Dec 04 2023

COVID ICU survivor buys her first house


How did an ICU survivor become a first-time homeowner? Michele contacted her Academy Loan Officer.

If you asked Michele three years ago whether she saw herself becoming a first-time homeowner at the age of 64, her answer would likely have been: Absolutely not. “They didn’t have much hope for me,” Michele says.

But after surviving COVID, severe enough to require intubation and an extended ICU stay, Michele soon found herself signing her closing paperwork and receiving the keys to her new house.  

Helping a COVID survivor become a first-time homeowner


When preparing for a surgery in 2020, Michele began hearing about COVID on TV. She called her doctor to get tested, hoping her surgery wouldn’t get pushed back. On March 31, she found out she was COVID-positive.

“After that call, I don’t recollect anything. I woke up, and it was June,” Michele says.

Once she was hospitalized, Michele’s husband and son created a system. Her son would call in the daytime, and her husband would call in the evening; her whole family would then join the video chat. Michele says that, even now, she can’t remember the trauma her family went through at that time—being unable to visit her, having to say their goodbyes multiple times, and seeing her last rites read five times.

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“On Good Friday, they called my husband and my son and said, ‘We don’t think she’s going to make it through the weekend. We haven’t found anything to help her.’”

The doctors told Michele’s family they would try one more medication. When the medical team called her family on Easter Sunday, there had been a dramatic change. The doctors were baffled to find that Michele was now able to breathe. That, Michele says, was her turning point: “From then on, I was okay.”

Still unable to visit, Michele’s son, the head of a SWAT Team, drove to the hospital parking deck after work and watched her ICU room through binoculars for 86 days.

By Mother’s Day, Michele remained isolated but stable enough to enter rehab. To celebrate the holiday, the nurses set up a special visit. They walked Michele down to a glass walkway, where she was able to wave and blow kisses to her grandchildren through the windows.

“When I was going to be released, my husband and daughter were allowed to come in. I got in the wheelchair, and as I left the floor, all the way from the elevator to the hallway to the outside, employees were lined up clapping,” Michele says.

After being discharged June 17, Michele began to try to acclimate to the four months she had lost. At that time, her landlords decided that since they were getting older, and the market was so favorable, it would be smart to sell. Michele’s landlords offered her and her husband the opportunity to purchase the home they rented first, before putting it on the market.

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“I was now going to be on disability, not being able to return to work as a nurse. My husband had just gone back to work. We didn’t have a lot in savings. We tried a couple of banks, and they wanted very high down payments for a first-time homeowner, which would have left us with no savings.”

Michele’s son, whose first mortgage was through Academy, told her to call and ask for his Loan Officer to see how he could help. After hearing her story, Michele’s Loan Officer started working on overcoming some of Michele’s obstacles—like credit that had taken a hit after her career and finances were derailed due to COVID.

“I can tell you that for someone at 64 who was becoming a first-time homeowner, it was very stressful and overwhelming. Academy Mortgage, they were all phenomenal. It was a very wonderful experience with them, considering my age and buying my first home,” says Michele. “They walked us through it, and now we’re homeowners. It’s been wonderful.”

If you need help buying a house:

We’d like to get to know you better to see if we can find a solution. Connect with your local Academy Loan Officer to take the first step. You can also click here to read more of our inspiring customer stories.

Please consult a trusted professional as personal circumstances may vary. No specific results are guaranteed. Not all applicants will qualify. MAC924-1488375.