Back in June, we had an episode called Addressing Racism In Real Estate.
That episode was just the beginning of the conversation about the very deep roots racism has in the real estate industry in particular and how the lingering effects contribute to the systemic racism that still exists in our country today.
To understand the history of racism in our industry, we added three additional books to the Agent Grad School summer book club–The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, Race For Profit by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and The South Side by Natalie Y. Moore.
On today’s episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent, not only are we having the book club discussion for these three books, but equally as important as the history, we also talk about how racism is still very much alive in the real estate industry today and what we as real estate agents can do about it.
My guest today, Harrison Beacher, has been a full-time real estate agent in Washington, DC since graduating from Georgetown University. He is honored as a top agent in his market year after year by both his clients and colleagues, he is a leader among leaders, an advocate for his clients, and is a sought-after local and national speaker.
Harrison was named one of Realtor® Magazine’s 30 under 30 Class of 2016. He was appointed to the 2017-2019 board of directors for his local Realtor Associations, and The National Association of Realtor® Young Professionals Network appointed Harrison to their national advisory board as the RPAC participation chair for the 2019-2020 term.
But, above all his well-deserved awards and accolades, he is always looking for ways to include people in what he’s doing and he has a genuine desire to truly help people, especially ones that need it the most.
My favorite thing above all about Harrison is despite his demanding schedule and constantly being pulled in so many directions, he always a smile on his face.
Harrison was also recently part of the National Association of Realtors® Leadership Summit held in August 2020, where addressing historical and current issues of racism and bias in the real estate industry took center stage.
Listen in as we discuss the history of racism in our industry, how the passage of the fair housing laws starting in the late 1960s didn’t do nearly enough to change the housing laws, and the effects we are still seeing in our current day housing industry.
Most importantly, we discuss what we as real estate agents, who are the housing advocates on the front lines, can do about racism in our industry and the small changes we can make in our own businesses to stop it.
This is a topic every real estate agent should understand, take note of and participate in. I hope this episode helps you do just that.
Additional Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
NAR Leadership Summit Videos (note, you may have to be logged in to your National Association of Realtors® account to view these videos):
To learn more about Harrison or refer him clients looking for homes in the Washington, DC area go here and here.
To your success,
This is important for all people working in real estate to be aware of and understand, and kind of come face to face with, because there are reverberations that are ongoing impacts from, you know, basically two generations ago, not being able to participate in the American dream when that’s what everybody, when there was a, it was a group that could participate and take apartment, and it was the group that could period. And then over time that has had impacts that that touched kind of every aspect of society in the economy today. Welcome to this episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent I’m your host Jennifer Myers listen. As I share exactly what I did to go from not being able to sell a house for years to becoming one of the top 1% of agents in the us, even opening my own brokerage full of agents taught me serve all the clients that were coming my way.
I taught those agents the same strategies I use and date to became top producing agents. Now through this Podcast and Agent Grad School dot com. I’m sharing those same modern marketing and business strategies with you. Most of which I learned from looking outside the real estate industry, no fluff, no theory, not outdated sales techniques for paying for leads or just the exact steps to get you the real estate business you’ve always wanted. And the life outside your business, you’ve always wanted to let’s make it happen and dive into today’s episode. And today’s episode. I have somebody who I am so honored to have here.
His name is Harrison Beacher. He is a full-time realtor who Fenton’s graduating from Georgetown university, and you are a Washingtonian. And not only that, but you were a 30 under 30 realtor magazine, 30 under 30 class of 2016. You’ve also been appointed to the board of directors for your local association, greater Capitol association of realtors, your uhm, on the national association of realtors, young professional networks, you’re in the national advisory board for our PAC. You are the VP of the next generation for your brokerage Keller Williams.
And you are also always smiling every time I see you, which is amazing given how busy you are. I don’t know how much you have on your plate. So for you also to be walking around, I think the Harrison the last time I saw you was at the pathways for housing breakfast. Yeah. Yeah. And of course we see across the room and smiling. And so anyway, thank you for being here. I think you have so much to share. And one of the reasons I asked Harrison to be on today’s show is I’m not only are we discussing the books that we wrote over the summer, the Color of Law and The South Side and Race for Profit, but I want to have openness conversation about how systemic racism, especially in the real estate industry, you know, Back in June and, and even before this one, the idea that racism still exists so much in our country, it just got me thinking about how, what a huge role real estate has played in that.
So I brought Harrison On today to not only talk about those books, but to talk about that concept and what we can and w what we can all do about it as real estate agents. So, Harrison, as a long introduction to say, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much, Jennifer, for continuing to convo and, you know, helping people get to a space where, you know, by being a little bit uncomfortable and by, by looking closer at some details, I think that’s how we grow and move forward. So thank you for, for even facilitate in the space to have the competence. Yeah. Now, one reason I asked you to be on this podcast is because I saw you do a webinar for our local association talking about the history, essentially talking about Richard Rothsteins Book the color of Law and really talk about the history of racism in real estate.
And it was so eye opening, but, you know, one thing you said on there, and this is why I wanted you on is there’s so many real estate agents who don’t think this is something that they should have to think about or that it doesn’t affect them. And so here’s some, why do you think this is something that every real, real term, real estate agent across the country, even if they don’t think that, like, you know, there’s a racist kind of element to their business there, to their area. Why do you think this is important for realtors to think about and know about? Yeah. I mean, it’s a, it’s, it’s challenging to have to articulate, right? Like specifically why someone should consider to be aware of it and give mental space to something that’s outside of their lived experience, right?
Like that’s the hard part, like a lot of the cell from experience with this, one of the taglines we use as realtors, I’ve got this many years in the business, many deals and blah, blah, blah. We lead with that so much. So for us to say, I need you to consider something that’s not directly in your lives and in business experience, it’s hard. Right? Cause that sounds Side. And, and as a person of color for me, these are kind of truths that we are in the background, but before reading Richard Rothstein and digging in closer to like, I even didn’t know, like, that’s the bigger part I want to say to start with. This is like before reading the color of Law, like there were things that I kind of knew conversationally, tangentially, and understood to be true, that, you know, black folks didn’t have the same access to things because racism is real.
And, you know, I’ve seen that my family’s experience, but I didn’t know the detail, I didn’t know of these structural and systematic parts of Racism that it stops people from coming in Eddy cloud, who was a gentleman in a, a, a link and share with you before I think frame it up so perfectly to say that the absence of individual intention does not negate the presence of systematic racism, right? Like people think that just because it’s not something they’re intentionally and directly doing that it doesn’t exist. So I think this is important for all people working on real estate to be aware of and understand, and kind of come face to face with, because they’re reverberations that are ongoing impacts from, you know, basically two generations ago, not being able to participate in the American dream when that’s what everybody w when there was a, there was a group that could participate and take part in it.
And it was the group that could period. And then over time that has, that impacts that that touched kind of every aspect of society in the economy today. Yeah. And so that’s exactly what we are going to talk about. So we’re going to talk about the history, and I think about the history is important because it talks, it, it there’s obviously link lingering effects today. So I think the history is really important, but my problem with the history is so many people think, Oh, you know, the passage of the fair of the equal rights act and all of the fair housing acts. And, you know, I took the fair housing policy and they kind of present it that, you know, after 1968, when there was a fair housing laws passed that like everything was solved.
And that’s, it that’s really not the case. There’s, there was some lingering effects even today, so that we are going to talk about the history. We are going to talk about what lingering effects happen after the passage of the things that we hear about in our fair housing classes. And then we’re going to talk about what those lingering effects are in today’s market and how real estate agents can just have their eye on it. And perhaps not continue to practice. You know, it’s not about practicing w none of us think like, Oh, I’m racist, right? But there are certain little practices that we’re going to talk about that really continued to forward things like the wealth gap.
So we are going to get into that, and we’re going to just, we’re all the way we ask is really that you keep an eye on it and you start to really look at your practices and think about how people got here. Yeah, yeah. Context, right. That’s what we call the series. Right? Like history and context. Like, that’s, that’s all we can hope. And I think to be both good salespeople and just good people in general. Yeah. And because this is a time right. In our country where a lot of data is thrown around a lot of stats, a lot of facts, but without the current context, it, it can all be taking the wrong way. So my hope is that people have the right context to, to understand all this info in what they should do with it. Yeah. And my, my intention for this episode is for people to, like you said, you know, people who wouldn’t necessarily self-select into this conversation, I just want to educate more people about thinking about this topic and how it is still prevalent in today’s To in today’s real estate industry.
Now, you mentioned a link, there was a recent, maybe you can say, I think you were a part of these conversations are a part of the summit, but there was a recent back in the August, a leadership summit as the national association of realtors. And Harrison sent me a couple links that I’ll include in the show, my show notes over at Agent Grad School dot com. So you can log in and watch multiple videos about how the leadership across the country have the U S is talking about this. So I’ll include some of those links. Then it sounds Harrison is already kind of mentioned one person in particular who is talking about those. So I think in addition to this episode, please go to the show notes at Agent Brad School dot come and watch a few more of these videos.
So you can see how everybody in the industry and look at the leadership level is talking about this topic. So why don’t we dive in specifically, we’ll talk about the history. And that’s when you know, the book that we all read the color of Law by Richard Rothstein. And I think it’s the colors it’s so well. And actually one of the videos that we’re linking to is actually Richard Rasim himself speaking with the leaders at the national association of realtors about this topic. And so it’s really fascinating to hear him talk about it, but Harrison, you did such a great job at recounting kind of the, the, the history in a way that it felt very easy to understand. So do you mind just talking a little bit about, you know, how the history of racism in real estate?
Well, I think it, at the core Jennifer concept, we’ve got to wrap our heads around. It’s okay to be patriotic. And I appreciate and love all of the great things that America did. But the biggest thing, this book taught me and opened my eyes towards and reinforced, right, is that the people who were making laws that were deciding where money went, they were creating policy at the time when our country was rebuilding. So for the new deal, right, the SDR came back and did all this awesome stuff to get America back on the speed after the depression and after Wars and help create it to be an American superpower today, those people were flawed. People. Those people had policies. Those people had a racist thoughts and understanding that were really just driven by kind of ignorance, right. They didn’t know better. They didn’t have a, and I’m not making excuses for them, but no means as it, right.
But I think when we look at history through that lens, it just makes us understand it slightly differently. So the Color of Law really goes into the different phases in this country’s history. When housing was a push, right? When The, the idea is to own a single family, home was like ingrained in what the American dream is supposed to be at each of those kind of waves. There were a systematic, systemic, structural, and legal separations of what black people could do to participate in the housing market and white people, period, not, not debatable, like not, you know, not political now. Like that’s just a fact of what happened before. And if you look at, you know, are in real estate, we talked about the time value of money, equity appreciation, like all of these terms, right.
We know we are going through with sellers every day, buy an entire group of people, black people who had, and this is the other part to, we are talking about like working class. We’re not talking about, you know, trust fund or people that come from, you know, oil barren family. So things like that. We are talking about folks starting at the same spot after the depression, with the same resources, similar job opportunities about the same amount of money. There were the FHA. When the FHA was created, the funds were directed to, and, and made easier to get and make straight forward to get for white families. And there were a few things like the redlining, which is something we knew we were going over, over and over again. And in a fair housing classes, there were a restrictive Race covenants homeowners association as citizens associations and neighborhood associations, like multiple levels that said, if black folks with the same cash, the same resources wanting to buy a home, they couldn’t.
And, and that for us as realtors, we’ve got to realize that by them being excluded from participating at that time, the missed out on a couple generations of appreciation and growth and wealth, right. That wealth that has been passed on to fund colleges to build businesses the time value of money, right. It all comes to me back to that, that time value of money because Richard Roski and lays out the multiple ways the black people were prohibited expressly prohibited, right? Like not just by choice, like not segregating for comfort because, you know, they didn’t want to live in a white neighborhood. There were rules on the books that said you could not get there in Jennifer. I think of it like a obstacle course, right? Like you’ve seen a bunch of different drawings.
So like if people starting at the same point and there is a straight path versus, you know, the African-American black people back in the twenties, thirties, even coming back from war, right. GI bill, right. Like people that served this country and, you know, fought next to their On white brothers and sisters coming back home, the GI bill expressly would not give housing benefits to black people when they came back. And that was like a big, like, there was an entire generation, like, I don’t know about you, but I, my grandfather, you know, the Korean war, he came back and not able to use the same benefits to buy a home in the same neighborhood that his white counterparts were. Right. And that had an impact. So it was just all about like, understanding the access to both capital and housing and where to live at the time for people that had the same resources, the rules were different and there were multiple layers of stuff.
Yeah. And, and then thinking about how that goes into other parts of life. So for example, when, if you read Race for Profit, which is a really fascinating and dense book about the effects then of what that meant. So things like schooling, you know, and even when there weren’t restrictions, like for their, you know, even if legally a black person could buy in a quote unquote white neighborhood, they were shunned or, you know, there’s stories of like, you know, their house, you know, people throwing like, like setting it on fire and like making it so that it became that people didn’t want to do.
But then all of the, you know, the, the resources. So what was happening back then is that there was this, you know, kind of white flight happening towards the late, like mid sixties. Right. And so everybody was leaving the city centers and there was all this money being poured into the, the suburbs. Yeah. And, you know, that’s where the good schools were going. That’s where things like, you know, they talk about things like I’m not having access to like even healthy food and like of the trickle effect, but that, that, that housing. And so, you know, one reason I became a realtor and one reason I feel like our, what we do is so important is because it’s not just about buying and selling houses, it’s where people are able to buy a house and Do buy houses has an effect on truly generations to come.
Yeah. Because of how they eat, what schools they go to, you know, who they, you know, who their friends are, what the neighborhood’s like, what the community’s like. And so to have a group of people not have the same access, not just a housing, but everything else that comes along with housing changes the course of life. For generally, We don’t have the same resources at the time to do that. I mean, cause I feel like we fall to this narrative of assuming like, Oh, well, you know, there are a poor people in, there are rich people and right. Yeah. But this was a, that’s the crazy part, like starting at the same starting point, this was a generational advantage, right. That was given and a multi-generational advantage cause in the generation before were slaves.
Right? So like, this is like the, you know, slavery was its own whole separate conversation. But then after that, and there’s freedom and the great migration had people coming, fleeing the South and you know, where they would just killed for being alive and doing everyday things to a place that was at least not overtly dangerous in the same way. But then everybody’s included into, you know, the creation of ghettos. That’s what you’re talking about with folks leaving with white flight was that when, even when public housing projects were created, right, they were equally distributed to white and black, but then a generation, you know, a few in a decade or so later when the suburbs were created, right. This whole concept of the American dream was anchored in, get out of the slums and the ghetto and the city were all of them.
Right. All black people off and come to this other place. And this other place that even the people in cities like, look at the end of money. I want to come there To it was like, no, you can’t write, like, that’s the way the color of law is like, it’s not reinforcing that people live where they live now because of choice. Like that was the bigger, a bigger point. I think, for us as realtors to understand it, even watch our language, right? Like how can we talk about neighborhoods? How do we talk about the legacy in history of neighborhoods? Right. Right. And then Race for Profit they talk about it. She talks about how actually those homes in a quote unquote, ghetto we’re equally or more expensive. So what started to happen was people would start taking advantage because if black people couldn’t move to the suburbs, they can only live in one place.
And so people would take advantage of, you know, for example, not fixing up the rental properties. So it looked like, you know, they are living in, you know, what kind of a place that didn’t, that wasn’t maintained correctly. They were paying more sometimes than what, what they would pay for it and the suburbs. Yeah. But they were kind of just literally stuck for legal reasons, but also social reasons, not welcome in certain communities, communities. So let’s talk about what happened. So anything else you want to add? I mean, there’s so much we could talk to talk about like about the history, but I, what I really want people to take away is like, it’s not a historical problem.
Like I think people realize like, you know, there was a racist issue back in the day. Right. But the part that, that was shocking to me as I started delving into this is kind of what happened after what I thought there was laws passed to protect people in the fair housing laws. But so before we move on to that, anything else you want to add on the historical piece of it? No. I mean, just that again, the closer you look at at the history, when we say history, you know, what, what happened when this American dream idea it was founded when, uhm, all the images that we associate with American culture in life, just understand that the original kind of creators of that did not include everybody in that vision.
They just didn’t. And, and by them not being included initially that has reverberations and ongoing impacts that are still felt today. So let’s talk about, I think what the history that were presented in our fair housing classes and how we all say, well, you know, I’m not discriminating because I protect the fair housing classes. Right. Let’s talk about that time period, which is around it like the late sixties through, I don’t know, like maybe right before now. And let’s talk about how those was really didn’t really make that a big change for black people.
Like yes there’s there was like laws that required fair housing practices that’s when redlining with abolished. But, but then what does that mean? In reality, in reality, it didn’t really make any changes because there was still this kind of like social, like way of looking at is like, you know, one group versus another group, right. It still had that suburbs versus city white versus black. Right. Who was, who was in control at the time? Like that’s the important part to look at? Like outside of Law. Right. So yes. Fair housing. It was important. And we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the fair housing act, which gave, you know, black people, a leg to stand on when fighting, when going against and a quick Club to, this is a great new series on HBO Called Lovecraft country.
What is it? Say it one more time. Love craft country. Okay. It’s actually a horror movie created by Jordan Peele, but he uses a lot of the images of horror To represent just to make it a systemic racism and in the South and around in these times of a reconstruction. So it’s like it. Yes, they are, there are a whore, but then there’s also these different themes. There’s a whole scene for the one I watched last night about a black family moving into a white neighborhood and the things that the neighbors did to make them uncomfortable to the point where they want it to move out. So even when they can Get like, are we talking About like outside of the Law, but yes, for housing, it was good. We need to learn about it when we talk about it needs a champion. It, but when the majority in the population, right.
Have the people in control the white people at the time, we’re not in agreement with this and did not want it as driven by fear and ignorance. Right. They didn’t know better. I think they thought that if a black people, they move in, I’m going to kill my property value and that’s going to hurt my kids. And it was a lot of, it was self preservation, right? It’s wrong looking back now, but people then were making choices with the limited and kind of ignorant experience that they have for us. We want to make sure that we look at all of the things outside of the law that stops people from doing it specifically as realtors, the activities that we took part in, in our code of ethics, right. In our code of ethics. And I think in 1922 said the realtor shall not promote the joining of inharmonious racial groups.
I think that was in our code of ethics. And that was us as a job. That was, that was a part of our job, part of what made us that’s who we are like that’s who we were. Right. So understand that that’s the lens that, which, you know, a lot of people look at the history of our association and what we did and at the time that was supposed to be to protect property values. Right. That was the thing that we do as realtors to make sure we’re protecting our clients, but not mixing races. So that’s a really important thing that even in the midst of the fair housing act, we had a things like that in our, in our code of ethics. Wow. That’s like discussing, but you know, thank God we’ve grown out of it. And now we’re having a leadership summit. It’s about making sure that we don’t do that.
How many breakfast and that’s, I mean, and you’ve mentioned that earlier, but that’s a big deal because historically like leadership in NAR has been really white and really conservative. I mean, it’s like people that run a business and property and money have, have been rich people and a lot of them have been really white. So the fact that there was like hours dedicated to like very pro black causes and a black author, like On in our leadership. Side if you look at the, you know, when the people turn in the zoom screens, On, I mean probably 95% white. Right. So that’s really powerful to me to bring in a conversation in the first two people that might even disagree, but there were still hundreds and stayed on and listened like that. That was a powerful part. Yeah. Well, and to be able to have a different perspective, right? Like if you don’t have a different perspective, you know, at the Top than what we is, you know, at the lower rungs is, is what’s being fed by the people at the top.
So we need to have, you know, Color at the top in order to have a perspective of the, of that. So, okay. So here’s the part where I think most people, myself included until I sweat, I spent the summer, which is not enough time, but I spent the summer really trying to understand this topic from like a, what does it mean now? And so to me, and you tell me, but like what all this means is that there are people still today who are kind of behind other people, especially, can we talk about the wealth gap and how all this created a wealth gap and what that means in today’s real estate world.
Yeah. And that’s, I mean, again, this is not just our opinion on this because that’s like we talked at the beginning, it was an unfortunate debate around, you know, facts and data and then contextualize in that data. So again, I’m not trying to debate things here, but I want to be clear here, but there’s tons of actual empirical studies that showed this to be true, that, you know, black families in terms of net worth, the majority of net worth in this country is based in property, right. As we know in real estate for, but most of the most people own some property and have a, a, a, an equity in their home. And they can leverage that equity in their homes to do other things by not being able to participate. And there’s a couple of different studies that look at things by ethnicity.
You know, you start back in the sixties and you can even start at one at the Brookings Institute site, it looks at 1989 things that the average net worth of an African-American family in 1988, right, as a small shorter example was only around 10 to 15,000 in 2016, which was the Book working institutes last study that came out and it only gotten to a slightly over 20,000. Whereas the average net worth of American families that are white was closer to like 120,000 back in 1988. And it’s up into the hundreds and almost 80,000 in 2016. So again, that shows you a tenfold, right difference in net worth that can be driven directly back to it. Most people have their wealth in property in real estate.
It, it can be driven back to when that critical inflection point, right, when folks were getting into homes and being incentivized to buy homes, black folks, weren’t allowed to participate in it. It stopped there ability to own and let property grow and let wealth build period. And that, then that reverberates and to all the other things who can pay for college neighborhoods that have less ownership rates have less, a smaller tax base, have less infrastructure have schools that perform less. I mean, there’s all these different things that are connected to ownership, being able to own, being able to have equity that lets you fix your house up and making a house worth more. So it just, all of that is directly connected to what you felt today.
And it matters for those that are trying to participate the market now. Cause Jennifer, you know, and our market in DC, how many families or folks that you help, right? When they have a gift from mom or dad, my uncle to buy that’s a real thing. And even if you’re not all cashed, having that gift of equity of, you know, a couple, a hundred grand is what allows a lot of my, you know, first-time buyer staff for folks to compete and be able to buy a $700,000 place on me on the Hill. And from a lot of my families of color, it’s just not an option. Like they don’t, they don’t have someone that has that kind of funds those kinds of funds to support them. And that can be drawn back to this, this inability to participate in markets to generations to come, Right?
Because you don’t have the equity, maybe you don’t have access to the same schools, those kinds of things, the same, you know? Yeah. That was the biggest wake up call for me. And in fact, I was speaking to a colleague who sells a lot of new construction condos. And she said, you know, when we started talking about this topic and I, you know, I asked her, what was her kind of read on this? Like, what is her experience with Racism in real estate? And she said, the part that was so glaring to me, she said, I had a particular, I sold to different buildings the same year. And one building was in a certain part of town and everybody had down payment or it was paying cash for the condo.
Yes. And then there was another building and a different part of town. And she said, it was like, it was literally like night and day. I mean, those people can cook, you know, and she would really help them, like, you know, like fix their credit. And she said, it just, it was amazing to me to watch the difference in these two different neighborhoods and the people coming in and how much money the difference was. Yeah. And that’s not an emotional statement, right? Like that’s, that’s, that’s a fact of both our experience and now they’re just looking at the why behind it. Right. And where are those resources come from? And also disconnecting like as an unfortunate narrative that had gotten pushed out between some other kind of parts of systemic racism in the seventies and eighties was that, you know, laziness or like black, you know, black men and white, the black family, right.
Like all these things. But if you look at access to capital and owning and you know what that means to own a home and what that can do to you and your family unit, it can all be drawn. A lot of lines can be drawn back to a, to B ability to own as a participant. Yeah. That was really eye opening to me. I just, I hadn’t ever thought of it that way before, but I’m like, wow, because when you hear words like systemic racism, I don’t know. I like it. It feels like something like you can’t do anything about it or you don’t have, you don’t see. Right. If it’s a stomach, if it feels like this big, like when I’m here, the word systemic, I think of like, you know, lawmakers, I think of like the Capitol building, I think of things that are far away for me, but then when you really just think about it could mean, you know, how buyer’s do or don’t have a down payment that starts to get really Real.
Yep. And then what the trickle effect of what that, of what that looks like in all sorts of ways. Jennifer another concept I want to throw out is like really quantifying privilege. Right? Cause that’s another phrase that gets thrown around a lot and that’s a little more of a little bit more of a morphous, right? Like privileges is always a specific thing, you know, cause there’s a book I’m a white privilege and it’s a couple of the ones that throw this phrase out and we’ve talked about it a lot, one of the most tangible ways I’ve seen privileged kind of impact. And I think how it’s connected to what we do in real estate is understanding how to navigate the rules of money, understanding how to navigate credit and understanding the invasive nature of a application for a mortgage. Right? If this is not something that multiple people in your family have experienced and can give you advice on it can tell you what to do outside of being able to give you money.
Like so much of, you know, so much of the things we do in real estate or some emotional and scary. If you don’t have someone in your life directly, other than, you know, your realtor or a lender that your working with now, to help you understand how all this means, it’s going to be more difficult to like navigate and figure this stuff out like a, a, a mortgage built an application, asked a lot of stuff, right? And that’s not taught in school. And it’s not a subject that people are, are, are, are brought into in any way, other than if they self select to seek it out. Or if someone in their life who’s done it before, can help them out with it. So this is another quantifiable thing, but not being able to participate generations ago and having a generation of renters, right. That, that hadn’t owned and hadn’t understood what it meant to own.
It that’s a tangible issue with privilege. And where are we as a team of always going out of our ways to help with education and to lead with y’know trying to translate and make clear and make it understood how all of this stuff works and what you’ve got to do to like actually get over the hump. When, you know, credit may be a challenge. Cash may be a challenge, understanding the rules of money, maybe a challenge. That’s a really tangible Side of privilege that like isn’t talked about, but I’d like to argue that it’s connected to, you know, generations being held. Oh, absolutely. Oh yeah. Absolutely. I mean, it’s funny because, and I told you the story when we weren’t recording, but when I heard that word, it like earlier this year that were like, you know, privilege or white privilege, I thought to myself initially that I didn’t qualify for that because I didn’t grow up in a, you know, I was like a middle class and this and that.
And then I realized, no, that actually I had privilege because of the fact that I didn’t have that I had no, no barriers to access. And neither did anybody in my family. And that alone is the privilege. If not about growing up in a certain neighborhood or having a certain amount of money, it’s like that alone is my privilege. And that was in trouble. Significant. Right? Like from walking into a bank, like how you are, I mean, again, a whole separate console, just put it to even see how people are, the assumptions they make about you, how they treat you, how they talk to you. And I, and people can see us cause we’re talking, but I am a very fair-skinned and racially ambiguous looking black person like that. But like, you know, you can tell, I don’t know until you, I want to hear, maybe you can tell, but involved now, but it’s, it’s so interesting to see the different ways, even in my life, how the assumptions people make about me coming into a showing like that I’m not the Agent or the other, they walk in to an open house.
Like where are you? You know, there’s all these things to implement initial interaction, the change, how you are responding to, and that is not always connected to somebody in the individual racist thoughts are tendencies it’s it’s the system. It’s what you have seen. It’s like images that have been ingrained in your mind that we, as realtors now have to actively combat and think twice, like the biggest thing that we talked about it, you know, moving to the conversation for it, to what we do next is to actively worked, to give everybody the same shot opportunity, like fight those assumptions that may come out the gate, especially in our area. Like I think, you know, DC is not a monolith, a D C is its own interesting space where money looks very different here.
Right? We got people of all creeds Color sizes, whatever, but I have plenty of money. But for other places I would just encourage folks to not immediately throw someone in a box or make assumptions until you actually know what’s going on. And then if it is more challenging, right? If there are things that are not understood that you think should be easy and open, like have a little grace in that sense too, like that’s how, you know, the actual thing that we do is to like put our expertise in time and effort into some of those deals or transactions or people that are struggling to figure it out. Like a little bit more time. There can have a huge, huge impact generationally because that ownership that you’re opening folks up To is going to be felt generations down the line. So like, I think we, we have to start working past our bias and, and check ourselves in, check our assumptions.
’cause we are the gatekeepers for home. And then if we know how to do it, we got an equally share that knowledge and that helped with everybody. And guess what, when you do it while we still get paid for it, right? Like this is not complete charity work, right. Like, you know how to do it and, and help more with it and you can make more money if you do that, to help more people. Yeah. I mean, that’s been my experience because, you know, I focus on first-time home buyers and first time home buyers that needed my down payment help and one, and needed help navigating those kinds of, of assistance. I mean, that’s how I created. And it was only the out of my own experience of being a first time home buyer.
But the further I got into it, the more I realized how difficult getting the assistance is and how much help is really needed in. Yes, it took, it takes way more time to help people get assistance. But I don’t know. I just feel like everybody should have access to housing because I understand the impact that it has not just on that person, but on their future and perhaps their futures future. And so I think one thing I always like to remind real estate agents is sometimes we get so caught up in selling the house and we forget that there’s else on the other side of that, who’s a scared B that may, that may, may be the first person in their entire life that they know.
And they look around being a homeowner. And how, I don’t know if you have this experience Harrison but sometimes after our clients buy houses so much more in their life changes, they become more competent. They maybe, you know, all of the sudden, like other parts of their life start to kind of click into place because they realize that they can make their dreams possible and that, And do the sense of accomplishment. And I mean, like you said, confidence, and again, just having a home, having a place that, you know, is yours in your own life. It means, yeah. It means so much just so powerful. And we loved to participate in that, right? Like being there for that is amazing and fun, especially for folks that we’ve helped a lot of folks that, I mean, we, we would never say, but for us they wouldn’t figure it out, but we were a significant part of helping them navigate and an advocate for them to get in the door, that joy that they feel and how excited they are to become a raving fan is like that’s, what’s helped us build a huge referral business.
And, and a quick anecdote Jennifer is helping a young lady using an HVAC program and DC, the city was, you know, basically doing some of the city and the lender were making some assumptions about her living situation saying that there’s no way that she can just be here and not have her child’s father or someone else living in the house with her. This there’s no way. This is the single person household issue signed it over and over and over. And affidavits said, no, like this is the truth we had to basically go up To DHCD context and use some of my political leverage. I’ve got within D car M and G card to be like, yo, stop, like stop making assumptions. Like if she’s putting it in the affidavit, you saying is what she’s doing, what reason are you assuming she’s lying other than, you know, the reason that she’s black or whatever.
Right. But by us fighting and advocating for her to be able to get the deal done. And H path is its own thing is, you know, after working through that with her, her aunt had a home in shock that was a family home and that, and it turns out being both a To Side transaction, we’d be able to help her get her cash and move on. And it was the flipper able to bring it back to the market, by putting all that extra effort in fighting for her on the, you know, purchase, Side helping her family right in and participating. There was a, the next opportunity we earned from showing up when she needed it most also, you know, that’s not a small anecdote to say it like working through some of these challenging one’s is going to really open your eyes and open you up to other opportunities.
Like, cause you never know. Right. I mean, at the core, our job as real estate agents, in my opinion, is to be advocates for our clients. Right. And I think so. And so number one, let’s talk about what real estate agents can do to, to not promote kind of these kind of a small, tiny, like it’s big. Right. But, but what you just said, it’s like a tiny thing maybe, right? Like somebody can’t possibly believe that this is a two person household. It may seem tiny on the surface, but that’s a huge Deal because right there, that would have been a barrier. And if she didn’t have you as her advocate pulling all those strings that you were able to pull because of all the work and that you’ve done, she may not have gotten there.
And now think about like her, what her future looks like. You know, you, you, you are able to create wealth and her family that would never have been correct what maybe would never have been created because of those barriers. So being mindful and like being the advocate, number one for people who and spending a little extra time and really, you know, I always say to real estate agents, stop focusing on your commission, check, stop, focusing on the sale and start focusing on the people and the life that you’re changing and what home means to them. And so I think that’s number one, it’s just remember that, like, this is not a transaction for your clients. This is, this is a home and a dream and your job is to help them make that possible.
And if it means spending a little bit of extra time, helping people who, you know, may not have a huge down payment to make it easy on you and that to buy a house, be willing to put in the extra time that’s number one. And, and Jennifer, I’ll, I’ll take it as a slight step back. They’re we’re not saying people have to dedicate their entire business model to helping programs and helping more challenging deals because we know like there’s, you know, more work, less income from it, like by no means, are we saying folks have to sacrifice more of their time to do this. But I think if everybody just would set, you know, putting a sector of the business, put more thought than they’ve put before or not immediately dismiss and say, Oh, you’re using a program. Like I can’t do that. Or even worse. I don’t do that.
I don’t work in that price point like that. Nothing in granted people can brand however they want. But like this whole thing of, I think it’s the selling sunset craze, right? Everybody wants to come in and be a luxury realtor that sells is like $3 million house in a year. And that’s all I’m going to do. And I’m like, dude, for one, you don’t know rich people, if that’s the assumption that you can come in and do it for her to like the people that need the most help and that you can build a really robust business off of are, you know, middle of the market and folks that are like just barely scraping in man. Like that’s, that’s a model in terms of business. If you have a diverse and open business, guess what you’re going to be good when markets go up and down two, but not pigeonholing yourself. So, yeah. Well, and I, and I don’t know if this is something, but you know, I always think of myself.
So I always said to myself, okay, if I want to make lawyer money, I got to act like a lawyer. You know what it means? I’ve got to work. I got to be smart. I got to be careful in my time, you know, track my time. But you know, what else that high paying people do, like lawyers and doctors, they always take one or two pro bono cases. And so throughout my time selling houses, I would always, you know, how people would come to you and do you want to do like the lottery or some of the yeah. IZEA and those don’t provide commissions. So I would take like one or two pro bono cases like that per year and say, look, here’s how that like, and it was just up front with them.
I will help you as much as I can navigate these murky waters because it is difficult. And it just pointed them in, into places where they can make that, that happen. So I’m not suggesting that everybody do that, but like, don’t say no, if you’ve got somebody who just needs some help and you know how to navigate those waters, you can do it with not without spending a lot of time. You know, I wouldn’t show houses to them. I wouldn’t, they knew the house they want, they just needed help navigating, like how do I connect? IZEA the inclusionary zoning house that doesn’t pay a commission with H path and tax abatement so I can get, you know, and that’s an easy that it takes me an hour.
I’m going to do that. It’s a big commitment. I mean, the bigger part is that for you, it’s a commitment to helping those who need it most. And again, regardless of people’s faith background or whatever, I feel like as humans and as people that you know, should be servant leaders, right? It should be leading with a desire to help and do all of the things that are code of ethics now stands behind it. Doesn’t take that much effort and it doesn’t take that much time out of your life in business. We are taking you away from other things, but the impact that it can have is so huge. It’s so huge. Right? So let’s talk about some other things that maybe not, maybe don’t seem on the surface. Like, you know, when I was listening to one of the The leadership conversations, they, they asked, you know, what are the types of things that, that perpetuate racism or this wealth gap specifically.
And they mentioned things like those financial information sheets, or having love letters with photos, those little things, and, you know, having difference. And like, obviously you have to decide between one offer in another. And sometimes it does come, come down to a down payment. But how so, how do we as real estate agents like advocate for our clients, but at the same time, don’t perpetuate, you know, these wealth gaps that were caused by Racism. Yeah. And I think it’s just about like, being both careful and thoughtful, right? Because at the end of the day, like financial strength is, is pretty empirical, right?
People either have resources or they don’t for things that are close. I think that’s, that’s where our job and we are calling it comes in, is that like be very careful and thoughtful and an adherent to fair housing policy and making sure our clients don’t give them space, right. To even have a ton of information or try to make choices on things other than credit worthiness and, you know, the peoples’ ability to perform. But as simple as it sounds, Jennifer I think what we can do as agents is sometimes advocate and say, look a little closer at this one, right? Like don’t, don’t at surface level, just say that, Hey, because this offer, you know, is using a program or it’s using this or, or whatever, like don’t immediately, don’t immediately just dismiss and say like, Oh no, I never do that.
That’s, that’s hard. Look a little closer, look a little closer at that. And, and if we, as realtors, can they be an advocate for, and kind of understand the situation and as realtors too, that help people that are utilizing programs, we’ve got to have our blank. We got to have our stuff’s together. Right? Like it, it, it is a difference. It’s a different presentation. So what’s one thing people can do that are helping folks that are maybe on the more marginal sides of income and credit and qualification. You realtor can be the advocate, the representation, The confidence and Stiller, and work with your team of, of lenders and title. And everybody else to give them more confidence over whatever assumptions they might make about the program. That’s literally what we do. We Coalition right.
Like we’ve got a strong brand. People trust us that we are going to get clicked. Deal is done and closed. So we put our brand behind a, a program that we know is going to be challenging and we brought weak stomach, the majority of that challenge and try to insulate the other side from it. So, I mean, simply put Jennifer, I think of folks can make the choice to, to advocate for, and use their expertise and, and privilege and leverage to help fight for folks that probably wouldn’t have other folks fighting for them in the same way that can have an immediate impact. Now we’ve seen, but we just gotta decide to do it and decide to incorporate that into we do with our business. Oh, that’s perfect. Yes, exactly. And you know, that’s just, in my opinion, how unrealistic state agents should be like, period, right?
Like, Yeah, yeah. Not no special thing now, but not the post 2020 is like, you know what I’m going to do now? What I mean, like that’s our job. So let’s just focus on that and not on our commissioned Jack. Yes. We needed to make money, but we also need to truly be people’s advocate. And anything else you want to add? Harrison about this conversation. I feel like I could talk to you for hours about this because I just find your, the way that you present it. So I don’t know, easy to understand and relatable, and it doesn’t feel like it’s something kind of over there that scary to talk about it. So I really appreciate the fact that like you’re having this conversation with me and that you’re, that we’re able to share this with a couple of thousand agents that hopefully will be listening to this.
So anything else you want to add or have them make sure that they are taking away from this? Yeah. I mean, it it’s, you know, it’s towards the beginning of September, right. You know, and there’s been a bunch of stuff that’s happened in the summer and, and my, my fear and concerned that I want to caution people against and encourage folks to kinda stay vigilant is fatigued. Right. But when you start talking about a topic to much, and when that topic was already removed from lived experience, I’m just nervous that people may, you know, get to the winter and fall and say, Oh, well, that stuff happened to the summer. And now we talked about it. So it’s better. It’s really incumbent upon everybody listening here to be fully educated.
Right. Step one. So select our, learn about the history and context, step two, kind of understand where things are and make it real for you, right? Like it’s gotta be made real for you to understand and seek out people that are, maybe had that lived experience in your life. Right. To better understand. And I think from there it’s that like personal interaction and that, you know, making it real to you factor that quite often inspires action. And then the action like we were talking about today is, you know, people choosing to use their privilege, choosing to use their leverage, to be more thoughtful To to try a little harder to help folks that may need it. Right. And yes, a lot of those people, our black and Brown now, but if we would just kind of continue status quo working with, in our comfortable bubble, working with what’s easy and things don’t change.
So, you know, for folks that hear this and, and, and are inspired by it and curious, like keep educating yourself and be informed about what’s actually happening and going on and make sure you understand that there are probably people closer to you than, you know, or, or, or maybe think about that have experienced and felt this. And then finally, when you’re taking an action to be emboldened, be empowered, have the information to take this conversation to somebody that would not seek it out. Right? Like, like we said, because that’s the way that I think change is made and where people, you know, start to reconcile and, and, and, you know, take to heart difficult topics or conversations is by having somebody they trust, make it real to them. So, you know, I think we’ve got a huge platform and I think we’ve got a great opportunity as a realtor is, especially in this really crazy market we’ve got right now in terms of interacting with a lot of people.
So, you know, have this, have this in your toolbox. All of the things we are talking about here is what gets you started, but continue to learn and not just be someone that’s against Racism or that doesn’t like, Racism, it says your not racist, but work on these concepts to being actively anti-racist, which is taking affirmative steps and the other direction to, you know, make sure that this doesn’t keep happening. And that the generation from now we’re not looking back and say, Oh man, we’ve had a great chance for us to change. And it didn’t, you know, cause, Oh, that’s not, yeah, please. Sorry. Right. And the Jennifer done this, like, this feels different right now. I feel like the, the level, the conversation came to the summer was great and huge. But the, the, the intensity is definitely kind of waning off, right? People are tired. I’m tired as hell. Like I’m really tired of it, but I think we’ve got to stay vigilant and keep folks engaged with an understanding that action is still needed.
So now you’re, you’re starting, but the host and convos with people gotta keep it to keep it going, man, and be encouraged to keep it going. Yeah. Harrison your such a rockstar. I, you are forever invited to be a guest to talk about whatever you want to talk about on this podcast. And if, if any Agent, so Harrison works, I’ll let you kind of plug where people can find you if they want to refer you business. So do you want to find Harrison, Harrison tell them where they can find you and who you’d love to help if they have it. Absolutely. So most of our, our best interactions are on the ground. We do a lot on social media on Instagram.
I’m at H L beach B a C H. And then our team is Coalition Properties. We were in DC based in Capitol Hill, but we do with the number one team by units, East of the Anacostia river, and then up in the Michigan park, North Michigan park rigs park neighborhoods in Northeast DC. It’s where I live personally. And we do a lot of work. I affectionately say, if you got anybody looking for the city burbs, we loved to help them. That’s what we do. A lot of work in the city of verbs here, and we would love to, to help him. Yeah. So if you have anybody that is buying or selling a home in Washington, DC, I fully support trusting Harrison with them. He will take good care of them. So Harrison, and thank you for this conversation today. Thank you for enlightening.
All of us with both a history and what we can do about making sure that we don’t perpetuate racism in our businesses today. So thanks so much for being here. Thank you. Jennifer. Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. Remember change happens when you take action. So apply what you learned today to your own real estate business. If this episode has helped you subscribe, leave a review and share it with all your real estate agent friends, and as always, if you want even more great resources to create the real estate business you’ve always wanted, and to have the life you want outside your business to head over to Agent Grad School dot com and sign up for the free weekly trainings, you’ll get free classes, discounts, and other goodies that only go out to real estate agents on that email list.
See you next week. Right here on Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent The Agent Grad School Podcast.