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.