Philly real estate agents rally around homeless mom and kids

Shannon Rowell, a longtime food service employee, struggled to buy her first home, a Philadelphia row house, and even briefly lived out of her car after 4 home deals fell through

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When Philadelphia Realtor Hannah Angert heard how difficult it was for one single mother to buy her first home, the big-hearted agent gathered her community of real estate professionals to pitch in with money, furniture and toys.

Shannon Rowell, a longtime food service employee, who bought a house from a seller Angert represented at Space & Company Real Estate, struggled to buy her first home, a Philadelphia row house, and even briefly lived out of her car after four deals collapsed before her eyes following difficulties securing a loan and disagreements over repair work, the Realtor told Philly.com.

Hannah Angert

Angert, who nicknamed Rowell “Mz. Fierce” for her home-buying tenacity, galvanized a crew of friends and real estate colleagues on social media once she heard about her client’s real estate struggle and the series of deals that had fallen apart.

“When I saw the paperwork, I knew she was IN for the homeowner fight,” Angert wrote on Facebook. “Fast forward, and I learned yesterday that during this month leading to closing, Mz. Fierce was living out of her car and saving toward … an empty house.  So, today I come to my community to ask for a little boost for Mz. Fierce, who I respect so deeply.”

Before long, other Philadelphia agents and developers started offering Rowell donations of cash and items for the home. By the time Rowell’s fifth settlement went through and she received the keys to the house on Monday morning, real estate agents had given her couches, coffee tables, silverware, donations of cash (one developer gave $500) and gift cards.

“I’m going to have to create an Excel spreadsheet,” Angert told Philly.com  “So many offers are coming in.”

To celebrate, Angert accompanied Rowell to her new row house and watched her and the kids revel in the pride that came with realizing the rooms that would soon be filled with toys and furniture were now theirs.

“I’d drive past the house every couple of days and tell my kids, ‘This is your home,'” said Rowell, who had spent several years saving $200 and, eventually, $400 a week to make a down payment on a $75,000 property in North Philadelphia.

Email Veronika Bondarenko