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A pathway from renting to owning a home

By Paula Anderson

In 2008, the Great Recession affected housing and our economy due to subprime loans. Mortgage companies and banks lost assets and families lost homes.

Despite the challenges in 2008, John Cornes, real estate agent, used this industry as a side hustle and now it has led to a profitable income stream.

Cornes said, “I was working a corporate job in accounting and I decided to work part-time because I could serve residential clients after hours and during my lunch break.”

After working in the field a few years, his side hustle turned into a full-time job because he was earning more money selling real estate than working his day job, stated Cornes.

Courtesy Photo of John C. Cornes

Twelve years later the real estate market has undergone another challenge - COVID-19. In March 2020, the U.S. economy shut down and that causes business owners to close operations.

"Before COVID-19, it was a seller’s market and due to stay- at-home orders this was an increase because more people needed to work from home and home school children. Some wanted to get away from the density of apartments and condos," said Cornes.

Another factor in the real estate market has been senior living facilities, which have taken a hit due to the elderly population’s vulnerability to COVID-19 stated Cornes.

According to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the State of Black Housing Report, 42.1 percent of black; 47.5 percent Latinx purchased homes compared to 73.4 percent of white households in 2019.

Many people don’t believe they can own a home because of generational patterns, but owning a home is possible just as renting stated Cornes.

As a board member of the Frayser Community Development Corporation (CDC), Cornes said this community is renovating old and dilapidated housing to increase homeownership.

There can be challenges to owning a home and building a solid credit history is another path to achieving homeownership. Charge-offs and consecutive late payments can hinder the ability to own a home, but there are resources to help.

Unfortunately, African Americans have more credit challenges partially due to systemic factors than other cultures and he recommends homebuyer education to increase knowledge and awareness,” said Cornes.

According to Cornes, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of Amercia helps individuals with obtaining home ownership. The program is funded by Wells Fargo and Bank of America and prospective homeowners can qualify for no down payment and no closing costs to purchase a home.

Dominique Anderson, founder of Dominique Anderson Consulting, LLC said, “Hosting homebuyer education, working with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) and connecting with church leaders will add more value to the conversation.”

Courtesy photo of Dominique Anderson

Anderson added, “Affordable and attainable housing are terms used interchangeably to define low-to-moderate income home buyers."

Traditionally affordable housing has been geared towards Section 8 and people with low-income. Attainable housing is for families with low-to-moderate incomes ranging from $30,000 to $60,000, stated Anderson.

The pathway to owning a home can be challenging and Cornes added that policy makers such as city, county and state elected officials should be held accountable for helping to change the narrative.

To learn more about John C. Cornes, contact him at

To watch the full interview with John C. Cornes, click below.


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