By Special to the AFRO
Before opening her Baltimore boutique real estate brokerage, Missy Conway was an actuary for an insurance company. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she came to the U.S. in 1995 to attend Temple University for actuarial science, but moved to the Baltimore area after graduation.
Conway got her real estate license in 2004 because she was not happy with the work-life balance she had at the time in corporate America. Several years later, she opened Conway Real Estate as an independent brokerage, not tied to any national real estate franchises or chains.
Since its inception, the firm has accomplished over $230 million in sales, and this year, it’s celebrating its tenth anniversary.
“It’s a smaller brokerage, and because of that, we are very hands-on, and I’m very heavily involved in all of the agents and their transactions,” said Conway. “It’s a very different feel than working with some of the larger, big-box brokerages.”
Conway Real Estate works with buyers and sellers and strives to provide a hyper-personalized experience to each client. It also offers a luxury flat fee program, which bestows commission savings to clients without jeopardizing service quality or successful outcomes.
When asked about the barriers Black Americans face to homeownership, Conway said the question was like a dagger to her heart. For her, there are a myriad of conditions that prevent African Americans from becoming homeowners, but lack of knowledge is foremost.
“A lot of times, African Americans just continue to do what they’ve always seen around them, which is not homeownership,” said Conway. “It’s almost like you know what you know and you do what you’ve always seen around you.”
Conway said there is also a lack of access and resources for Black buyers, and in some cases, racial bias continues to influence mortgage rates and approval, home appraisal and the homebuying process as a whole.
She’s seen many buyers lose out on a house just before closing because they didn’t know that they shouldn’t make large purchases at that time.
With better education and access to knowledgeable lenders and realtors, Conway thinks African-American buyers can better prepare themselves for purchasing a home. They can also take advantage of the assistance, programs and grants available to them, especially if they are first-time home buyers.
To contact Missy Williams, call 410-963-9284 for more information.
Jazmin Owens managed properties for seven years, now she’s starting her real estate career
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.
Currently, Owens primarily holds showings and open houses in the Howard County area in Ellicott City, Columbia and Catonsville. 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.
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.”
To contact Jazmine Owens, please call 410-553-1513.
Joshua Williams says his love of community and real estate put him on his current career path with Realty One Group Excellence as a realtor.
Joshua Williams is a Baltimore native who has a passion for studying the real estate market in Maryland. Williams got into the real estate business because he wanted to serve and connect with members of the community while also introducing them to the ins and outs of the real estate industry that he loved.
“I take pride in my ability to foster meaningful relationships,” said Williams. I always recognize the importance of fighting for my clients
] overcome the obstacles of home ownership for the new generation of home buyers.”
To contact Willaims, a realtor with Realty One Group Excellence, based in Pikesville, Md., please call 443-233-6156.
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