said. “I tell you what, if it hadn’t been for her, I would not have had this house, because I was really ready to give up.”


But Hampton closed in November on the three-bedroom, two-bath, brick home in West Memphis’ North Richland neighborhood. He paid $122,000 for the 1,500-square-foot home and was even able to take advantage of several programs aimed at helping home buyers, including down payment assistance and last year’s $7,500 first-time buyer tax credit.


Now that he’s settled in to his new house, Hampton — longtime pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Lansing, Ark., and a driver for Jackson, Miss.-based Shippers Express — couldn’t be happier.


“I love the house, love the neighborhood, and I just love the atmosphere,” he said. “The people around here are the best neighbors. They came over when I moved in and introduced themselves, and they do whatever they can to help me.”


Hampton also enjoyed furnishing his new home and making it his own.


“I was blessed to get new living room furniture and new bedroom furniture and a big-screen TV,” he said. “My favorite spot is in the living room on that big couch laying back, watching TV.”


The main living area of the home is carpeted, with white walls and dark-stained trim throughout. To the left of the entry, a fireplace provides a cozy focal point, with a wood mantel, brick hearth and brick surround that extends to the ceiling.


Off the living area, the eat-in kitchen contains dark wood cabinetry with bronze hardware, updated appliances and light-colored laminate countertops, as well as a two-seat breakfast bar. Double doors off the dining space conceal the laundry area.


Down a hall off the great room are two small bedrooms and a guest bathroom. At the end of the hall, the master bedroom has an en-suite full bath.


Outside, the brick home with blue shutters features a one-car carport and a built-in storage area off the back patio. The backyard is fenced, providing a play area for Hampton’s new companion, a 10-month-old black lab named Dover.


The house is close to grocery stores and Wal-Mart, something Hampton likes about the neighborhood. He also likes the way he and his neighbors watch over each other.


He still stops in for coffee at Franks’ office occasionally.


“We hung in, and he has a lot of faith and he really wanted that house,” she said.


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