Saturday
December 20, 2014

How Do You Best Serve a Diverse Community? By Diversifying Yourself

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How Do You Best Serve a Diverse Community? By Diversifying Yourself

With immigrants flocking to Northern Virginia, the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® has made it a point to make its own organization as diverse as the communities it serves.

The population in Northern Virginia is getting more diverse by the year, thanks to an influx of Asian immigrants. Many of them need help understanding the role of being a home owner, and to make sure no one gets left behind, the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® is there to help them partake in the American dream of home ownership.

NVAR has made diversity a top concern, partnering with the housing nonprofit Asian-American Homeownership Counseling, Inc. to bring awareness and education about home ownership to the growing Asian community. The AAHC often brings NVAR members to public forums to act as real estate experts, answering any questions members of the Asian community may have about purchasing real estate.

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That effort ties into NVAR's "Ask Me" campaign, which aims to market REALTORS® as the local experts consumers in the community rely on for housing information. NVAR members participate in local fairs and symposiums wearing buttons with the "Ask Me" logo and bearing housing information packets with NVAR's insignia.

"We have a very diverse population in Northern Virginia," says NVAR Controller Erick Campos. "NVAR has always been very involved in our community. "Over the years, our members have dedicated lots of hours and financial resources."

NVAR has established cultural forums within the association, targeting Vietnamese, Chinese, Hispanic, and other ethnic groups. The goal is to develop best practices and methods of working with clients that may have language barriers.

"We have even offered classes in the past in Korean to help our REALTORS® who speak English as a second language," Campos says. "Our cultural forums were set up to recognize the diversity that we have in Northern Virginia. They have served as a great training ground for many of our future board members and leaders. Our leadership now better reflects our membership in terms of diversity."

NVAR is also holding training seminars for its members, coaching them on how to answer common questions prospective home owners of various cultural backgrounds may have about buying. Some of the questions involved in the training are:

  • Is it a good time to buy/sell?
  • Is buying a good alternative for me? (For renters)
  • What are the benefits of using a REALTOR®?
  • Why would I want to buy a home in Northern VA?
  • How does the economy/unemployment rate/mortgage rates affect the housing market in our area?
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