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.

Stick With Your Local Home Improvement Retailer

When it comes to practical home improvement projects there is no better place to visit than your local home improvement retailer. There is no better time than now to get started on that new home improvement project. This article will help you create some good ideas using your local home improvement retailer.

The best value you can add to your home is by fixing up your kitchen or bathrooms. These tow rooms are probably the most used rooms in the entire home. You may think that your living room is important, and it is, but the living room relies much more on the electronics you place in it to improve the quality of the room.

When you visit your local home improvement retailer they can often provide some wonderful advice on how to make inexpensive improvements to your bathroom or kitchen. You can even find some great deals at your larger home improvement retailer stores.

The best times to watch for killer deals at the home improvement retailer will be at the end of each season. When winter is ending and spring is just around the corner they will often reduce prices considerably on items that would be easier to liquidate rather than restock and have to go through the inventory process.

The next best time to buy from your home improvement retailer would be at the end of summer. You could possibly get some great ideas for future projects by checking out the stock they want to rid themselves of at this time of season. You must remember supply and demand. You should plan your home improvement projects well in advance with this knowledge. Buy your items when the season is out, and then do the repairs or improvements later.

You should try to support your smaller locally owned home improvement retailer whenever possible. Sometimes it is just impossible for them to compete with the big store prices on many items. However, the friendly helpful advice they can offer my far exceed the price you pay if it makes a considerable improvement to your homes value and lifestyle.

Your Local Home and Garden Store Can Make You More Creative

Looking for a creative outlet? There’s a reason so many people are interested in do-it-yourself, or DIY, projects. In this era of smartphones and quick fixes, you may be surprised by how fulfilling it can be to make something with your own two hands. If you don’t know where to start, a home and garden store can provide you not only with materials, but also good advice.

If you haven’t been to a home and garden store in a while, just wait until you see the possibilities! Most offer not only the typical nuts and bolts, but also a full selection of painting supplies, outdoor furniture, seasonal plants, and even kitchen wares. In every section, you’ll find a product you would never expect. Chalkboard paint? Solar-powered garden lights? Stop by a store to get your imagination flowing.

Home and garden stores are also a great place to take the kids. You can often get lower prices on basic art supplies, and kids see endless possibilities in basic materials like wood and wire. It can be fun to think outside the box-for instance, metal hardware can make beautiful jewelry.

These shops abound with possibility. For any one problem-whether it’s unsightly cords, a broken table, or a boring room-you’ll find ten different solutions. You’ll find the employees are knowledgeable about DIY projects and eager to help figure out the best solution for you.

If you’re interested in home improvement, note that the kitchen and the master bath tend to add the most value during a home sale. Even if you don’t plan to sell your house soon, you can add some joy to your life by fixing up these heavily used spaces.

Home improvement doesn’t have to break the bank. Update the kitchen with a fresh tile pattern behind the counter, metallic paint on the old fridge, or refinished cabinets.

A bathroom can become a relaxing getaway with just a few beautifying tips. You can repaint the old vinyl floors, add mirrors, or try a more modern style of light fixture.

Don’t neglect your outside space, either. Just a few hanging pots and fresh deck chairs can turn an unused deck into a favorite family hangout.

If you’re not sure about your creative abilities, don’t worry-you can experiment! Start thinking like an interior designer. Could you add a subtle flourish? A bold accent color? Flipping through catalogs or looking at pictures online can also lead to inspiration. Take those pictures to the home and garden store, where employees will be happy to show you how to make your dream a reality.

For whatever project you have in mind, it’s always fine to pay a professional, but first talk to the employees at your local home and garden store. They will let you know if a project will be too difficult or well worth the creative effort. If you do give that DIY project a try, you’ll soon discover the creative satisfaction of making your life more functional and beautiful.