This 4th of July, Troy Palmquist lays out an argument for why the American dream of homeownership is alive and well, and together, real estate professionals can help more people achieve it.

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As we gather to celebrate Independence Day, a time to reflect on the freedoms and opportunities that define our nation, it’s essential to recognize the role homeownership plays in the American dream

Homeownership isn’t just about having a place to live; it represents stability, community, and a significant milestone in one’s life. Yet, as we navigate 2024, the real estate landscape faces challenges reminiscent of past market upheavals, such as those experienced between 2008 and 2012. 

However, while there are echoes of that period, today’s market presents unique opportunities for growth, refinement and advocacy for homeownership.

The past year has created a lot of upheaval and uncertainty, but with change comes the freedom to rethink the way we operate and recalibrate our attitudes. Put aside your stress and stop waiting for things to go “back to normal.” In real estate, we’re always operating under a new normal anyway, so learn your buyer agreement, update your CRM with the contact info for your market’s biggest listing agents and get over yourself.

When it comes down to it, the logistics around what we have to do to get the job done and get paid start with the way we serve our clients — and the way we make it possible for folks to get deals done. Right now, too many Americans don’t feel like they’ll ever be able to buy a home. That’s a much bigger existential threat to our industry than any commission-related lawsuit or trade organization’s settlement.

Homeownership and the American dream

Homeownership has long been a cornerstone of the American dream. It symbolizes more than just a roof over one’s head — it stands for security, prosperity and personal achievement. For many, owning a home is a tangible representation of hard work and success, a goal that embodies the freedom and opportunity our country promises.

In a larger sense, homeownership is a way to overcome generational poverty and create a foundation for wealth-building and upward mobility. It can foster stability, community and pave the way for a greater sense of financial independence. Home equity can fund education, investment and retirement.

Historical context and modern challenges

The period from 2008 to 2012, marked by a severe economic downturn and characterized by a housing market collapse that left many Americans struggling, has, in many ways, shaped our current understanding and response to market fluctuations. 

Today, we face new challenges: up-and-down interest rates, housing supply constraints, and political and economic uncertainties. However, unlike in the past, we now have a more resilient financial system, advanced technologies and innovative solutions to navigate these challenges.

Embracing change and seizing opportunities

The current real estate market, while offering its share of challenges, also presents unprecedented opportunities. Real estate professionals are uniquely positioned to guide clients through these complexities, offering expertise, support and perspective.

Technological advancements

One of the most significant changes in the real estate landscape is the advent of technology. From virtual tours to AI-driven market analysis, technology has transformed how we buy and sell homes, and how we communicate with buyers and sellers. These tools not only enhance the buying experience but also provide greater transparency and efficiency, making it easier for clients to make informed decisions.

Community building

The essence of homeownership remains deeply rooted in community building. Real estate professionals have the unique opportunity to foster this sense of community, helping clients find not just a house, but a home within a supportive and vibrant neighborhood. This focus on community is crucial, and creates an avenue for equal access to educational opportunities, social interaction and economic empowerment.

Advocacy and education

Real estate professionals play a critical role in advocating for homeownership. This involves not only helping clients navigate the purchase process but also educating them about the long-term benefits of owning a home. By providing clients with the knowledge and resources they need, we empower them to make decisions that are in their best interest.

Advocacy doesn’t stop with showing homes and facilitating contracts. It may mean helping hopeful buyers rebuild their credit, identify down payment and closing cost assistance, and find proactive and professional lenders. It may mean helping them find affordable neighborhood options and identify cost-effective moving solutions.

It means going the extra mile to make homeownership possible for first-generation homeowners who’ve never learned the ins and outs of mortgage approvals, home maintenance and equity building.

Beyond the individual and local level, advocacy extends to the policy level. Real estate professionals must engage with policymakers to ensure that housing policies support and promote homeownership. This includes addressing issues such as affordability, zoning regulations and financing options. By participating in these discussions, we can help shape a market that is more accessible and equitable for all.

Celebrating independence and homeownership

This Fourth of July, let’s celebrate not only our nation’s independence but also the enduring dream of homeownership. Let’s acknowledge the challenges we face while focusing on the opportunities they present. 

By refining our systems, embracing change and truly advocating for our clients, we can emerge from this period stronger and more capable than ever before. The American dream of homeownership is alive and well, and together, we can help more people achieve it.

Happy Fourth of July!

Troy Palmquist is the director of growth for eXp California. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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