How to Buy Your Own Local Home

Upstate New York is a beautiful area to decide to purchase a home. With its rural and semi-rural areas, this part of the eastern coast has long been a desirable place for residential real estate buyers. There’s just something about this part of the eastern seaboard which evokes something more than what you might find in other areas – especially around New York City where the culture, values, and general environment is completely different.

Within the upstate area, Woodstock, NY homes in particular are a good place to look. To consider purchasing Woodstock real estate, one would want to find a realtor Ulster County offers, and there are probably plenty to choose from. Make sure you choose a real estate agent that is currently getting good results in the market. People with a history of good results in the marketplace are about as useful as a typewriter salesperson. Think about it that way, because you want someone who knows how to work today’s market, not the one that was operating in yesterday’s economy and negotiations.

Woodstock, NY realtors are eager for your business, that’s for sure! Houses in Woodstock, NY are not unlike other parts of the country. There are fewer homes on the market so you want to be working with someone who knows how to handle that. First, you would want to figure out if you want to find some Woodstock, NY land for sale or buy a home that is already built. Then go talk to someone about your financial situation and what kinds of loans you will qualify for. Consider your monthly payment carefully. As you probably know, many people got themselves into trouble by getting into a mortgage that was just a little above their means.

Next, once you have been pre-approved, go see some homes! Feel free to visit with several Woodstock, NY realtors before settling on one. Make sure that their schedule will work with yours. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to work with an agent who works part time during the hours you also work! You want to work with someone you like, and who you feel comfortable around. Woodstock real estate is full of interesting choices, so make sure you go see a good number of homes to see what kind of options you have.

Woodstock realtors, as stated before, are plenty in number. However, a good realtor will be able to easily guide you through the process, including all of the necessary paperwork to purchase any one of upstate New York homes. When it is time to go to closing, you should feel comfortable that the home is the one you absolutely love, and that your agent will handle everything for you. If everything is not perfectly in order, you could be in for major headaches down the road.

Support Your Community: Shop Local Home Improvement Stores Instead of Big Box Stores

Often, people want to improve their homes, but they just don’t have the patience to try to struggle through trying to get a big box home improvement store employee to help. Surly, clueless hourly employees are just one of the many drawbacks to using a big box store for your renovation project. Instead of making revitalizing your home into a hassle, opt to shop at a locally-owned home improvement store. Not only does a local store offer significantly better service, but they also know their products incredibly well, making it much easier for you to find both the help and knowledge you’ll need to make your project a success.

Better Customer Service

Local home improvement stores can offer a better shopping experience all around. With knowledgeable staff, mom and pop stores have an advantage that big box stores don’t have: personal connections to the customers. Many times local home improvement stores are owned by individuals within the community, and because of this, they have more of investment in their customer service. They help their neighbors, their friends, their friends’ friends; basically they represent the entire community within one store. Because of this, they offer a more personal connection to their customers. Local stores tend to be smaller, which gives them more opportunity to get to know their customers and gives the customer a greater sense of comfort. Often in big box stores, customers have to search out an associate to help them, and most of the associates are not as knowledgeable as the local home improvement store owner.

Specialty Stores

The best kind of locally owned home improvement store is definitely the specialty stores that focus their business on one aspect of home improvement, like flooring, cabinetry or countertops. Specialists like this know their product inside out and are able to make the best recommendations for your specific project. Often, flooring, cabinetry, countertop and other specialty stores also have professional installation teams on staff that can help you take your inspiration and turn it into a reality. Even if you want to go the DIY route, specialized stores are an amazing asset thanks to their extensive knowledge.

Community Connections

Because local home improvement stores are owned by individuals within the community, they also have inside information on contractors, builders, electricians and plumbers. Store owners will know the perfect person to help you with any need; all you have to do is ask. They know the people in the trade and can guide you to the business or individual who can solve your home improvement problem. Local business owners will know the ins and outs of who is a reliable tradesmen and who is not, helping you find individuals who will give you the best customer service for your specific needs.

Community Support

Supporting your local economy is always a great idea. This means money being earned within that county is being applied back to businesses within that community. Big box stores do not have much stake in how well the local economy does, but locally owned businesses will. Putting money back into the community helps to support the county as a whole and keep big businesses from moving in. Also, local home improvement store owners will often refer customers to local tradesmen and businesses, which helps increase the overall revenue within the community. Big box stores may not have such information to give. This not only gives the customer a better experience, but helps promote the community’s economy.

Owning A Home While Black – The Pitfalls and Solutions

Owning a home while black

To be exact,

Is still a challenging state

Without debate

Because discrimination is still alive and intact.

Owning a home in these turbulent market conditions can present challenges of their own. Challenges that can require quick, financial changing decisions. But if you’re an African American homeowner you face unique challenges compared to other racial groups.

Yes, even after years of marching, protest and laws passed on federal, state and local levels African American homeowners still face unique problems.

According the latest Federal Housing records, compared to other racial groups with similar income and credit …

– African American homeowners are turned down for refinancing the most.

– African American homeowners receive a higher rate on a refinanced loan and charged higher fees.

– African American homeowners pay higher rates for homeowner insurance.

– African American homeowners pay more for a home improvements.

– African American homeowners pay more for home repairs.

– African American homeowners have more contractor fraud complaints on file than any other racial group as a percentage.

– African American homeowners are one of the leading racial groups to experience foreclosures because of predatory lending.

– African American homeowners are one of the least informed.

Despite all these obstacles more African American own homes now than ever before in history. By owning a home you have bucked incredible odds. And by keeping your home you are bucking even larger odds, especially in this current housing and mortgage climate. By staying educated and informed you increase your odds of avoiding problems many homeowners will face.

Here are 7 Tips Every Black Home Owner Should Know:

1. Keep Your Eye On The Market.

One of the biggest mistakes many African American homeowners make after they purchase their homes is to ignore the home buying market. Make it a habit to keep informed of home values in your area, interest rates and whether it is a buyers market or sellers market. This is your biggest investment. Knowing about these three important subjects at a minimum can affect the value of your biggest investment.

2. Run Your Home Like A Business.

This may seem like an odd suggestion. But if you think about it your home is your business, and despite declining values many homes could be worth more than many small businesses. So the key is to watch your cost, comparison shop and learn how to judge value as well as cost. All these suggestions are also sound business principles.

3. Learn From Others Mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes, even the most experienced and seasoned homeowner. The key is to learn from each mistake. Some mistakes can be more costly than others like hiring the wrong contractor, ignoring electrical or plumbing problems until something happens or getting the wrong mortgage. But learning from the mistakes and taking swift action to correct them will keep you out of any long-term trouble.

4. Be A Do-it-Yourselfer.

Even if you’re a single woman homeowner, learning to do minor repairs around the house will save you hundreds maybe thousands of dollars a year. Imagine learning how to install that cool kitchen faucet yourself instead of calling “Arm-N-A-Leg Plumbing” can save you hundreds of dollars. Of course not everyone is into taking on a plumbing project. So, make it a point to learn at least one do-it-yourself installation or repair skill. Next go-all out to learn it. That can mean getting books on it at the library or bookstore, taking a class or asking a relative or friend to teach you. It’s surprising what you can do when you take the time to learn it. Make the first project simple. I’ve seen many people even single women homeowners use this formula and have become hooked. They’ve gone from one project to the next. It’s surprising what this can do for your confidence.

5. Don’t Overspend or Over Build.

Many African American homeowners who face financial hardship now made the mistake of overspending and/or overbuilding. They may have spent to much for the home, spent too much for the loan, interest rate or fees … or they may have done all three.

To top it off many overbuilt or over-improved their home for the neighborhood they were in. That’s why it’s important to stay current on the real estate market conditions and values in your local area (see #1).

6. Watch the Pennies and the Dollars will Take Care of Themselves.

This is a saying my Mother shared with me when I was a child. I vaguely understood it, because she always seemed to say it when I was eyeing a gooey chocolate nut candy bar in the store. But anyway I clearly understood it once I was older and was earning and spending my own money instead of hers. As a homeowner now I find it still works.

The key is to watch your cost, because with everything rising so fast it can quickly get away from you. If you’ve ever had a surprise water pipe burst or a first rain season roof leak I don’t have to tell you that.

7. Be Cautious of Too-Good-To-Be-True Offers

With home expenses and cost rising many African American homeowners feel tempted to bite at the too-good-to-be-true offers. For example, the unlicensed repairman who just happens to be in the neighborhood and offers to do a repair for half the cost if you pay in cash. They’re many similar sounding scams like these targeted at financially strapped homeowners mostly African American and elderly homeowners. Usually the so-called repairman doesn’t finish the work or does shoddy work before disappearing into the night … with your cash of course.


Yes, owning a home while Black presents it’s own challenges. Many of these challenges continue to linger and rear their ugly head as I pointed out in the latest Federal Housing report. But the good news is they’re many actions we can take. By staying informed and managing our home like a business we can overcome – despite the odds and the challenges of owning a home while Black.