At United Housing, we promote homeownership by giving people the information and agency they need to pursue the homebuying process with confidence. Dee joined the team at UHI and was inspired to make an investment in herself and in her son’s future. After a year of saving, she was able to purchase her dream home. But buying a house is only the first step in the homeownership process, and like anything, adjusting to homeownership can have its highs and lows.

Dee has now been a homeowner for a little longer than three months. She says that she is slowly but surely coming to feel settled in her home. Doing things like decorating the house’s common areas has made the space feel more like her own. 

“It’s really starting to set in,” she explained, “I can’t believe all of this is mine.”

In her new life as a homeowner, Dee has started to see firsthand the value of tips she learned through UHI’s Homebuyer Education Courses. She performs regular home maintenance to save time and money in the long run and she prioritizes her bills to stay timely and consistent with home and utility payments. Additionally, Dee learned about the importance of home security through UHI, but didn’t anticipate appreciating it as much as she has. 

“I thought home security was just changing the locks,” said Dee. “However, I learned that there was more to it than that, and got a home security system set up – which has given me so much peace.”

As far as homeownership’s challenges, Dee happily reports there have been little to no issues. There was a neighboring property owned by the city that had weeds growing out of control. Thanks to her education with UHI, she knew to call Memphis 311 to start the process of weed removal and yard maintenance. 

Since moving in, Dee has tackled many DIY projects both inside and outside her home, all while adhering to a strict budget. Dee plans to weatherize her home for winter and is using these chilly, fall nights as test runs to see which cracks and crevices might be letting the cold air in, helping her decide which areas need caulking and weatherization strips. 

When asked what most excites her about being a homeowner, Dee says it’s just the fact that she has a great place to call home. 

“I ride up to my yard and just stare at it before pulling into my carport,” said Dee. “I’m definitely in the ‘honeymoon phase of homeownership – I love it!” 

We’ll continue to follow Dee’s journey as a homeowner throughout the first year in her home. Keep up with Untied Housing on our website and social media for more about Dee! 

Community banking

As you drive through your town, you’ve likely noticed community banks without even realizing you’re passing them. A community bank is exactly what it sounds like – a smaller, locally owned and operated bank that serves those in a particular area or community. 

There are a few major differences between community banks when compared to regional and national banks. Community banks cannot serve customers out of state and instead focus on serving a specific set of customers in their area. For this reason, community bankers tend to understand the economic conditions of the area as well as the people who live there. This understanding makes community banks more likely to loan to borrowers in their community based on familiarity and family history rather than credit scores or traditional financial metrics. Additionally, community banks are small businesses themselves, making them more small business friendly. Community banks are a critical part of a healthy financial community because they are able to use traditional banking activities to pour back into their respective communities without some of the barriers that come with regional and national banks.

Banking and systemic discrimination

Most importantly, community banks are often located in underbanked communities in rural areas or inner cities. In urban, inner-city areas, community banks often serve a large Black population, which is significant as the Black community has been historically discriminated against financially, largely by regional and national banks. In an interview with NPR, Black bank owner Sidney King points out that many Black communities often feel big, national banks aren’t for them, as their parents and grandparents didn’t have banking relationships due to this systemic bias. Community banks that serve Black individuals are often also minority or Black-owned and can be vital to rebuilding trust between financial institutions and the Black community. 

What now?

Unfortunately, race-based discrimination in banking still exists. Last year in Memphis, 13% of Black shoppers were denied a mortgage, while only 5% of white shoppers faced the same rejection, and predatory mortgage lenders are still more likely to target people of color. 

United Housing has always worked to break down barriers that traditionally underserved Memphians face in the homeownership industry. Through loan programs like our new Build Bold Fund, we hope to raise money and forge partnerships with community banks to support individuals who cannot get approved for a loan through a regional or national bank. Another great way to combat financial inequity in your community is by supporting and investing in your local community bank. By opening a checking account or taking out a loan through a community bank, you are pouring your resources back into your neighborhood and the people who call it home. 

Community banks give Memphians of all backgrounds the opportunity to be approved for loans and less likely to turn to potentially predatory lenders for financial help. To learn more about being approved for a loan, contact United Housing today at 901-272-1122. 

Preparing to list your home can be a time-consuming process. Many families spend weeks organizing closets, touching up paint and cleaning all the nooks and crannies to make sure their home is ready for potential buyers to visit. Preparing to list your home, especially if you have big plans to move, can be an exciting process! In all of that excitement, a few important steps might fall through the cracks. Here are three things to add to your to-do list that will help you get the most money out of your home as you prepare to sell:

 

    1. Hold your own inspection to identify any issues you might need to fix.

When you purchased your home, you likely enlisted a home inspector to examine the house before you closed. Traditionally, buyers hire home inspectors to ensure the home they’re purchasing doesn’t have any outstanding issues or problems that should be considered in the sale process. It is common for buyers to request sellers to make repairs to problems as part of their contract. Unfortunately, many sellers enter the process without knowing these problems exist. When sellers have to make repairs or lower their selling price, they ultimately cut into the money they take home after they sell.

Before you list your home, hire an inspector to come out and thoroughly review your home. This inspector should be able to identify issues that you should repair before your home goes on the market, giving you time to make updates before you list. Even if you don’t choose to make the repairs recommended by the inspector, you will go into the selling process with a better understanding of what a potential buyer might ask you to repair or fund as part of the sale. This can help you determine a fair asking price and set your expectations for profit.

 

      2. Research comparable home prices in your neighborhood.

A large part of the homebuying and selling process is setting personal expectations. You can save yourself a lot of heartache and struggle during the negotiating process if you base your asking price on research. In the months leading up to listing your home, track home prices in your neighborhood. You can do this online or using resources in the local newspaper. See how much money people are paying for homes comparable in size to your own within your zip code. Consider not only homes that have the same square footage as you, but also take into account how many bedrooms and bathrooms your home has compared to homes you’re watching. A house with more bedrooms or bathrooms than yours might sell for a higher price even if the square footage is comparable. If you use online sites like Zillow, Redfin or Trulia, you can also see the condition of homes in your neighborhood. Understanding how your home compares in terms of updates and renovations can give you a better understanding of your future asking price.

 

     3. Enlist the help of a reliable Realtor.

A lot of sellers are tempted to list their homes themselves because of the commission fees that Realtors take after the sale. But partnering with a Realtor can save you a lot of time and money, so we always recommend working with an agent you trust. A Realtor can help you make decisions that will impact your sale – like the time you list and whether or not you should have an open house. When they walk through your home, they can identify your home’s best assets based on market trends and can tout those in your listing language. They often have access to professional photographers who will make your home look exceptional in online listings. Though you should do your research in step two, after walking through your home and surveying your neighborhood, your Realtor can help you set a realistic asking price. All of these factors will ultimately help you get the most money out of your home when you finally sell.

Whether your child is learning at home or in the classroom, cooler weather brought on by fall and winter will mean more time spent indoors. Winter is already known as a time when sickness – like the flu – is more common. But did you know that household products and practices can contribute to illness, especially among children? In Memphis, our older housing stock, in addition to substandard housing, contribute to increased rates of child respiratory illnesses like asthma. 

 

Many parents don’t realize that simply being at home can contribute to childhood chronic illnesses. But, armed with knowledge, you can make your home a healthier place to live. A few simple and affordable changes can transform your home into a safe haven for your children! Here are recommendations from our friends at the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative:

 

Know the triggers. 

Do you know the common triggers of asthma in the home? Mold, dust mites, smoke, pests, gasses and even cleaning chemicals can cause asthma flare ups, especially in children. If you know what to look out for, you can better create a plan to help remove these elements from your home. 

 

Kick mold to the curb. 

Mold is a pesky and sometimes dangerous organism that lives in damp places within the house. If you’re wondering where to look to see if you have mold in your home, start with your water sources! You’re most likely to find it in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. You can remove mold by gently using a scrub brush, water and soap to clean the affected area. Don’t use chemicals like bleach – as we mentioned before, they can be irritants. Then, focus on ventilating wet areas. Consider opening windows and running vent fans while you shower to keep water from building up. Dry and caulk areas around sinks where water might pool from leaks. Ultimately, keeping your home dry will help prevent mold growth. 

 

Take care of pests. 

No one is happy to find a bug in their house, but in Memphis, it’s inevitable that they’ll cross the threshold from time to time. It’s important that you look carefully for signs of infestation or a growing number of bugs in the house. Check baskets of blankets and areas where you store food for rat or mouse droppings. Insects and small rodents can carry dangerous diseases, and their droppings can send particles into the air that trigger sickness in people. If you ever see signs of pests in your home, connect with a local pest control company. Many businesses now offer green or low-chemical options that can help get rid of the problem without bringing harsh chemicals into your home. From there, carefully clean surfaces with soap and water, and plug any holes where pests might come through. 

 

Check for lead-based paint. 

If you live in a home built before 1978, you should have your home inspected for lead-based paint. If lead-based paint is present, have children under six tested for lead levels in their blood. Then, speak with a lead abatement specialist to create a plan to remedy the issues. United Housing’s Home Repair Loan can help you pay for this process.

The average home in Memphis is 46 years old, meaning many homeowners in our community live in houses that have been around longer than they have. Most people have great experiences in old homes, however, their rich history means they might be in need of a little more TLC. So, what options are available for you to do some home maintenance on your older home?


Simple touches
Don’t let outdated finishes or a bit of wallpaper discourage you from buying an older home! There are simple things you can do to refurbish your old home that only require a hardware store and a little dip into your budget. Things like adding fresh or new coats of paint, replacing door knobs or cabinet pulls, and investing in a new light fixture or two can make a home feel brand new. Some repairs you can do easily and inexpensively, such as filling holes left in a wall or using a little oil to fix a squeaky door. However, many older homes need work done that requires a professional, significant financial investment, or both. Luckily, there are several resources available to help you maintain your home.


MLGW weatherization and home repair programming
MLGW’s Share the Pennies is a community contribution program that allows homeowners to round up their bill payments and apply the money toward grants for low income tenants to make weatherization or energy efficiency repairs to their homes. This not only provides assistance to make necessary home repairs that old homes often need, but helps you to save money in the long run by cutting energy costs and lowering your utility bill.


Post Purchase support and Home Repair Loan options through UHI
Older homes can present serious challenges that you’ll want to address – they may need a new roof, lead- based paint abatement, new HVAC, foundational updates, and much more. Luckly, United Housing offers several resources that can help you with the process of refurbishing or maintaining an older home. Our Home Repair Loan program can help you upgrade your home for accessibility and security, and can be used for a variety of projects including plumbing, roofing, electrical and more. The loans range from $5,000 to $15,000 and have a low, fixed interest rate with affordable monthly payments over a repayment term of 10 years. You can click here to find out if you’re eligible for a home repair loan. Additionally, UHI offers Post-Purchase homeowner workshops that focus on teaching new homeowners how to successfully navigate homeownership by providing education on budgeting, credit, insurance and other financial responsibilities that come with owning and maintaining a home.


Old houses are charming, and are usually very well built and full of character – but you might find a few more needed renovations in them than you would in a newer home. However, don’t let that discourage you. Call United Housing at 901-272-1122 and start making plans as to how you could fix up your house. With the necessary support and resources, you can create a home for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Due to COVID-19, many families are finding themselves faced with the possibility of eviction or foreclosure. These things can be frightening as an adult, so it is especially scary for kids who might not even be exactly sure what these words mean – which is why you should talk openly about these issues with your children. These are struggles many people with and without children face, the best thing you can do is talk openly about it with your kids. Here’s how:

 

Be honest

It’s important to be honest when speaking with children about sensitive topics like eviction and foreclosure. Don’t hide anything from them, and be sure you answer all of the questions they might have. Of course, you do not have to tell them everything, but giving them some information will allow them to better navigate the situation and is better than leaving them in the dark. 

 

Include them

Another way to extend your conversations with your kids about these topics is by keeping them updated and included in the process. Now, you don’t have to take your child with you to meet with a lawyer, however, it’s important that they know what could be coming next. Try to explain what steps you might be taking soon and how it could affect them. This will allow them to feel more at ease, as they’ll know what to expect, while also teaching them life skills that could come in handy in the future.

 

Provide reassurance

While this can be a difficult time, it’s important that as an adult, you try to have a handle on your own emotions during conversations with your child surrounding these topics. Kids will be scared and anxious, so you should be someone they can turn to with their questions and uncertainties. Be strong for them by acting as you normally would, providing them with the reassurance that although their housing situation might change, you will not. 

 

Consider its impact on them

Above all, be cognizant of the individual changes your child might have to go through, and the significant impact it can have on their lives. It could be more than just moving homes, but potentially moving school districts and leaving a neighborhood of friends and familiar faces. It’s common for us to view kids as resilient, which they are, but we shouldn’t discount the profound impact change can have on their lives

 

It’s important that you remember that these things, although they might feel like it, are NOT the end of the road, and finding yourself with an eviction notice or with your home in danger of foreclosure, has nothing to do with what kind of parent you are, and how much you love your family. Homeownership is still possible, regardless of any setback. Call United Housing today, and we can help you get back on your feet.

Our city is facing an eviction crisis – and you or a loved one might be trying to navigate the process. While local agencies, nonprofits, attorneys and community activists are working to keep people in their homes, it is likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of families will lose their homes over the next few months. 

 

The eviction process can be disheartening, traumatic and confusing. To have the roof over your head taken away from you can lead you down a trail of negative thoughts. But there is still hope – even if you’ve been evicted there are organizations like United Housing that want you to get back on your feet and guide you toward homeownership. 

 

Is homeownership realistic if I’ve been evicted?

Yes. There is no situation where a person cannot start working toward homeownership. Some individuals work toward this goal more quickly than others, but the team at United Housing will support you for as long as it takes to get you into your new home. We can help you build your credit, which might be affected by your eviction if your late payments were turned over to a corrections agency. Then, we’ll help you build a budget so you can save for the home buying expenses. We’ll educate you on the homebuying process and connect you with reputable loan officers. There is a path toward homeownership for everyone. 

 

Why homeownership?

Owning your home creates a more stable environment, one where you’re in control. Homeowners don’t have to answer to landlords or leasing agents, and many feel empowered because they own the place where they live. In Memphis, many of our clients find that the mortgage they pay on a home they own is less than they paid in rent, making budgeting easier for many families while simultaneously providing more space and independence. Homeownership is also an investment in yourself. Every mortgage payment you make is an investment in the future profit you make when you go to sell your home.

 

What does this process look like? 

It starts with asking for help. Our team of trained professionals are here to help assess your situation and provide support. From connecting you with immediate housing support, to creating a credit improvement plan and helping you apply for loans you need, our HUD Housing Counselors and loan officers are here to support. What are you waiting for? Call UHI today at 901-272-1122. 

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P: +1 901.272.1122

2750 Colony Park Drive
Memphis, TN 38118

 

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