ORLANDO, Fla. – For many Americans buying a home is part of the American Dream. But for many Black people, it can feel out of reach.
According to Zillow, 17% of Black people in Florida are denied mortgages. That’s compared to 11% of white people.
Of course, if you can’t get approved for the loan, you likely won’t be able to buy a home.
The latest U.S. Census data shows 74% of white people owned homes in 2021 compared to 44% of Black people. That’s a 30% gap.
And because homeownership is one of the key ways Americans build wealth, these obstacles can cause issues for generations.
So, News 6 invited Oglah Gatamah, a realtor and franchise owner with Keller Wiliams Legacy Realty, and Tenisha Williams, real estate broker and owner of Elite Realty Partners, Inc., on Real Talk Real Solutions to talk about these problems and what can be done to overcome them.
Host Ginger Gadsden asked Gatamah why she thinks buying a home is so important.
“If you are looking at generational wealth, especially in the United States of America, most of the generational wealth is actually built out of homeownership. When people own homes and you get that equity, it’s something that you can pass on to your family. It’s something that you can help get some of that equity to, you know, pay for student loans. There’s just a lot of things you can leverage once you own a home versus not buying a home,” Gatamah said.
Gatamah goes on to say getting the keys to a new home often starts with getting connected to the right resources.
“There are so many programs. It’s not a one-stop shop. There are programs for first-time homebuyers, there are programs for veterans. There are some areas in Central Florida that qualify for USDA loans 100% because they are zoned for USDA and people think this is the rural areas. No. There are parts of Ocoee and Apopka and Clermont that are USDA and you can get 100% financing,” Gatamah said.
Williams added another important thing to keep in mind is your credit score.
“If you don’t have any credit cards, just get a secured credit card and make sure that you are maintaining the balance under 30% of the limit because it starts there. You know, sometimes we have people in our families that have maintained good credit ask them, ‘Can you become an authorized user?’ That helps build your credit,” Williams said.
Williams also said it is important to start saving.
“I also encourage you to get a savings account that you do not have a debit card to, that you do not have access to, that you are just making deposits. You can’t miss something that you never had. So, I like to encourage homebuyers to transfer that money directly... from your paycheck so you can save that money on a regular basis. It starts with the mindset for sure,” Williams said.
Even if you don’t have all your ducks in a row right now, you can still take key steps today to set you up for buying a house in the near future.
Williams told Real Talk Real Solutions host Ginger Gadsden how she helped a woman who was making $10 an hour prepare to buy a home. She added once one person buys a home, gains confidence and tells others how to do it, more people get on board and this can help change the culture.
You can hear more from Williams and Gatamah by listening to this episode of Real Talk Real Solutions.
You can also reach out to them directly.