Business

Having a say so: Realtors on mission to increase homeownership in our communities

The Multi-Cultural Network of Real Estate Professionals (MNREP) and the newly formed Cross Cultural Homeownership Alliance (C.C.H.O.A.) bring evangelist fervor and consummate professionalism to our community’s task of creating wealth through homeownership. The Multi-Cultural Network of Real Estate Professionals (MNREP) and the newly formed Cross Cultural Homeownership Alliance (C.C.H.O.A.) bring evangelist fervor and consummate professionalism to our community’s task of creating wealth through homeownership.

Members of both organizations stressed the importance of homeownership in a recent broadcast interview from the Public Policy Forum at Lucille’s Kitchen.

"My job," said Trace R. Edwards, a member of the planning board of MNREP, "my mission in the time I am allowed on this earth, is to push our people toward building wealth through owning a home. You can own a home. You can have a say so. A lot of times we live in a community but have no say so because we don’t own anything in our community.

"Homeowners have a voice. Owning a home gives you a sense of being somebody. It counter acts the feeling of depression, the feeling that you don’t belong, and the feeling that if you didn’t exist, no one would miss you," he said.

"We have to feel like we do have something and that we are important," said Edwards. "We must feel that we are here for a reason. Owning a home helps us develop that sense of worth and power. And now, there are many programs that make it easier for us to become homeowners. We are the advocacy group to help our people get into owning homes."

Edward is a realtor with Edina Realty.

Matt Sanigular, a realtor with ReMax Real Estate Group, Minneapolis, speaking to the youth, recommended that young people should stay in their parents’ homes as long as possible and save their earnings rather than paying all their earning to rents which provide no equity.

"The dirt!" Sanigular said, speaking to the Hip Hop generation. "Own some land. Stay home. Save your money. Get your credit right. Ask questions. When you are prepared, buy a home."
He said it is never too early to start thinking about and preparing to purchase a home. When a young man or woman reaches voting age and has regular income, he said, homeownership planning should begin.

James Baker, a realtor with Coldwell Banker talked about the implications of homeownership for individuals and for the community.

"We are always asking the police and people downtown to respect us. You get respect when you own the land. Get someone you trust to help you become a homeowner," Baker said. "That is the best thing you can do. When we own our communities, we can begin to make changes."

Marvin Smith, a realtor with Coldwell Banker and organizing force behind C.C.H.O.A, said apartment living is appropriate for some people, and for some times in peoples’ lives. But because rents don’t pay renters’ dividends in the form equity or gains based on appreciation of property value, in the long run "you can feel beat down, by apartment living. You may come to feel ‘I don’t think my live is moving to where it should be," he said.

A native Minnesotan and Northside resident, Smith, said "it is empowering to be surrounded by people of color who are real estate professionals. He said he is excited to see their commitment to work on behalf of African American, Asian American, Latino/Hispanic, and rapidly growing immigrant populations who want to own a part of America.

"This is an extremely important and worthwhile initiative that we must all embrace," he said. "Even if you already own your home, tell your nephews and nieces, your uncles, aunts and cousins that they should wait to start the process of becoming a homeowner.

"This is a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement that the elders led in the 50s and 60s. Our part of the movement includes moving our people toward homeownership," Smith said.

Ramona English, of Coldwell Banker Burnett, said the messages being present

October 28, 2003
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