Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR), in collaboration with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), is launching a unique mentorship program for multicultural individuals who are interested in exploring careers in real estate and developing the necessary skills for success.
SKCR is among eight associations – and the only one in the western United States – to be selected by NAR for the initiative. The new program pairs an experienced real estate professional (mentor) with an individual (mentee) from diverse populations to promote awareness of career options within the real estate profession.
As facilitator of the mentor program, NAR will provide resources and tools to help participants collaborate on delineating expectations, setting objectives and an action plan, and completing a formal mentoring agreement. The national organization also provides application forms for mentees and mentors along with two live educational sessions each month.
“This is a great opportunity for our members to reach out and share their knowledge with an aspiring young person or career-changer who wants to serve traditionally under-represented communities,” said Lynn Sanborn, president of Seattle King County Realtors. Sanborn, a managing broker at Windermere Real Estate Yarrow Bay in Kirkland, said being selected to partner with NAR on this important endeavor will further SKCR’s emphasis on protecting and promoting the right to own, transfer, and use real property.
Realtor Samantha Enos of was one of the first local Realtors to volunteer for the mentor program. Although she is a relatively new broker, she is a strong believer in mentoring, saying it was a big part of her prior career as a business solutions professional. In real estate, Enos, who is Black, said, “It’s important to have mentors who look like me.”
Having invested in residential real estate since 2008, Enos is keenly aware of Fair Housing, landlord-tenant relationships, and past practices of redlining, restrictive covenants and predatory lending. She believes her experiences as an investor, property manager, and landlord will prove beneficial to her mentee.
“I’m excited NAR is rolling out this program and specifically targeting minority communities,” Enos remarked, noting the timing during Fair Housing month and the past year’s nationwide demonstrations on civil rights violations and social injustices. “We have to start righting some of the wrongs that have happened, including in real estate.”
In her role as a mentor, Enos plans to draw on her reputation for open communication and being a strong, proactive advocate for clients. She knows success can take many forms and believes there is no such thing as failure. “Because I grew up in a household where we were not allowed to say ‘I can’t,’ I view failures as training opportunities. I can help my mentee focus on such opportunities and understand success may not be just about making a lot of money.”
In a statement announcing the mentorship program, NAR said it is intended to “build bridges to the holistic real estate community.” In addition to helping individuals learn the fundamentals of the real estate industry, the Realtor mentorship program will also “foster education, empower serious consideration of real estate as a career path, and encourage and promote the development of generational wealth through property ownership.”
The mentor program is an initiative of NAR president Charlie Oppler. At an event earlier this month to commemorate Fair Housing Month he said NAR strives every day “to ensure our 1.4 million members are leading this nation in the fight for fair housing,” adding, “We are committed to the belief that Americans of every background have the right to live where they choose.”
Realtors know there is much work to be done to close homeownership disparities. U.S. Census Bureau statistics show large gaps in homeownership rates when measured by ethnicity. Among non-Hispanic whites, the rate was 74.5% for the fourth quarter of 2020, but it drops to 56.3% for all other races. Only 49.1% of Hispanics and even fewer, 44.1% of Blacks, are homeowners. For the U.S. overall the rate at the end of last year was 65.8%.
Joining the Seattle King County Realtors in NAR’s mentor program are Realtor associations in Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.
The Seattle King County REALTORS® is a nonprofit professional trade association whose goals include promoting ethical business practices and supporting policies that preserve and expand real property rights and housing affordability. Based in Bellevue, SKCR has more than 7,000 members and is a local board of the National Association of Realtors®. The term Realtor® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.