There are plenty of African American professionals in both the commercial and residential real estate industry. But they may not be that easy to find.
Sure, it may be easy to find some of the top African American real estate moguls like Don Peebles or Bob Johnson. But if you’re not buying or selling a multimillion dollar commercial property, you probably won’t get your phone calls returned.
Most of us are simply looking to buy or sell our home and would like to work with a good real estate agent who knows the area. Why is it so hard to find one? Hell, I had a hard time finding a good black broker when I first started my career in real estate, and I live in New York City!
This is part of the reason I started Blackrealtors.com, a free service that connects you with the best black real estate agents in your city.
But back to the reasons why it’s so hard to find a good African American real estate professional.
Black Realtors at Large Brokerages
This is the first place to look. Many black realtors work at some of the large real estate brokerages like Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams and Re/Max.
After all, many of us work at large corporations in other industries like health, finance, and retail so it makes sense that the same would be true in the real estate industry.
The thing is, there isn’t a good way to search for most black professionals in any industry. There isn’t some huge database of all the good black digital marketing professionals, mechanics, or software engineers. Sure, there may be various associations or clubs, but you’re going to have to do some digging.
However, one established association of black real estate professionals is the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). This historic association has been promoting diversity and home ownership in the black community since 1947. Problem is, not every good black real estate agent is part of NAREB.
Real Estate Agents vs Real Estate Brokers
A doctor or lawyer may work for a large hospital or law firm, or perhaps easily branch off and start their own independent practice. It’s a little different in the real estate industry.
A real estate agent, by law, has to be affiliated with a broker. In other words, one can’t simply obtain their real estate license one day and setup their own independent agency. An agent must be affiliated with a broker.
This is for good reason. There are a number of laws, fiduciary obligations and regulations an agent must abide by, and countless other pitfalls that can arise when an inexperienced agent tries to help you buy or sell a home. You don’t want an inexperienced agent helping you with possibly the largest financial transaction of your life.
A real estate broker, however, is more experienced because they are required to have a certain number of years in the business and real estate transactions under their belt. They are sort of like the adults in the room and often mentor several associate brokers & agents underneath them.
A real estate broker can establish his or her own practice, but since there are steeper requirements for being designated a broker vs an ordinary agent, there are obviously fewer brokers.
Now, we’re only 13% of the overall US population. Add to that the fact that the real estate industry skews white and female according to the National Association of Realtors, and you start to see why it gets tough to find a good black broker in many places.
Black Owned Real Estate Companies
Many independent brokers may have their branch office, but typically it is still underneath a large company. For example, Re/Max may have 30 offices in Illinois with each office managed by an individual broker.
A few of those individual brokers may be African American. Technically, it’s not a black owned real estate company, but the office is black owned and operated.
This is the best of both worlds because you, as a consumer, will have the opportunity to work with an realtor you may feel more comfortable with, while having the assurance of knowing that realtor is part of a larger organization with all the infrastructure and resources you may need – such as partner lenders, additional listings, lawyers, marketing etc…
You will find this type of business structure in many cities throughout the country. Notably, there are many black realtors in Atlanta and Houston, and plenty of African American real estate agents in cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas as well.
We’ve already written about why you may want to work with a black real estate agent, and if you find yourself looking to buy or sell your home, and would like us to help you connect with a good black realtor in your area, give us a call or contact us below.