The Struggles of Being a Black Realtor – Part 2

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white couple looking at black real estate agent suspiciously

We wrote about the struggles of being a black real estate agent 3 years ago. The New York Times recently wrote a piece “Selling Houses While Black” that highlighted some of the same issues.

The piece interviewed several black realtors, some of whom are in our network, who detailed stories of some of the challenges they’ve faced and had to overcome in their careers.

A quick read of the comments section shows just how divided this country is. Some commenters empathize with the struggle, while others claim that since discrimination was made illegal by laws such as the Fair Housing Act of 1968, racism no longer exists right? Sigh.

To be fair, there are two (unequal) sides to the coin. The other side shows how successful many of us have become in our real estate careers, despite the challenges we’ve faced. Don Peebles, a billionaire black real state developer, epitomizes this.

We took this issue to our community on our social media pages and would like to share some of the many, many comments around this issue.

The Ugly

$100k difference in appraisal when removing pictures of black faces.


My husband has asked me over and over if we should take our pics off marketing material.


“I take a different approach. I put my picture on EVERYTHING. I KNOW that it costs me business too. But for me, all money ain’t good money, and it’s better the Devil you can see, than the one that covers up.

Also, I want my picture on my sign riders. That way, when the neighbor calls the cops about a black person walking around their neighbors yard, I don’t have to reach for $hit to show you that I am who I say I am and that I’m supposed to be there.”

black man trying to sell a house

“…I literally cried today. I got passed over on a few listings I interviewed for this week and the reason I got from 2 of the owners who were black on why they hired the non-black realtor…was their perception that they may possibly get way more in cash offers from the non-black realtors imaginary “clients.” 

athenapettway_ shares a story of how she, a black realtor, was representing a white couple seeking to buy a home from a white home owner and how the owner had the nerve to ask them to switch realtors.

The Bad

We need to be better at supporting our own. This goes for any business in any industry, whether it’s supporting black realtors, black loan officers, black owned restaurants, black owned startups etc…

“I had a circle of 10 “friends” that I used to spend nearly everyday with from age 18-24…we are 33 now. Not 1 of them has trusted me to do their loan. I have helped over 300 families in the last 5 years but I couldn’t get a chance with the “homies.”


 I find the reverse discrimination from my own. The others trust me explicitly! I work hard for all and get more push back from my race.


The Good

Many commenters offered words of encouragement

I encourage us to keep going. Present professionally, provide a good service, and follow up and nurture clients…

I’ve done these things and I can confidently say I can stand next to any ‘other colleague in my marketplace. And I’ve been able to attract upwardly mobile AA clientele in my market as well.

Successful black female real estate agent

I am consistently a multi million dollar producing Broker in my market. My Black clients are so disappointed when they enthusiastically recommend me to other Black folks and they prefer to work with a White agent. I don’t let it hold me back. I keep moving. 

The fact is that more of them own homes, have generational homeownership/wealth, and commit to buying. I understand why some would assume a white agent would be more knowledgeable. But, its a terrible misconception.


I just try to give people the best value as much as possible so that there’s no reason for them not to try to even think about not using me or charge me less commission and if they do, you gotta know when to walk away. Know your worth.


I was one of the Agents featured in that NY TImes article that came out. Collette didn’t cover half of what we discussed which was on the progress we have made the best and brightest among us.

You see that she chose to only tell most of our challenges and not our successes. That’s what happens when we allow white people to tell our stories and depict us as victims. The real estate industry is what it is in terms of institutional racism and individual privilege.

Nothing in life is fair. We are not victims unless we choose to be.


Perhaps @rodwatson summed it up best

I urge my fellow black and brown Realtors to keep showing up and putting in the work. This isn’t just about us it’s about the future generation coming after us. Our ancestors went through way worst so we could have this opportunity.