Jazmin Owens, realtor at Keller Williams. (Courtesy Photo)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member

After working in property management for nearly seven years, Baltimore native Jazmin Owens decided the next step in her career was becoming a real estate agent.

She figured there would be some overlap between the professions, especially considering her experience with building robust relationships with clients, understanding fair housing rights and obligations and leading property tours. 

But it was her family friend Alonna Gordon, a real estate agent at Realty One Group Universal, that catalyzed her inclination to enter the industry. Owens watched Gordon thrive as an agent, showing new construction projects and selling homes, and she considered her a role model. 

While trying to obtain her real estate license, Owens then connected with Lisa Ross, an agent at Keller Williams Realty, Inc. (Keller Williams). Ross doubles as a property manager and real estate agent, and she ensured Owens that she could maintain both careers if she wished too. 

She also became the reason that Owens decided to join the team at Keller Williams last spring.  

“Between the two of them, they just kind of helped my vision come to life,” said Owens. “I could see it happening through the both of them.” 

Both Gordon and Ross advised Owens that real estate is all about what you put into it, and they reminded her that building a pool of clients takes time, which is something Owens always tells fellow and aspiring agents. 

Currently, Owens primarily holds showings and open houses in the Howard County area in Ellicott City, Columbia and Catonsville. Her favorite part about real estate is learning about her clients’ backgrounds and reasons for moving. 

While she said she’s been blessed to work with amazing clients from many different backgrounds, she considers first-time home buyers her sweet spot. Owens loves witnessing their excitement when they finally own their home, and some of the buyers are the first in their family to attain homeownership. 

She strives to ensure all of her clients feel comfortable asking her questions, and she does all she can to make herself available to them. 

“I want them to walk away at the closing table like, ‘I just gained a friend. She was everything I needed in this process,’” said Owens. “It’s not that I’m selling you a product. It’s you and I coming together so you can purchase your product. I’m on your team.” 

Owens considered homeownership a primary way to create generational wealth. Even if buyers do not intend to live in their home for forever, they can still earn money from selling it, renting it or even turning it into an Airbnb. They can also use the equity they build to afford other expenses. 

However, she thinks African Americans have been conditioned to believe homeownership is not an achievable goal for them. Many think they don’t have suitable credit scores to be approved for a mortgage, or they believe they have to have a massive amount of money saved before purchasing a home. 

She hopes homeownership education will improve in the future for African Americans and that more attention can be drawn to the slew of grants and programs available to minorities who are trying to become homeowners. 

“There’s so many ways that you can keep this investment in your family and bring in generational wealth, or know that your generations to come will always have a roof over their heads,” said Owens. “There’s always something that can be done with a piece of real estate.”

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