Real estate leaders have an important responsibility to help create a world without obstacles to homeownership. Allies who actively engage in and promote diversity, equity and inclusion can help be a force for change. 

What decisions and paths should the real estate industry be prioritizing? And how can you, whether managing a team or an entire company, bring those best lessons to bear where you work? In February, in advance of building an industry blueprint at Inman Disconnect, we’ll plumb the topic of leadership with Q&As with top industry leaders, contributions from esteemed Inman columnists and more.

In 2022, I was honored to represent the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand in Las Vegas, where my brokerage is based, at the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance conference. As an ally, I was excited to attend and learn more about what we all can do to improve the lives of members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

During my two days at the conference, I understood better why Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate incorporated the word “inclusion” in its core business values: passion, authenticity, inclusion, growth, and excellence. I met so many wonderful people and learned their stories as LGBTQ+ real estate professionals and how both blatant discrimination and unconscious bias have impacted them and LGBTQ+ buyers and sellers.

Despite working in this industry for over 20 years, I didn’t realize the extent of how much adversity members of the LGBTQ+ community face daily. My experience at the event enhanced my perspective. I want to share some of what I learned and how brokerages can embrace the work of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Be in it for the right reasons

DEI is not about money or image. You should genuinely believe that inclusion is the right thing to do from a human perspective. Underserved groups need our support. Of course, we all care about the success of our businesses, but there are better approaches than pursuing DEI initiatives with a business-first philosophy.

At the conference, I made it a point to develop authentic and meaningful relationships. I attended sessions and participated in discussions. This allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their journey. While not the goal, my participation resulted in a top Las Vegas agent asking to set up a meeting to discuss joining our company. A few days later, we welcomed him to the team.

The conference was an incredibly powerful event for me. I’ve realized that the most talented people I’ve worked with are the ones I’ve come across by coincidence, not solely by strategic effort. 

Fully embrace, don’t simply support

I was making a mistake for years with my previous philosophy of simply extending my support to those who asked. Instead, I should have been proactively searching for opportunities. For example, I wasn’t aware of the many ways to be involved with my local LGBTQ+ community and AANHPI, Hispanic and Black communities to share my knowledge and help all people achieve the dream of homeownership.

From a recruiting perspective, I need to ensure that our brokerage reflects who lives in Las Vegas and is moving here. As I increase diversity within Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Universal, I have a responsibility to help our agents understand and provide even better service to diverse communities.

Educate, educate, educate

Learning about the obstacles people in the LGBTQ+ community face on their path to homeownership forced me to stop and recognize that other diverse communities may be encountering similar challenges. 

Most broker-owners take great pride in how we educate our agents about industry trends, technology and other technical facets of the business. But what about training them on how to serve the needs of our diverse population? What about the challenges that may arise?

Our brokerage has recently started providing agents access to an online real estate school. Following the conference, I immediately began a review of all the courses. I wanted to ensure that we were addressing topics that would enable us to provide the fairest path to homeownership for all clientele. I would encourage you to do the same.

Your efforts should extend beyond the walls of your office. I have participated in Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) events in Las Vegas, but I need to do the same with the other advocacy groups, including National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professional (NAHREP).

We need to also get outside of the industry. We should develop meaningful relationships with leaders and become members of local nonprofit organizations that play an important role in supporting diverse communities. Your presence and willingness to learn, engage and be involved will speak volumes to the community.

I believe real estate leaders have an important responsibility to help create a world without obstacles to homeownership. Allies who actively engage in and promote diversity, equity and inclusion can help be a force for change. 

I take my responsibility as an ally seriously. So can you. 

Scott Beaudry is a Henderson, Nevada-based broker and the owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Universal just east of Las Vegas. Connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Instagram.

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