According to Amanda Deering, here’s how real estate professionals can work on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the homebuying journey to foster a sense of belonging for all.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals. We need to work on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the homebuying journey in order to foster a sense of belonging for all.
Diversity is about representation of differences. This includes age, gender, race, disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, height, weight, work style and all the other dimensions.
Diversity in real estate looks like:
- Support homeownership for all.
- Actively engage with marginalized communities to ensure they know you are a real estate agent for all.
- Ensure your marketing is not excluding individuals with disabilities.
- Engage with all visitors at your open house and identify ways you can increase representation.
- Engage with visitors before showing your listing by asking if they have any disabilities or limitations, so as to better understand how to serve the visitor.
- Sell for a diverse community of sellers, to a diverse community of buyers and sell a diverse array of homes.
- Identify the subjectivity of a “great” home and begin to use language that supports the diversity of opinions in the community you serve.
- When writing, spell out acronyms and avoid complex words where simpler words are easier to understand.
Equity means ensuring all individuals have what they need to succeed and participate fully, accounting for different access to opportunities, status, and rights. In order to provide equitable experiences we need to recognize the histories and current experiences that marginalized individuals experience.
Equity in real estate looks like:
- Understand the laws and regulations created to prevent housing discrimination.
- Take some time to think about the barriers that individuals with disabilities may find when looking to buy a home.
- Use temporary ramps so that people with wheelchairs can view a home.
- Provide home shoppers with direct mediums to view a home. For instance, DO AudioTours is specially designed s to allow accessibility to individuals with visual impairments and language barriers.
- Supply video tours or facetime options to individuals that are unable to commute.
- Ask if the homebuyer has any disabilities or limitations before showing home.
- Keep a first-aid kit with you at all times for best care practices.
Inclusion is creating an environment of belonging where individuals feel welcomed, respected and valued as a contributing member of the community. Inclusion is about going beyond representation in numbers, by creating a space that actively celebrates differences.
Inclusion in real estate looks like:
- Stage a home with universal design in mind (rather than design that is accessible to some). For example, provide room for a wheelchair to maneuver.
- Be neutral in politics, religion and other subjects of confrontation. Life plays a different role for everyone.
- Ask your client what they are looking for without making any assumptions as to what they want or what a perfect home looks like for them.
- Get excited about finding their perfect home and be active in providing accommodations to help them along the way.
- Ask your clients for feedback so that you can grow in your journey to support the home-buying experience for individuals with disabilities.
DEI isn’t a one-step process. This is a commitment to constantly learning, improving and being better so that all individuals can have access and feel a sense of belonging in the homeownership journey.
Amanda Deering advises at DirectOffer, the real estate technology startup that strives to make homeownership more accessible. Follow her on LinkedIn.