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Expert Interview For Sub-Sahara African's Homeowners and Tenants During the Covid-19 Crisis

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

In order to answer your questions about renting or paying mortgage during the Covid-19 crisis and the expected economic recession, Africans4future Network Editorial interviewed Lionel Momeni, a real-estate expert working in the Maryland.

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Image credit: Screenshot from propertycohort

1- As a real estate agent why do you think the Covid-19 is having such an impact on real estate?

Among many reasons;

  • Home owners who are not pressed to sell are waiting; causing a short of inventory

  • Banks have higher standard to pre-approve a buyer. They want buyers with higher credit score and more ''skin in the game'' meaning higher down payment

2- Is it a good time to buy/sell a house ? If not when would the buying/selling time favorable again? If yes,  how can we get the best deal now?

  • It is definitely  a seller's market now mainly because of shortage of inventory.  House prices are high now and could go down after the crisis as more inventory might become available. I would suggest that people who are willing to buy get pre-approved now and observe the market.

3- Is it true that during the Covid-19 crisis, tenants should not pay rents and homeowner don’t need to pay mortgage if they can’t? What could be the consequences on the rent or the mortgage?

  • Not true. Tenants who are able to pay, should pay. Although they cannot get evicted now, their landlord may start the eviction procedure once that restriction is lifted.

  • As far as homeowners are concerned, many banks/lender offer a type of forbearance program. Don't use it if you don't need to. Although it doesn't affect your credit score, it may appear on your credit report and affect your ability to obtain future loans.

4-What advice would you give to a Sub-Saharan African  who lost his/her job but has to pay rent/mortgage?

  • Speak to your landlord, who will most likely be understanding. The thing not to do is to avoid the landlord. People should take this opportunity to reflect on better ways to save for raining days. 

5- How can those who kept their jobs and can still pay their bills take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to invest in real estate?

  • Cash on hands is the key. In a multiple offers situation, the buyer with the most cash on hands is most likely to see their offer accepted. So if you are blessed to still have a job, save as much as possible, observe the market and be ready to purchase.

6-Some Sub-Saharan Africans prefer to rent in the USA and build houses back home saying this is not their real country. As a real estate expert, what advice could you give to a new sub-Saharan immigrants who is hesitant about buying a house?

  • As a real estate agent and real estate investor, I would recommend to purchase if your mortgage payment will be around what you are paying for rent. Rather than helping someone else paying their mortgage by giving them rent money, you should purchase your own. If/when you decide to return to your country of origin, you can find a tenant that will help you pay your mortgage. 

  • I will also add that there are a few programs available for first time home buyer that will not require a lot of money for down payment.

Born in Cameroon, a tropical nation in Central Africa, I moved to Ivory Coast with my Mom and sibling at fourteen years old and later on, I relocated to London. I moved to the United States when I was twenty three years old and pursued my education in information technology and I currently hold a Master in database administration. After getting married in 2015, I purchased my first home.Throughout all my life experiences, I believe God has blessed me with the gift of helping, and through real estate, I am able to help others in their pursuit for a home suitable to their needs. I value the simple things in life and when I am not in the office working, I enjoy spending time with my wife and my newborn son; and traveling as well.  I would like to build a relationship with my clients and be a Life time agent for them.

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Herve Ngate

Africans4future Editorial

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