The National Association of Realtors recently announced a mentorship initiative to match experienced agents with budding real estate professionals in historically marginalized communities.
The new initiative is called NAR Spire and will improve real estate opportunities in underserved communities for both real estate professionals and potential homeowners. So what is the impact? How will Spire’s initiative benefit communities?
In recent years, minority groups have been largely underrepresented in the real estate industry. According to the U.S Census, 76 percent of agents are white, which means the number of agents belonging to minority ethnicity groups is low.
The lack of minority representation among agents is a problem because a skilled agent makes all the difference in becoming a homeowner. If members of marginalized communities don’t have access to experienced and skilled agents, it could be more difficult to find the right home to purchase.
Through Spire’s mentorship program, underserved communities will likely see growing numbers of experienced real estate professionals. Because of this, we may see rising homeownership rates, which should help members of the community build greater financial security.
Memphis and Seattle, two of the cities participating in NAR Spire, are listed among the 10 U.S. worst cities for first-time home buyers. Increasing the number of experienced agents in the areas could help young buyers find and purchase homes.
Two other participating cities, Trenton, New Jersey and Rochester, New York, are among the worst U.S. cities for the homeownership gap between white and minority residents. Trenton’s homeownership gap is 40.6 percent and Rochester’s gap is 41.2 percent. These gaps are much higher than those in other cities.
Providing mentorship to Trenton and Rochester residents who are entering the real estate profession could make it easier for minority residents to become homeowners, closing the homeownership gap.
Most experienced agents know that mentorship is a major part of the real estate game. Many agents have their own mentors to thank for their success. By connecting budding real estate professionals with experienced mentors, these new agents will have a chance to network and receive guidance in nearly every aspect of the industry, from marketing to IT.
During the mentorship program, mentors and mentees will work together to create an action plan that includes agreed upon goals as well as the pathway to achieving those goals.
Real estate is a career path with tons of wealth building potential, and it has a lower barrier to entry than other wealth building careers such as law or medicine. This makes it a promising career path for individuals working to improve their economic standing.
Having strong real estate agents in historically underserved areas increases opportunities for homeownership among residents. Hopefully, we’ll see homeownership rates rising in marginalized communities, helping individuals and families in those areas build wealth and stability.
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