How does your ethnicity affect your real estate business?

Real Estate Agent with Maximum One Greater Atlanta Realtors 317535
I know this topic might be a bit sensitive, but I wanted to get AR's feedback about how ones ethnicity influences their business, if at all.

A couple months ago a young man posted a blog about his name and how he thought because it identified him as someone from a certain region, that it might affect his business.

I have only been an agent for about 6 month now and I've notice that I work with 95% African Americans, Why do you think that it?

Well I wondered if my marketing was targeted to this segment of the market and my conclusion was No

Then I thought about the areas I farm and the demography of those subdivision and wondered if that could have been responsible for this disparity and I concluded No as well

Is it because I am African American/Black? 

Is it just me but are Asian agents more inclined to work with Asian clients and so forth?

Could it be the fact that clients tend to gravitate to an agent that they think would be able to relate to them culturally and socially?

Am I wrong in my assessment?

 Please comment I want to hear how you guys feel about this.



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Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Natallie: Great post..... and here's some of my experiences with this issue:

I am Asian and I have a large pool of Asian friends. Graduating from Norman, OK, the closest big city is Dallas. So many of us flock here after graduation. When I first went to OU, and hailed from Malaysia, I tend to click with my Malaysian friends for moral and mental support (at times). We become very good friends and even after graduation, we have kept in touch all this while. When I first started my business, I had a majority of Asian clients -

Did they choose me because I was "Asian"? I doubt it. They chose me because they first trusted me as a friend - who has more experience than them in purchasing houses. Then my business went to the next level - where friends refer their friends to me. They too hang out with other Asians. So, yes I served more Asians.

I have a diversified set of clients today because of the circle of my friends. I go to a church - predominantly non-Asians. My limitations is that I cannot read or write Chinese. I can speak Chinese. Going to an Asian church would not help me much because I could not read a Chinese Bible. Hence, my diversity among clients have grown. And the longer I have been in America, the more American friends I know.

It's quite as simple as this for me. I do not specifically hunt for a particular set of clients. I work with everyone who is able and qualified to buy and sell a house.

Jul 02, 2007 06:03 AM #96
Frank Harris
Keller Williams Realty Centre - Columbia, MD

It all depends on the person, some people want to work with others that look like them and some truly do not care. I had a client that told me "I want to move in an area with only white people" those were his words, but on the other hand was willing to have me represent him as an agent. A bit odd, but I told him that I could not help him that way if that was his main criteria for purchasing a home...He must decide on a area himself.

I decided not to work with him.

Jul 02, 2007 07:42 AM #97
Cindy Lin
Staged4more School of Home Staging - South San Francisco, CA
Host, The Home Staging Show podcast

this is a great question! frankly i think i do. i am asian and i generally secretly cringe a little when i get asian clients because i know they will want to bargain a little more and they are generally likely to argue about my prices.





Jul 02, 2007 01:35 PM #98
William Collins
ERA Queen City Realty - Scotch Plains, NJ
Property and Asset Management


Thanks for the post. Great thought provoking subject. I am an Afro American and  I have been in the business for 24 years. I have a large cross section of repeat clients (Whites, Gays, Blacks and Latins), clients who appreciate the level of service I provide. I agree with Aziz Abdur-Ra'oof, I prefer to work with people who want to work with me, especially those who are referred. People tend to work from comfort zones, which can be rather limiting-restricting their personal growth. You will find that there are those who's "windows aren't open". In other words they are not receptive to what you have to say or for that matter what level of service you have to offer. Unfortunately for them, it's their loss.

Jul 02, 2007 04:02 PM #99
Vickie Arcuri
ONE Sotheby's International Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
South Florida Luxury Real Estate
Nattalie, great post and congrats on actually posting it!  Like many of the others mentioned, I too have noticed that many people tend to gravitate toward those whom they feel are most similar to themselves solely based on outward characteristics (of course, it could often turn out that they couldn't be more different LOL).  It would be great if it weren't that way, but reality is what it is.  Beyond Race, some people also make choices about whether to work with you based on age, attractiveness or lack thereof, size, gender, and the list goes on and's quite shallow, but some people apparently have very narrow comfort zones.   Like the quote Lenn mentioned:  "So far have we come, so far have we yet to go".   Continue striving to be the best and learning more everyday and great things will happen!
Jul 02, 2007 04:11 PM #100
Tchaka Owen
Galleria International Realty - Hollywood, FL

I wish I could contribute more but no one really has any idea what my background is so I don't know what causes them to gravitate towards me.  I don't meet too many people with my background either so I can't speak from that perspective either.  But you do bring up an interesting topic.

I believe that if you don't see color and treat everyone equally, you'll end up with a broad spectrum of clients.   Yes, they may gravitate towards you based on color/background (and I don't have a problem with that).  As long as you aren't expected to treat anyone better based on color/background, all is good.

- Tchaka 

Jul 02, 2007 04:20 PM #101
Dena Stevens Coriz
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
Great post! I'm going to e-mail you privately. My biggest problem is clients who are two faced. They are all for living on one side of town or another until we get into the car. When we are in the car the true feelings come out in comments. Then what?
Jul 02, 2007 04:24 PM #102
Julie Neerings~Lifting Hearts ♥ Building Dreams~
Agent Referral - Salt Lake City, UT
I love diversity.  We all have so much to learn from one another.  I do agree with your assessment however.  I personally think people just become loyal to their culture.  I don't think it's out of ignorance at all.  I would truly love to work with all cultures.  Thanks for all your great posts!
Jul 02, 2007 05:26 PM #103
Sheron Cardin
California Moods Inc - Selma, CA
ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend!

In my neck of the woods, 71 percent of the population is Hispanic and that is because we are the raisin capitol of the world. There is a new Realtor in town and on his brightly painted hummer is says Hispanic Realty. I think they are genius because who better to know the plight of immigrants and a large percentage of that number are illegal aliens. I would imagine the paperwork can get tricky.

As a professional decorator, I have worked all over California and for years I worked with a clan of Indians in the central valley. When they find a builder or decorator that they like, you get the whole clans business.  In Fresno there is a clan of Indians and forgive me for not knowing exactly what the clan is called but they are all doctors. I worked for many withing the clan. They use their money to Americanize and upgrade their lifestyles by hiring professionals that represent what they are looking for and where they want to go. They live very well

So for me, I see different reasons vary per the needs and desires of each community. Great post!

Jul 03, 2007 08:13 AM #104


 Of course ethnic comfort and race play a big part in a clients initial choice. Social and cultural familiarity  follow up with a very close second. Finally, professionalism and competence are considered. Any one of these could out weigh the other two in a clients mind. It depends on which element they value most and their perception of the look/smell/style of the type of agent/broker/officer that will give them that valued element. That's how I see it.

Jul 03, 2007 11:06 AM #105
Tina Smith
Metro Brokers/GMAC Real Estate - Lawrenceville, GA
You are not alone in these feelings.  But like you said its not always the case.  I think sometimes our minds play tricks on us.  If we allow these dividing thoughts to cultivate we have to work even harder to rid ourselves of these ideas.  The way we think definitely affects the outcome of any situation. 
Jul 03, 2007 11:33 AM #106
Callie Thompson
Property Xchange Solutions - Frederick, MD
Property Xchange Solutions
Hi Nattalie,

I truely belive it is all in yor attitude. You have got to feel secure when meeting with prospects. That will reflect an  image off of you insead of color. Positive thinking brings positive results.
Granted there are some racist people out there. And in that case just move on to the next serious buyer.
The majority of us just want a good, ethical, caring, confident, Realtor.
I hope this helped. Stay true to you!

Jul 04, 2007 04:45 AM #107
Tony Gallegos
Cognicorp Mortgage Banking Advisory - Marietta, GA

That is a very good question and in my opinion, the answer lies in the gray. I'm Hispanic, however only 20% of my business has been with other Hispanics. In all honesty, I would say ethnically speaking, my business pretty much matches the ethnic mix of the country or area I live. I have however made a conscious decision to market to niches and that seems to have determined where my business came from.


Jul 04, 2007 05:44 AM #108
Miriam Bernstein, CRS
Rochester, NY
People are people.  Our country has become so diverse that to assume who someone is from looking at them is really not possible. Every ethnic group in this country has an educated segment, a middle class segment, etc.  All of these comments talk about "gravitating" to people who are similar to you.  How do you determine that if you don't know someone.  If you think you can determine that just by the way someone looks, that is discrimination.  Why would you ask such a question?  Where is your office located? What would happen if you moved to a different office, that markets to a more diverse community? Is there a problem with working with African Americans for you?
Jul 04, 2007 11:14 AM #109
Ruth Jacobs
Quantum One Realty - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
North Palm Beach, Real Estate Specialist, CDPE, SF
Nattalie, It is good that you have brought up this subject.  We don't think much on this.  Most of our clients come to us by repeat, referral or on the internet.  When they come to us on the internet they can see what we look like, but we don't usually see them until we have developed a relationship.  To us, it is all about the relationship, whatever color, culture, and then working towards their goals.  Thanks for presenting the subject for debate.
Jul 04, 2007 01:00 PM #110
Nattalie de la Mothe
Maximum One Greater Atlanta Realtors - Atlanta, GA
Selling Atlanta Homes like a Boss


I am not sure what you are getting at.

1. People are similar in a lot of ways, Sex, race, age , etc.

2. All my blog suggestion was that if a buyers is looking for an agent, (not knowing anything about them) he might be more incline to work with something he thinks would understand him more. That might mean a GRAVITATION to someone who he THINKS is similar to him. If you read some of the comments. they have been actually studies conducted that supports this social behavior.

3. I did not say anywhere in my post, that I had a problem with the situation. I work with anyone that wants to work with me... and my goal is to increase my business, and race , sex, or age is not an issue with me.

$. I asked the question , because I wanted to open the discussion, and get some feedback from the "brillant minds on AR"

sorry if it offended you.

Jul 04, 2007 03:16 PM #111
Nattalie de la Mothe
Maximum One Greater Atlanta Realtors - Atlanta, GA
Selling Atlanta Homes like a Boss
Ruth - you correct our relationship and how we approach clients does have a lot do with it
Jul 04, 2007 03:18 PM #112
Miriam Bernstein, CRS
Rochester, NY
First of all my name is Miriam. What I am getting at is that we should be living in a world where race is not a factor.  People are people. Everyone is siting studies that have been done, have you read any of these studies?  It would be better not to open this discussion.  This is a discussion of racism in this country clocked or pretending to be something else.  I am not offended.  I would love to see those studies? and what they actually say - do you have reference?  "That might mean a GRAVITATION to someone who he THINKS is similar to him"  who cares about this and where does this thought lead.  This is not an innocent post that is limited in scope.  Have a great day Nattalie, but again why would this question pop into your head? Honestly?
Jul 04, 2007 09:47 PM #113
Nattalie de la Mothe
Maximum One Greater Atlanta Realtors - Atlanta, GA
Selling Atlanta Homes like a Boss


Ok obviously you missed the whole point of my post, but that's ok, at least over a hundred people didn't and most were happy I opened the discussion.

Again, this is not a post about racism, and I was very careful in my wording to make sure it didn't come across as such, and it worked pretty well, the discussions were great, some people shared their experiences, some agreed while others didn't.

It was great and I am happy I brought this up, if not for the only reason of opening a discussion.

But in addition I mentioned in my post that about 95% of my clients have been or are African Americans and wondered in their was a co-relations;. Hence the question.

So with that being said... that's for everyone that had something to add and all of those who commented... Thanks Miriam.

Have a great and productive day!!

Jul 05, 2007 12:49 AM #114
Miriam Bernstein, CRS
Rochester, NY
I did not miss the point at all.  Revist this when you have been in the business a bit longer and see what you think at that point about this discussion. By the way did you find any of those many studies on this subject?
Jul 05, 2007 01:45 AM #115
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Selling Atlanta Homes like a Boss
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