A big part of the American dream is owning a home, and the Winston-Salem Urban League’s Homebuyer Initiative is helping to make that dream a reality for those who simply need more information.
“The Homebuyer Initiative, Project 13, is a national initiative developed by the National Urban League and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,” said Director of Workforce Development for the Winston-Salem Urban League Patricia Sadler. “Local Delta Sororities and Urban Leagues throughout the country are collaborating to provide Home Ownership Seminars. Our local Delta sorority and the Winston-Salem Urban League, along with the Center for Home Ownership, came together to address the issue of home ownership because we felt that many residents in the area were not taking advantage of the First Time Home Buyer programs and opportunities simply because they were not aware of the benefits.”
What many people in the area also do not know is that owning a home can be more affordable than renting in many cases, with the fantastic added benefit of building equity as the mortgage is paid through the years. “We also were aware that families are paying exorbitant amounts of rent when, in fact, they could become homeowners for the same amount they are paying for property they will never own,” said Director of the Center for Home Ownership Phillis George.
The first of three seminars took place on January 14th. “The individuals and families who attended the first seminar received a wealth of valuable information that can put them on the path to home ownership,” said Lydia Jordan of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alumnae chapter. “The major agencies that provide home ownership programs and services presented the steps to prepare for home ownership ranging from the importance of budgeting, financial management, down payment assistance, knowing what you should budget, selecting a home you can afford, selecting a realtor and getting qualified for homes that are currently available for sale.”
The second seminar took place on February 11th and focused on credit management for new homebuyers and was conducted by Phyllis Caldwell George, Director of the Center for Home Ownership, Boris Elder, Home Mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo, and DaRhonda Morgan of S.G. Atkins CDC and Wilkinson ERA Real Estate.
The third and final seminar will take place on March 11th from 11am-1pm at the Enterprise Center located at 1922 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Winston-Salem. “The March 11th seminar will be an overview of the first two sessions and will focus on home maintenance to train individuals to maintain their homes,” said Sadler. “This session is important for homeowners to be prepared for minor repairs that they can do and eliminate the expensive house calls to save money.”
Another motivating factor for these seminars is to communicate the great impact women have had in the home buying market in recent years. “It is very important for women to be involved in the area of home ownership because there are many women who are head of households who would benefit from the knowledge and skills on how to negotiate the home buying process,” said Sadler. “The number of women that have opted to purchase homes has grown, although their incomes, traditionally, are not comparable to men’s incomes. Women have begun to see the value of gaining equity through homeownership and making an investment in real estate as a step toward gaining wealth. Additionally, careers in real estate are lucrative professions for women.”
The Winston-Salem Urban League has been working for more than 60 years to educate people in the community in many different areas including race relations, civic engagement and education. “The Winston-Salem Urban League with its long history, has as its mission to empower and advocate for a diverse community and promotes socioeconomic progress and parity,” said Harris. “We have numerous programs and partnerships to engage, inspire and assist the community, and our agency strives to be a positive community asset.”
The upcoming March 11th seminar is free and open to the public. Those interested can register online at the Urban League website located at wsurban.org. For more information, call Abio Harris at 336.717.1224.