The challenges of being a Black real estate agent in the Bay Area
What can be done to produce affordable housing in the Bay Area? Why are there so few real estate agents of color? What is the connection between investors purchasing single-family homes and the low minority homeownership rate?
Those issues and more were raised in this episode of Houses in Motion, part of HousingWire Daily, where HousingWire’s senior real estate reporter Matthew Blake spoke with Shawneequa Badger, head of Corcoran Global Living’s Badger Real Estate Group.
Badger, who is based in Oakland, chronicled her experience in Oakland and how an extremely expensive housing market is often difficult for agents of color.
Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:
Matthew Blake: I wanted to talk about the lack of minorities in real estate. You’ve spoken very candidly about this in the past. Basically, for context for listeners, the National Association of Realtors every three years or so does a member survey. And they do ask about race in the member survey and members survey says from this spring that about one-in-20 agents identify as black.
And this compares to about one-in-eight workers in the labor force who are black. Why do you think there’s under representation of black people in the real estate agent profession?
Shawneequa Badger: Well, I think it’s very similar to my scenario, which is, you know, you’re exposed to what you’re exposed to, you know, we have, we have certain communities that are exposed to business owners, are exposed to entrepreneurship, are exposed to homeownership and investing. And many times, we don’t think that we have a seat at the table. Because we’re just automatically programmed, and I’m talking about Black people in general, that we’re automatically programmed to think that this isn’t for us.
…And then it is pretty expensive to become a real estate agent…you have to have startup funds to be able to participate in the process, our keys and our access to the MLS is not free.
HousingWire Daily examines the most compelling articles reported across HW Media. Each afternoon, we provide our listeners with a deeper look into the stories coming across our newsroom that are helping Move Markets Forward. Houses in Motion is hosted by Matthew Blake and produced by Alcynna Lloyd and Elissa Branch. If you have a pitch or an inquiry relating to podcasts, you can reach our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is the transcription of the interview. These transcriptions, powered by Speechpad, have been lightly edited and may contain small errors from reproduction:
Matthew Blake: Hello, and welcome to “Houses in Motion.” I’m Matthew Blake, Senior Real Estate Reporter for “HousingWire.” Each week, as part of “HousingWire Daily,” we interview someone in real estate about the industry’s most compelling trends. For this episode, we talk to Shawneequa Badger. Shawneequa is based in Oakland and she leads her own Bay Area team for Corcoran Global Living, called The Badger Real Estate Group. Shawneequa and I discussed gentrification in Oakland. I also asked Shawneequa, who is black, her thoughts on the declining black home-ownership rate. And we discussed why so few real estate agents are people of color. The conversation veered in some unexpected directions. Shawneequa, for example, feels that outside investors who bought single family homes during the Great Recession have significantly contributed to the lack of Bay Area housing stock today. I think you’ll find our conversation interesting, or at least one that provokes your own thoughts about some real estate’s most difficult issues. Shawneequa, welcome to the show.
Shawneequa Badger: Good morning. Well, thank you for having me.
Matthew Blake: So, today, we’re going to talk about a lot of serious and even polarizing issues. Rapid gentrification, and turnover, and who lives in a community, real estate’s history of racism and the present, general lack of minority real estate agents and real estate executives. But I first wanted to start with this. Why are you a real estate agent? Why have you stuck around in the profession for over 15 years now? What do you like about it?
Shawneequa Badger: Well, I wish I had this wonderful story about why I got in. In short, you know, I was laid off many, many, many moons ago, from my biotech job. And I said, “Well, what am I going to do?” Somebody said, “You should get into real estate, you’d be great.” And I was like, “Maybe, okay.” But that theory of getting into real estate as a job or a way to make a living has absolutely changed. Seventeen years later, I have a passion for it. I have a passion for being able to transition people’s lives into something that their family tree is able to benefit from. And I have the ability, my team has the ability to say that they’re a part of that process. And so that creates, some people would say, a wire of a passion, that’s far bigger than I am. So that’s why I’ve been able to stay in it. And not only have we been able to create a voice for people who don’t necessarily have a voice in the area of real estate, whether you’re buying, selling, or whether you’re a practitioner. You know, we’ve been able to move into the areas of advocacy, which is really very important to making people feel like that they are part of the process.
Matthew Blake: And why were you initially reluctant to become an agent when people suggested that to you?
Shawneequa Badger: Well, I had a good friend who made the suggestion. And I said, “Well, I don’t want to do that because my dad is studying to be a real estate agent.” I thought that, at that time, I was in my 20s, that real estate was, like, literally being sold by people who were seasoned. I won’t call them old, but I will say that I thought that they were very seasoned. And ironically, I’m probably the same age as those seasoned people are now. But, again, the image of what a real estate agent looks like is transitioning these days. And, you know, you’re seeing more of a young and a fresh approach to selling and buying real estate. So, no, I hope that I’m still staying part of that fresh and new way of selling and practitioning real estate. But yeah, this is what was the thing that kind of made me go, “Ooh, I don’t really want to get into real estate.” But…
Matthew Blake: No, for sure. I think that makes a lot of sense. I know the NAR has a statistic that the median age for the real estate agent is 56. So, I think that, yeah, it’s definitely a profession that has an association of sort of an older agent. So have you been practicing in Oakland the whole time? I know you’ve been around the California area, but has that kind of been your base the whole time?
Shawneequa Badger: No, I actually am a San Jose native. So I started in San Jose, California, where, you know, I was raised. And from there, we transitioned into moving the team into Oakland when I had the opportunity to move the team. I really wanted to go where I felt like there needed to have the best representation. You know, we have a conversation where it says representation matters. It absolutely does. And there was very few black women-led teams in Oakland. And I felt like that there was an absolute need for resources around fighting gentrification, fighting the lack of inclusion in home-ownership and real estate in general.
Matthew Blake: Yeah, that’s, very interesting. I mean, that gets into a lot of different topics. But I guess, first off, you know, Oakland is traditionally associated as being sort of a center of black culture. Why do you suspect there weren’t many black-led agent teams there?
Shawneequa Badger: I think at one time, that there was and the foreclosure crisis wiped them out. When you wipe out homeowners, you wipe out businesses as well. There’s a saying that says, “When America is sick, the black community gets pneumonia.” And so, we see it and we feel it, the impact much greater than what America as a whole feels when it comes to economic impact. And I think a lot of doors were closed as a result of the foreclosure crisis. You know, we had agents that were losing their own homes. So, it’s really hard to operate in survival mode. I think we’re starting to get more prepared, as, you know, more information is being made available, people are becoming much smarter in how they operate their businesses. But it did impact the amount of agents that were in the area. And when the homeowners go away, so do the agents.
Matthew Blake: And describe what’s happened in the area in the last 10 years kind of since the mortgage meltdown. Because from a 30,000 foot view, the home prices in Oakland, in San Jose, in the whole Bay Area, have just shot up. And so, as a real estate agent, how do you experience that and how has that changed your job?
Shawneequa Badger: Well, I was selling REOs, which are foreclosed homes, direct by the banks in 2008, and ’09, ’10, ’11, and ’12. So for the most part, I was working as a agent with the banks. And that kept me afloat during the foreclosure years. And most people know that those were very close ranks, I should say, in terms of the ability to be able to do that. And I’m saying this because in 2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, you know, the home values plummeted. And I was selling REOs, foreclosed homes in San Jose at the time, but San Jose was one of the first real estate markets to recover. So, you know, for San Jose, it was, “Hey, we’re back in motion. You know, we’re getting back into the swing of things.” We didn’t necessarily see that in the city of Oakland. In the city of Oakland, the price stayed depressed for a very long time. I think that there was a stigma about Oakland, about, you know… It’s a supply and demand type of a situation. There was no demand. So there was supply and it kept the pricing very, very low. And then if you look at the community as a whole, I’m sure that they were making less money. And so it was a different type of a economic environment for the community as a whole.
So, what we’re seeing now between then and now, is we’ve seen something very different. San Francisco got expensive, and people went, “Hey, maybe we should go to Oakland.” You know, it was funny because we saw that same migration into Oakland right before the foreclosure crisis. And those people ended up losing their homes, too, because they were in unstable loans. But the difference between that group of people and the people who are black and brown populations in the city of Oakland is they were able to bounce back. Whereas those black and brown populations were not. So what they ended up doing is that the populations in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, started finding a way to hack the affordability in the Bay Area. And what did they do? They decided, “Hey, we’ll put our stake in the ground in Oakland.” And when there was an understanding of, “Hey, they got houses in Oakland, come over here. Come buy houses over here.” You know, and they would bring their friends, and, “Hey, I like this little black picture.” And they’d bring, you know, family members, and co-workers. And all of a sudden, people realized that Oakland was on the map. And with its proximity into San Francisco, with parks, you know, Oakland ended up being a prime hunting ground. So, the supply and the demand made the pricing go up.
Matthew Blake: As an agent, when did you start observing this? When did the people that you were showing homes to start being people that say, “Oh, I work for Oracle.” Or, you know, “I decided to take a look at Oakland because I just can’t find a good place in San Francisco.”
Shawneequa Badger: Yeah, around 2012. I was sitting at home, I’m watching the news, and they’re talking about pricing in Oakland, I’m like, “Wait a minute. That seems a little bit high for Oakland.” So I ended up…because I’m a numbers person, I’m an analytical person. And numbers tell me a story. I started doing a home buyer workshop in one of the local lounges every Thursday in Oakland, every first Thursday in Oakland. And I would come in with my projector and my PowerPoint presentation. And we would go… We called it happy hour and home-ownership. And we would have a whole home buying session right before the nightclub opened. And people showed up. It was, hey, you know, they’d literally walk off the bar, come get a drink, they’d come in and hear about the home buying programs. But most important, they were able to see, month to month, the changing in the pricing in Oakland. And that was the biggest impact at the time, because you had to start seeing the trend. You’re seeing, okay, 5% increase month over month, 3% increase month over month. That tells you the city is not getting any less expensive. So, there’s a requirement on your part to participate in this process before it gets too expensive. And we’ve seen that consistently happen since 2012, where we’ve seen properties in deep East Oakland that were $299,000, $289,000, are now going for $500,000 or $600,000. So that demand has absolutely impacted the home values in the city of Oakland.
Matthew Blake: I mean, it sounds like kind of a double edged sword for you. Because on the one hand, as a real estate agent, as someone who works on commission, it sounds like a lot more money for you if homes are instead of being sold for $280,000, being sold for $600,000, and even more now. But then on the other hand, you’re talking about representation. And I imagine if, you know, more people from outside of Oakland and outside of the black and brown populations that have lived in Oakland are coming in, you know, that means a change in the neighborhoods. And that means, you know, some issues that maybe didn’t exist before in terms of expenses. So, what was that like for you and is like for you in terms of kind of reconciling the sort of, maybe a better…tell me if there’s a better word for it, but kind of a social justice aspect of your job with sort of part of your job of simply making money as a real estate agent.
Shawneequa Badger: Yeah, we do have to find a balance. And, you know, our position is that we are as much a part of the community as anybody else. And so we do have to find a balance. And I try to…myself and my team try to be a part of the solution and not the problem. And so that means that sometimes, some of that balance is us making sure that we’re putting people in areas that they don’t think that they can be in. And so that’s getting outside of their own personal narrative about where they feel like that they should be a part…you know, placement in the city. And then the other part is, is making sure that we are educating other agents in the area about what’s happening. And trying to get them to have a very humanitarian connection into our role as practitioners in real estate. And really just making sure that we are creating an environment, a culture, not even just within our own brokerage, but a culture of community collaboration, where it’s all, you know, one voice, one movement, inclusion for everybody in the city. And that doesn’t start or end with us. It also starts and ends with our industry, it starts and ends with the politics of the city, and starts and ends with the legislation that we’re seeing, ordinances. And also, you know, us making sure that we’re sitting down with city council people, county supervisors, and explaining to them what the unintended impact of their policies are on people.
Matthew Blake: How has the housing stock in Oakland changed? I know the state legislature passed a bill just now saying that you can have duplexes in some homes designated as single family. So, what is fluid in terms of housing available to buy in the Bay right now, and what would you like to see change?
Shawneequa Badger: Yeah, we have some AB9 and 10 pass yesterday, right? Which is great. And I have to say, you know, housing is a supply and demand type of a situation. Your values, whether it’s on the rental side, or whether it’s on the purchasing side, go up and down based on demand. And sometimes, you know, cycles will affect that. But for the most part, we’re seeing supply and demand affect that the most. We have a huge demand, not so much of a supply. And we’ve been tight. And I think we’ve been tight for a while, even before COVID-19 showed its scary face. But we’re even more tighter now because we have huge demand of buyers, and not enough inventory. You know, interest rates have been historically low. We’ve seen people trying to participate in the housing market like never before. So that has definitely impacted the amount of inventory that we have available. We’ve also seen a lot of corporate entities coming into the city, buying up properties. You know, we’ve heard of a lot of corporate landlords that are coming into the city, buying up inventory as well. So that does change the amount of available properties for entry level buyers to get into and resell.
Matthew Blake: In terms of the corporate landlords, how much of a recent trend is that versus something that’s always been part of the Oakland housing stock?
Shawneequa Badger: Well, you know, Blackstone is not new. You know, they are not new. They have been corporate landlords for quite some time. You know, unfortunately, we’ve seen some of the GFC sell some of their distressed inventory to them, which is problematic. And it takes away properties from entry level buyers. And then we have people who are corporate investors that come in and buy up things and buy hundreds of property a year, and flip them and put them into a higher income individual, which again, changes the barrier of entry for entry level or working families in the city. So that is, again, something that’s not new, but it’s not old either. So it’s one of those things that I think has been a constant battle, but we have to understand where the pressure points are on that, so that we can appropriately address them, and let people know what’s going on so that they are educated about what’s going on. And then they can make better decisions on a seller side, or a property that may be owned by a family, so they could take more consideration about how they turn properties over or how they’re more sustainable and solvent in there, and how they hold property. So that it doesn’t get into the hands of people that don’t have the interest of the community at heart.
Matthew Blake: And when a Blackstone or another outside investor buys a lot of properties in the Bay Area, what is typically the relationship between that company and real estate agents? Do they tend to work with real estate agents and give commissions?
Shawneequa Badger: No, there’s absolutely no connection whatsoever. It’s almost like it’s wave a magic wand and poof, all the inventory is gone. You know, it is something that definitely happens behind the scenes. And that’s what’s scary, is it happens behind the scenes. It doesn’t give the public the ability to participate in the process. And those are areas of things that absolutely should change and need to change. We’ve made some recommendations on a local level, what we think that should happen in the city of Oakland to better address those things. But, you know, like, for us, we recommended a first look program. Anything that is distressed in the city of Oakland, anything that has a tax default, we want to see that go into the hands of people now. But I think if the city…in many cities around the country, or even the state, to give buyers a 30-day first look opportunity for any distressed, whether that’s tax or foreclosed properties. It gives people a fighting chance to see if there’s inventory that they can cultivate into a long-term wealth building strategy.
Matthew Blake: Yeah. I wanted to talk about the lack of minorities in real estate. You’ve spoken very candidly about this in the past. Basically, for context for our listeners, the National Association of Realtors, every three years or so, does a members survey and they do ask about race in the member survey. And member survey says, from the spring, that about 1 in 20 agents identify as black. And this compares to about one in eight workers in the labor force are black. So, I guess, first off, why do you think that is? Why do you think there’s under-representation of black people in the real estate agent profession?
Shawneequa Badger: Well, I think it’s very similar to my scenario, which is, you know, you’re exposed to what you’re exposed to. You know, we have certain communities that are exposed to business owners, are exposed to entrepreneurship, are exposed to home-ownership and investing. And many times, we don’t think that we have a seat at the table because we’re just automatically programmed. And I’m talking about black people in general, that we’re automatically programmed to think that this isn’t for us, or we can’t. It is very much so a limiting belief, but it’s a limiting belief that exists because of the systemic biases and racism that we’ve experienced in many dynamics across the country over a long span of history, in a number of areas, right? You know, you could almost say all areas, if you really want to look at it from a very wide lens. But, you know, if you don’t think that you can get in, if you think that it’s a membership only club, you’ve created your own narrative about what you can and cannot do. And then it’s pretty expensive to become a real estate agent. You have to be able to have some type of economics to get in and actually thrive in here. If you don’t have a mentorship, if you don’t have the ability to walk in with the funds to get started, whether that’s your key access, your MLS access, you have to have startup funds. No one really explains that to you, at least they didn’t for me. So you have to have startup funds to be able to participate in the process. You know, our keys and our access to the MLS is not free, or it is not inexpensive at all.
So we have to make sure that we’re very mindful of that. And we also have to be very mindful that, you know, this is a commission based industry. So you have to be able to survive that. And some people get in without being able to have the knowledge to go hunt their next meal. And so to be able to survive a commission industry can be very challenging at times. So that those are all things that create barriers of entry, high barriers of entry for a black person who wants to potentially become a real estate agent, loan officer, appraisal. It runs the gamut in all areas of real estate for us.
Matthew Blake: Yeah, that’s very interesting. I think that I’m always interested in terms of what the barriers of entry are financially, because I think that if you’re, say, if you want to become like a lawyer, it’s incredibly expensive, but it’s like, you kind of know beforehand what law school is going to cost this much. And then this is going to happen. It seems like there’s a lot of sort of hidden costs to being a real estate agent. Would you say that it’s changed at all in your 15 or so years as an agent? Do you think that there have been efforts to sort of recruit more agents of color? Or, you know, sort of the race issue aside, have there been efforts to kind of lower those financial barriers of entry?
Shawneequa Badger: I don’t know about recruiting. However, I do know that there are… So I don’t think that any of the brokers, the big brokerages have hiring mandates. If they do, it’s news to me. But I do think that there is an intention with a lot of these brokerages that we’re seeing that have diversity circles. It allows there to be input or equity, in some cases, on the culture of the brokerage as a whole, so that people can start seeing things from the lens of all type of people. I do see a lot of that. So that is an improvement for sure. I do think that there’s a lot more education that we’re seeing in my 15 years, not just from the brokerages, I think in general. You know, social media has opened the doors for people to have voices in very unique spaces. And so we’re seeing podcasts like “Earn Your Leisure,” or “Blacker Pockets,” that are leading the way of education. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, NAREB, are going to start deploying our Clubhouse talks around our political action committee, and our policies, and things that impact black people every day in real estate. Whether you’re buying, selling, or whether you are a practitioner, we’re trying to make sure that we’re educating people where they’re at. So we’re definitely going to start deploying something September 8th Clubhouse. We’ll be holding weekly sessions so people can listen and learn.
Matthew Blake: Yeah, I want to talk about what the National Association of Real Estate Brokers is doing, definitely in a second. I did want to push you a little bit on sort of the diversity, I think, workshops that you mentioned at the start in terms of what the major brokerages are doing. Because I think that it’s hard for me sometimes as an outsider and a journalist to sort of know, in terms of like diversity, inclusion initiatives. Like, what is kind of window dressing and what is really a substantive thing that may actually, you know, make black or brown real estate agents feel more included and feel more that they have a chance to make it? So, could you just talk a little bit more about what you see as, like, actually substantive undertakings by other private brokerages or associations to actually help the situation?
Shawneequa Badger: Yeah, I like the term that you use, window dressing. Because there’s some of that, of course, but I do think that… I think Compass does a really good job that they have their black network of agents that allows them to convene, and also have public voices around increasing black home-ownership. I also think that KW, Keller Williams does a great job in having a very intentional diversity circle for their black agents, even to the point where they do their Keller Williams annual event, they actually have programming specifically for their black agents, which I think is great. Because that means that you’re a part of a very big gathering for employees…for not just your employees, but your agents. And it gives them the opportunity to bring in their peers on that platform as well and help cross educate them on things that may be important in their communities, that they just may not know about, because that’s just not what they’re exposed to. So, there are some brokerages that have gone beyond the window dressing for sure. And then, you know, we see a lot of the smaller brokerages, you know, that’s kind of their wheelhouse, and work with black or brown buyers and sellers. And so that is their wheelhouse in the boutique real estate offices. They’re a little bit more intentional. They have a lot more areas to take it and run with it. But we are seeing some people that are really intentionally try to be boots on the ground around this process of inclusion for sure.
Matthew Blake: Yeah, that’s helpful. So, regarding the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, that’s an organization that really interests me, because they’ve been around since the late 1940s. And I believe they’ve traditionally, you know, focused on African American agents. What is their kind of modern day relevancy and their modern day role on the real estate industry?
Shawneequa Badger: Yeah, thank you for asking. Yeah, I’ve been a part of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers since I got into the business 17 years ago. I really wanted to know where people that look like me in real estate were. I grew up in San Jose as a member of the Youth Council of the NAACP. And I was actually the president of the local NAACP. And I served when a lot of my friends were discriminated at a local Denny’s in the 90s. And that facilitated and national boycott of Denny’s. Now we see a very different Denny’s.
Matthew Blake: I remember that, the Denny’s part. I remember that.
Shawneequa Badger: Yeah, we see a very different Denny’s today. We see, you know, pictures of black people on their marketing, we see black management, we’ve seen a dynamic change because of that boycott. And that really did affect me, and it really did stay with me. And it made me want to go and seek and search for something very similar to that when I got into real estate. And it’s because of me being in NAREB, it shaped my thoughts around how I operate as a practitioner, how I operate as a team owner, how I operate as a person who can change the dynamics of real estate in my community. So when we convene with NAREB, we convene for a purpose and intentionally to make sure that there’s a better environment for everyone, specifically black buyers, sellers, and real estate agents, and home-ownership.
Matthew Blake: What would you say is the relationship right now between NAREB and the National Association of Realtors in your experience?
Shawneequa Badger: We still work hand in hand with one another. You know, I think that we have a very unique relationship now. I can’t say that that’s always been the case for obvious reasons. Many people don’t realize that black people could not be a part of National Association of Realtors, which is why NAREB was created and chartered in 1947. But today, it’s a very different relationship. We had the national president come to our conference in Cleveland this year. Not only did he come to our conference, we were all in the Madam Lydia Pope’s suite one night, and he popped up on us. I think it was like 11:00 at night in the suite. He just came and said hi, and hang out with us, and, you know, really convened with the membership. Not from the podium, but, you know, with boots on the ground with membership. And I think we’ve come a long way in changing our relationship with one another. And I think that that’s a good thing for our industry. It needs to be a requirement of our industry. And I think that we’re seeing a lot of the language around ethics change because of how people are seeing things now migrate into a better space, with fair housing and how people are operating as practitioners as well. So they’re holding people to a higher standard around their housing, and around how they operate professionally as a realtor.
Matthew Blake: So one final area, which is somewhat related to those Oakland and what we’re talking about in terms of black representation in the real estate profession, is the black home-ownership rate. And I know this is an issue that you work on and have some strong feelings about. The black home-ownership rate is, I believe, at its lowest since the 1960s. It’s 41%, according to federal data, which is kind of amazing, in my point of view, because it’s actually lower than it was before the 1967 Fair Housing Act passed. I guess, why do you think this is? What is going on with that rate? And what are some of your thoughts about it right now?
Shawneequa Badger: Well, we have to understand that we were hit hard during the foreclosure crisis. You know, I think in areas like Sacramento, places where we saw a huge population of black homeowners, like, 60% of the community lost their homes. That’s huge, 60%. And that’s just the baseline. So when you start understanding the impact that all of these things systemically, racially, has on our communities, you realize it’s really hard to pick yourself up by the bootstraps, right? And so, we’re seeing this, but we’re also still not discussing how people are still losing their homes. And it’s happening. People are exiting out of home-ownership and not coming back. The people who were buying, your great grandmother, your grandmother, you know, worked blood, sweat and tears to make sure that their ex, even if they couldn’t make a signature, that their ex was accounted for on a deed. And we have people that go and lose those homes, or they sell them for pennies on the dollar, because they don’t see the value in them, or they don’t keep them up so that they are being able to be sold at market value. You know, these conversations need to be had. The probate process is another way that strips people of their equity and of their wealth. You know, I had a probate issue that came through the process for five years. Five years of core cost and all the fun stuff that comes along with probate processes, really does put a damper on your ability to hold and continue to have wealth.
And so we’re seeing a lot of factors that are… Those are the people that are already in home-ownership that we’re seeing lose. Now let’s talk about people trying to get into home-ownership. You know, we typically have lower credit scores, or sometimes we’re just credit invisible. And what we do know is one of the things that impact us the most is student loan debt. For people who are leaving college, our white counterparts, 10% of them hold student loan debt, 40% of us hold student loan debt. So that is a huge factor in us being able to get into home-ownership, because that student loan debt, the way it’s looked at, can and will affect you getting into home-ownership. Then we look at the low level price increases with the GSCs. Those have definitely impacted us as well. And, you know, we, at this point, need to be considering how we’re even looking at credit, because we have some people that are credit invisible. And then you also look at the opportunities around just understanding of resources. And that has been problematic as well. People aren’t educated properly on getting into home-ownership.
So you look at all of these different things that are constantly coming at people, you know, a potential black buyer, and all of a sudden, that looks like it’s a pretty daunting task, home-ownership. And it is, and we need to have more black practitioners on the lending, buying, appraising side to help transition people in because there are all of those circumstances. And culturally, we do need people that can lead people into home-ownership, understanding what the challenges in the past or challenges that they need to overcome, and helping remove those barriers to get into home-ownership. So those are all…a lot of those things are suppressing our ability to get into home-ownership. That’s why we’re not seeing those numbers drastically changed. And then of course, if we want to get into, you know, wealth gaps, income gaps, that’s a whole another conversation to have.
Matthew Blake: Yeah, there’s a lot going on with the decline in the home-ownership rate. You mentioned the staggering statistic in Sacramento. Like, the people that are exiting home-ownership, do you see any of those returning at this point? Or is it sort of a situation where they were stung by the housing crash, and this is just a whole…generation might be overdramatic, but a whole kind of swath of people that have just decided, this is not something for me.
Shawneequa Badger: There’s a lot of that that happened. I mean, that’s pretty traumatic when you lose a home. And then we also have to get an understanding that the children that went through that are still holding on to that. That’s our millennials, they’re holding on to that. They saw their parents lose their homes, they saw the distress that their parents or their grandparents went through when it came to this house. And many of them are going, “I don’t want to deal with that. That doesn’t look like fun. That doesn’t seem like it’s the dream that people talk about.” We, as the people who are boots on the ground, 10 toes down, have to try to help them overcome that. And so we stand in the roles of not only just real estate agents, but also sometimes psychologists and all these other things that become from a place of healing.
Matthew Blake: Yeah. I mean, it would seem like there’s a lot of psychologist, sounds right to me, because I think that there’s, right, if you saw your parents get kicked out of their home, foreclosed from their home, whatever, exactly happened back in the mid 2000s. And you see agents, loan officers that aren’t from your background, that don’t look like you. I mean, it would seem to me that there’ll be a lot of people that are just saying, like, home-ownership just seems terrible. Like, I’m having to sign all this paperwork and having to give all this information about me. I’m having to take out all these loans. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to stay in the home. I mean, what is it like convincing people that home-ownership is good, that home-ownership is this, you know, is the American dream, and is this thing that will build wealth creation, is this thing that will even do this broader social good of sort of narrowing the racial wealth gap?
Shawneequa Badger: We definitely have to put some cool back into it. And we definitely have to be repetitive in our approach. The messaging has to be consistent. We have to say it over and over again. Even though we feel like we’ve said it enough, we can’t say it any more than… We have to say it as much as humanly possible. And we have to show people, look at this black family, they did it, you can do it too. And so for me, when I’m on social media, these days, I’m making sure that the families are holding the sign, so we’re celebrating them. And we’re celebrating that walk through the threshold with the key. We’re creating an environment where we’re celebrating people getting into home-ownership. We’re celebrating that accomplishment. It’s not about us, it’s about the families. It’s about the journeys that they’re taking. Sometimes we’re closing one chapter so they can open another one. We’re telling their story. So we’re definitely making sure that our content, at least with my team, we’re definitely making sure that we’re creating a face to home-ownership that goes beyond what they’ve experienced. And we’re hoping that people can see the victory in others so they can heal themselves and move forward. You know, we’re healing hearts, so that hopefully, the mind and the brain will follow.
Matthew Blake: Yeah, that’s really helpful. So, this has been a good conversation. I hope our listeners agree. Shawneequa Badger, Corcoran Global Living, Head of The Badger Real Estate Group. Thank you so much for taking the time on this “Houses in Motion” podcast. And yeah, take care.
Shawneequa Badger: Thank you so much for having me. This has been great.