The traditional real estate industry has failed communities of color. The gap in homeownership between black and white families is as bad today as it was when segregation was legal. How is that even possible?
The Black homeownership rate in Atlanta is 47%, three points higher than the national average. The White homeownership rate in Atlanta is 75%. Historically low homeownership participation, over generations of time, causes an ever-increasing gap in the wealth that real estate creates.
Why such a gap? There are literally hundreds of reasons. None of them good. But, regardless of spin, the wide disparity rests squarely on the absolute failure of the real estate industry. A failure of the industry to see how “their” traditional sales approaches were NOT working for communities of color.
Real estate is the embodiment of capitalism. Pick your cliché; “money talks”, “follow the money”, “show me the money”. In this system, human nature drives Agents and Brokers to spend their time and energy with only those who bring them the most money.
My guess; it wouldn’t be hard to find hundreds of NAR-written articles, and years of conference forums all dedicated to the issues of homeownership disparity. Yet, allow me to quote our second line; “as bad as it was when segregation was legal”. NAR was never the solution. Ever read their website? The pride of English majors everywhere, NAR is the gold standard in written puffery. But, if all you have is puffery and word construction that vaguely sounds inspirational, nothing of substance will ever get done. Then again, “substantive change” has never been part of the NAR world.
So how do we fix the homeownership disparity?
Any Change Agent hoping to help raise ownership levels within communities of color must be solely focused on the greater good of that community. Focus has been the failure of the past. Communities of color were far too easily overlooked or forgotten. In Part 1 of this blog, you were introduced to Bank Greenwood. (www.bankgreenwood.com) While the Company doesn’t mention real estate per see, it’s hard to see them accomplishing many of their community goals without the aid of a real estate component. Wealth building still starts at home.
It almost goes without saying, but communities of color could really use an organization like Greenwood to help them become homeowners. If there is such a thing as a natural fit, Greenwood offering realty services appears to be just that.
And, speaking of fit, there is no better place in the United States for a Change Agent, like Greenwood, to focus on real estate than Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta is NOT a NAR market. NAR has zero influence over real estate methodologies in Atlanta. In any other city in America, an outlier in real estate would be forced to fight against NAR. But, not in Atlanta.
What would it take for an organization like Greenwood to offer realty services? The answer is simple; $250 bucks and the desire to do so.
DBAs Realty Brands (Doing Business As) can be registered with GREC for about $250.00. Once registered, DBAs can market and promote their brand as they see fit. (License law compliant of course) A Change Agent, like Greenwood, could develop their own sales force, use their own sales methodologies and establish their own rules for compensation. The idea of a real estate Sales Agent working for the greater good of a community over the chasing of the highest commission would certainly be compelling.
What Black homeowner wouldn’t want to list their home for sale with a Change Agent helping put money back into their community? A Greenwood realty DBA would generate significant Atlanta market share on the day they opened. Fans of marketing will tell you that doesn’t happen very often.
So, what’s in it for Wynd Realty?
We are flat fee Brokerage who takes no interest in an Agent’s commission. While a banking realty brand may add a few agents to our roster, at $12.95 a month, it’s hardly a factor.
There is a problem with homeownership in communities of color. A company like Greenwood is in perfect position to address that problem. Atlanta is the obvious choice for any new ideas or concepts in real estate. Atlanta is also home to some of the highest concentrations of wealth within communities of color. Wynd Realty is the only Brokerage in Atlanta that allows DBA branding. Combine all these elements and everything is pointing to a successful realty brand. A brand like no other.
While nothing may come of these blogs, the thought of creating anew and doing something that has never been done before is the real reason we wrote them. The idea of an organization like Greenwood entering our real estate markets was too exciting not to write down. Let’s hope it happens.