Buying a home is a major milestone. Homeownership is believed to have many benefits, from building wealth to creating a sense of belonging. According to The National Association of Realtors’ 2022 Profiles of Homebuyers and Sellers report, of those buying homes, Black families represented 3% of buyers, Hispanic families 8%, Asian families 2%, and white families 88%. In the same report, first-time homebuyers represented 26% of homebuyers. 

David Smith Sr., a local pastor who grew up in Madison, said homeownership gives Black families the opportunity to build equity and economic wealth.

 “To be able to say you’re a homeowner, it’s a lot of pride to do that,” Smith Sr. said. “It wasn’t always easy and possible for Black families to get housing in this area so it’s good to see programs that are working with banks and financial institutions to make sure we have equal opportunities to purchase homes.” 

Smith Sr. owns a home and his parents owned one too. Now, his son, David Smith Jr., is a first-time homeowner. 

David Smith Jr. and his wife, Danielle, purchased a home last year. The couple worked with the Urban League of Greater Madison and its Home Ownership Program. The program offers low-interest loans and down payment help to families to guide them on the road to owning a home.

 “It was a major blessing because they were able to help with down payment assistance and helped us get into a home that we otherwise might not have been able to afford,” Smith Jr. said. “We worked primarily with Julian Walters who was the program’s realtor and he really advocated for our family. The whole journey took about eight months in total.” 

Smith Jr. said he and his wife always wanted to be homeowners. Last year, the desire to own a home became stronger. Smith Jr. recalls being nervous, saying they didn’t know much about buying a home, other than it was a big responsibility. He said their journey was a leap of faith.

 “It took a lot of patience, perseverance and discipline,” said Smith Jr.  

Smith Sr. said he and his wife, Tracy, are proud of their son. “He had a goal and a vision for owning a house for him and his family and he went for it, did some research and found the right program that fit their needs and succeeded,” he said. 

The younger Smith and his wife have three sons aged 4, 2 and 8 months. They all love their home. 

“Everyone who comes says it suits our family well,” Smith Jr added. “We love that we have our own yard for the kids to play in. The kids have their own playroom, and we have office space.” 

The Smiths have some projects they want to complete over the next few years to customize their home even more to fit their family’s needs. 

Smith Jr. offered advice for those who may be thinking about purchasing their first home: “Do your research, find a good realtor, and be patient,” he said. “The market has been really rough for buyers, but you will eventually find the perfect home for your family and the journey will all be worth it.”