Maya Mitchell, at the age of 24 and fresh out of Hampton University (as she and many say, "the real HU"), purchased her first home. Now, I'm sure you are probably wondering... (as did I) how did she pull that off? Especially, the desparities in the Black Community in comparison to the White Community, the lack of knowledge, teachers or in some cases even students in the Black community. To add to all of this; she is a young, gifted Black Woman, who society expects to and as we all have witnessed generally reside at the bottom of the totem poll as far as wealth and health. Well... I recently sat down with the inspiring Maya Mitchell, and this is what she had to say about her journey to homeownership.
Q. What inspired you?
A. In the Black Community, home ownership is kind of an ambiguous concept. It's not really discussed or passed down; and I remember when it was time for me to purchase, not really seeing a lot of people of color to teach me the information. One-in-three millionaires have investment properties as a stream of income, so that definitely showed me that property ownership was neccessary. Even when you think of generational wealth, what better way to pass it down than through a business or property or even both. I just felt like we really needed someone from the Black perspective to teach us the information, because there was a void in the community. On the east coast, renting is most sought by minorites due to of lack of information or misinformation. They don't really know what it takes, and are conditioned to living a certain way. All of these things birthed "Ms. Young Homeowner."
Q. What is your tip for success when buying your first home?
A. Research is key. First, you have to figure out if you can even afford a house. This requires looking through your bank statements; looking at your debt-to-income ratio, and expenses vs income. Really... just how much mortgage you could afford and more importantly YOUR credit score; know what you need to get approved. Research your own personal finances, and the real-estate market. Is it a buyer's market (less inventory and more demand), or a seller's (more inventory and less demand) market? This could save you thousands of dollars. Think about the neighborhood, schools, type of home and accessability. All of these factors are really important. Research is power.
Q. What is your tip for success for buying investment property?
A. Saving your money. You need a lot of liquid cash to make the jump to house number two. If you are trying to buy another house, I would recommend occupuying that house; so you won't have to pay 15-to-20 percent down. You can get rates of three-to-five percent down for living in the property. So, essentially if you are buying an investment property as a first home, perhaps buy a duplex or a multi-unit so that you could put less money down. Learn about "house hacking."
Q. What was your first step to getting started?
A. Well.. right out of college, I moved back into my mother's place. I gave myself a time frame to get my finances and credit in order. The first steps are your finances and credit.
Q. How do you feel about the current climate and young Black homeownership? Is it growing or stagnant?
A. Black millennial homeownership, statistically speaking, is at an all-time low of 13 percent. It has a lot to do with student-loan debt, and Black millenials not really having the information they need to consider buying a home as an option. So right now, it's defintely stagnant, which is sad. There are debt-consolidation programs and many other programs to get first-time home buyers into their first home. Which is why my company, Ms Young Homeowner, has managed to grow so organically. There is a need for the information, the interest is there... they just don't have the education and that inspires me. There's a lot of work to do in the Black community, but we have to start somewhere.
Q. Any words of advice?
A. Home ownership wasn't in my mindset when I was in high school or college, or even when I graduated from college. I kind of just wanted to live my life. Then, I thought about my future, my legacy, and what I wanted to leave for my children. I also thought about what sacrifices I could make now. I, really, just want to encourage young Black Women out there that are thinking about their future and tell them, "you can pursue home ownership." You don't have to wait until you are a mom or a wife. There are plenty of first-home buyer programs out there that will let you buy your first home with zero-to-three percent down. If you want to learn more, check out @msyounghomeowner instagram and our "Ms Young Homeowner" Youtube channel. It offers advice on everything from the education aspect to decorating your home.
The future of homeownership is succesful Black women. Make sure you have your seat at the table!