Building Trust in a Community

In previous articles, I mentioned the conversations REALTORS® can have to raise awareness of Fair Housing issues—with our clients, our colleagues and in our firms. I want to take it a step further, because I believe we can do much more.

An incident last spring while I was in Washington D.C. for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) meetings, illustrated the need for a deeper understanding of the issues and what we, as REALTORS®, can do about them.

After the second day of meetings, I was with three REALTORS® at an establishment where we were enjoying a conversation with a local gentleman outside on a balcony. One of those REALTORS® was the owner of a very prominent real estate firm and the talk turned to his plans for expanding into the D.C. area. He was very excited about it.

The local gentleman picked up on the firm owner’s plans for expansion and said, “That is really awesome,” and then asked, “What are you planning to give back to this community?”

A GREAT QUESTION

REALTORS® should be aware of the effect that growth has on a community, the diverse households that live there and the diminished affordable housing opportunities that can result. Expansion and growth are good for our business but we should be conscious of giving back to communities where people often struggle because of the growth.

The company I work with has taken this seriously, launching a training program to teach brokers how to be better champions of the community and to provide a boot camp on how to participate effectively on a non-profit board and to give back using the skills we have as REALTORS®.

Whether it is spending time revitalizing a homeless shelter, teaching financial literacy to high school kids or talking about homeownership to teen parents trying to get out of the cycle of poverty, REALTORS® have so much to give back.

I know many REALTORS® throughout our state and nation are involved in their communities. It is because they are grateful for the place where they have the privilege of practicing a profession they love and are concerned about the town they call home. But I think there is even more we can do with our superpowers and skills to engage with the community through housing programs, with non-profits, in planning and community development activities and through local government.

With a bigger conversation and an expanded vision of what we can accomplish, we can contribute our skills and experience to our communities in a new way, making an even bigger impact and most importantly, building trust.

You can find wonderful information about diversity and fair housing on the NAR website www.nar.realtor/programs/diversity-program and Washington REALTORS® offers a series of Fair Housing videos:

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