The National Association of Realtors® 2021 Profile of LGBTQ Homebuyers and Sellers shows the percentage of homebuyers and sellers who identify in the LGBTQ+ community has held steady at 4% since 2015. However, NAR reports “given that millennials now make up 37% of homebuyers and given further shifting attitudes regarding orientation and identity among Generation Z, the proportion of buyers and sellers identifying as LGBTQ+ is likely to increase as well.”
PAR members who identify in the LGBTQ+ community shared their stories as part of PAR’s celebration of Pride month in June.
Ken Worley, a member of the Realtors® Association of York and Adams Counties, became a Realtor® because he enjoyed working in customer service for 17 years and had always been fascinated by real estate.
“I worked for a family business initially and that gave me the customer service experience I needed to succeed in real estate, which has proved to be a perfect fit,” he added “Real estate has given me the opportunity to meet so many different people and create lasting relationships with those from all walks of life. I wish I would have started in real estate right after college.”
Worley enjoys the challenge of learning how to communicate with different clients to meet their needs. “As Realtors®, we need to adapt to many types of situations.”
A Realtor® for 23 years, Worley said he finds it surprising how many consumers think real estate is an easy career.
“The declining market in 2008 was one of the most difficult times in my real estate career,” he noted.
Worley is proud to have served as his local association’s president and received RAYAC’s Realtor® of the Year award. And he believes it’s important for every industry to reflect representation of their community.
“Real estate is a career that has flexibility and a tremendous amount of satisfaction helping make people’s dreams of homeownership come true,” he added.
Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors® member Jack Barry also started his real estate career later in life. Barry has served as a NAR director and as a member of NAR’s Multicultural Real Estate Leadership Advisory Group.
“I was 45 years old and looking for a change,” Barry said. ‘I owned a few duplexes and triplexes and I thought I’d give real estate a shot for a year. A few months later, the recession hit and the worst real estate market ever began. I had a great mentor who told me to just keep going and here I am 15 years later.”
“Real estate showed me how to become a business owner after a lot of failure. Now it funds my life and I get to help others start businesses,” he said. “I’ve recruited more than 70 people to change careers and join the real estate industry, which I think is a great accomplishment.”
His piece of advice for new agents, “Get a mentor or coach immediately. If someone has a question, I encourage them to reach out to me.”
Barry urges other members of the LGBTQ+ community to consider a career in real estate. “Our community needs to be out in the world to show that we can do anything. It’s important to see representation in our industry because people are drawn to others who look like them,” he added.