Getting Real About Real Estate


By Shahida Keen, Realtor, Excellence Realty

A few weeks ago, Shout Out, asked me to write a column about Real Estate.  I was simultaneously honored and daunted as Real Estate is so complex, that I wasn't sure where to start.

For me, my inner orientation has always pointed to social justice. Real estate embodies complexities of social justice, Maslow's Hierarchy, climate change, family & personal transformations, hopes & dreams and capitalism at it's best & it's worst.

Where to start?

How to write about something so impactful & complex while keeping it real about the challenges we face as queers in finding our "home" within ourselves, our communities and in the larger world?

How does homeownership fit into our day to day realities when so many of us struggle with employment, living paycheck to paycheck, escalating rents and decreasing quality of housing and finding safety in our communities?

Can one write about these challenging realities and show some pathways of positivity and provide connections for folks looking towards future ownership?

We are fortunate to live in a community where we are woven into every aspect of Real Estate.  As a buyer, you can literally have an entire team of queers supporting you thru the process.

People with whom you can be your real & full self. You can have a queer broker, queer mortgage lender, queer title company and queer insurance agent.  And of course the highly skilled queer tradespeople & interior designers to make your home safe & feeling like home.

Some say that owning a "home" is a pathway to financial stability and a way to build equity & some security for oneself.  Others need and want the flexibility of not being tied down to a mortgage and for some it may always seem an elusive part of the mythical "American Dream".

Part of the American Dream has me working with families from Jamaica, Rwanda, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Nigeria. The arduous path to homeownership for some is nothing less than epic. Handing over the key to their new home is deeply satisfying.

Finding a condo for a school teacher so their monthly payments are less than rent. This enables them pay off the burden of their student loans & have more security.

The market is shifting, tightening up and curious things are happening.

I have clients who were looking at a trailer in a park in OOB and it was a "hot" property.  In the time we were there viewing it, there were 8 drive-bys. The fact that there were multiple offers on this trailer, further amplifies the need for affordable housing.

I am hoping this column will provide an opportunity for questions, ideas & conversation about the complexities of housing, buying or selling real estate, getting a mortgage, innovative ideas for developing affordable housing, aging in place etc.

Feel free to email me @

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