(BLACK PR WIRE) (September 27, 2009) -- Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home. But these days, more African Americans own their own homes and do not want to settle for merely humble living arrangements. There are many types of living units available, such as apartments, condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes. Each living style has its advantages and disadvantages, and no longer does everyone dream of the old-fashioned house with a white picket fence. Some people’s dreams involve the convenience of having a workout room, tennis courts, theater room, clubhouse, sauna and swimming pool within a short walking distance.
While the Census Bureau reports that African American home ownership in 2004 was at 49.1 percent nationwide, some localities boast higher numbers. In a ranking of cities published in the July 2004 issue of Black Enterprise, Birmingham, Alabama comes out on top with 58 percent African American homeownership. Closely behind is Memphis, Tennessee at 57 percent, followed by Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina, both at 55 percent.
Still, not everyone who can afford a house chooses to own one. There are issues of purchase cost, financing options, maintenance work and costs, privacy, the buyer/seller market, property appreciation, commuting distance and lifestyle needs that, when all factored in, cause many people to rent instead of purchase. Since ours is a transient society, renting an apartment is still an easy way to leave a living arrangement if you will possibly relocate in the near future. There’s no need to use a realtor or wait around for prospective buyers to buy your property. If owning a home is for you, there are different options to consider besides the traditional single-family house.
A condominium, or condo, is a building with separate units that residents own instead of rent, though they do not own the actual building. Generally, the homeowners form an association and elect a board to manage the building. Condos attract families, singles and empty nesters that prefer this lifestyle because of the convenience. Condos are often located in downtown areas of major cities. Not only do residents have the benefit of amenities within the building, they can often walk to restaurants, shops, dry cleaners and grocery stores. A maintenance crew takes care of all gardening, yard work and repairs. There is usually a 24-hour security system of some kind, either by a guard, check-in desk or buzzer, plus having neighbors all around you.
A townhouse has an intermediate design between a house and an apartment. Unlike the generic “skyscraper” look of many condo developments, most townhouses have the look of single-family homes, except that they are connected to other units through shared walls. A townhouse unit may be part of a “twin” or be connected to several homes in a row. Townhouses may be located in the city or in the suburbs, and usually allow for a small yard area. Some homeowners earn supplemental income by purchasing entire townhouse developments and renting out the remaining units.
So, don’t assume that costs or other obstacles preclude you from owning a home. Sit down with a realtor and keep an open mind to all the options. You may find just the arrangement that fits your budget and your dreams.