In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of society. This includes the realm of homeownership, where young BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals play a crucial role. Empowering and supporting young BIPOC homebuyers is not only a matter of social justice but also has significant economic and societal benefits.
ABC Realty was able to connect with a recent young BIPOC homebuyer, Marcus, where he was able to tell his story of how he utilized community resources to close on his first home.
Marcus, can you explain what the homebuying process was like and how you got connected with your ABC Realty real estate agent, Seanne Thomas?
Honestly, it was a pain in the butt! We were looking at houses from September until December 30th before we settled on the home we chose. With every house there was a problem. Maybe the house would have cost me more money to set up, or for me to fix. Or maybe when we were ready to choose a home, someone already had purchased that home.
My previous roommate was also looking for a home at the time, so they recommended Seanne Thomas. From then on, we began looking at the Rivoli homes coming up, there were also income-driven comes that we were looking at.
I went with the NeighborWorks program that works with low- to moderate-incomes homes. I depended on the combination of both Seanne and other family members who have also owned a house. Since Seanne is more knowledgeable on the Minnesota market, I was able to ask, “Is this normal here?”
NeighborWorks Home Partner, how did you discover them and their ties with Habitat for Humanity?
I spoke with a home advisor, Jeff, that basically recommended me to reach out to Habitat for Humanity. They have a loan lending program, or NeighborWorks opportunity. This program had the lowest interest rate going because the housing interest rate was really high at the time.
This process was the easiest of them all. They just needed my information. I would recommend this program to first-time homebuyers. If you have less debt and have a good financial standing, I’d recommended this program even more. From [trying to get my new] mortgage, to car payments, to student loans, this program helped me balance it all. This program goes based off of fixed monthly payments at no more than 30% of your income.
I hear a little accent, what’s your background? How long have you been in the Twin Cities for?
I’m all the way from Albany, Georgia. I moved up here in 2019 and got my master’s degree. Trying to get your master’s degree and moving at the same time, was a little weird. The job market down in Georgia was not good for tech roles, versus coming here to Minnesota. Ironically enough, it was either Minnesota or New York. [My roommate and I] we ended up tossing some darts and we said, “whichever city it lands [on], it’s going to be a fresh start for everyone.” Once that was decided, I was just looking for jobs, especially after they started raising the rent in our current apartment. We ultimately came to the conclusion that after raising our rent, we might as well both get our own homes.
Tell us a bit about your home! What’s your favorite room in your home?
I have not stayed in the house yet, but I don’t recommend moving in the winter! I’m still moving things in. It’s in Saint Paul and the neighborhood seems pretty quiet. I have seen different animals these days.
My [soon-to-be] game room/office is my favorite room! I’m going to be playing my Naruto games for sure. I’m hoping to get a better PC so I can play even more games.
What were you looking for in a home versus what you might have had to possibly compromise on?
Before my compromises, I wanted a four bedroom, two baths, and a basement. After the compromises and prices, I pulled back to three rooms, and I could possibly turn the basement into a fourth bedroom or guest room. For the price that I got the house, there’s a garage also detached. For the bathroom I didn’t get, I did get a garage and there’s lots of space in the attic.
What do you recommend for other young BIPOC folks that may also be first-time homebuyers?
I would definitely recommend to do your research and make sure you get your home inspection.
Empowering young BIPOC homebuyers is essential for creating a more inclusive and equitable society. By providing opportunities for homeownership, we can promote economic empowerment, community stability, representation, and work towards closing the racial wealth gap. It is crucial for policymakers, lenders, and community organizations to collaborate and implement initiatives that remove barriers and provide support to young BIPOC individuals on their journey to homeownership. Together, we can create a future where everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve the dream of owning a home for future generations.