Lexington’s Black real estate brokers help make a difference

LEXINGTON, Ky. — FoodChain Lexington recently hosted a day of outreach and volunteer work with Central Kentucky’s National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB).

What You Need To Know

  • Central Kentucky’s National Association of Real Estate Brokers is making a difference in fields outside of housing
  • The group joined FoodChain Lexington for a day of volunteering
  • Members like Kristen LaRue have connected with other Black and brown realtors
  • According to Data USA, just nearly 6% of realtors since 2021 have been Black

NAREB members helped bag produce and prepare vegetables for a warm-cooked meal FoodChain Lexington helped nourish. Members chopped up squash and pumpkins, among other vegetables, while processing beets and lettuce.

Kristen LaRue, former NAREB president and one of the organization’s founding members, said it wasn’t a typical setting for the group. Instead, they’re normally helping those who are looking to make a big purchase.

“I would always recommend seeking a professional when you have these big decisions,” said member and real-estate professional Chantelle Pressley. “Buying real estate is the most expensive purchase ever made in your life, and having some good guidance is going to be a good thing for you.”

They are among a small percent of black realtors in the state, also known as “Realtists,” looking to increase homeownership plus representation in the industry for Black and brown people.

Kristen LaRue is one of the founding members of the Central Kentucky branch of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

“There was a time when African Americans weren’t allowed to be realtors,” LaRue said. “That’s how we ended up forming NAREB, which is the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. That was a separate organization. Instead of calling ourselves realtors, we call ourselves ‘Realtists.’”

According to Data USA, nearly 80% of realtors since 2021 have been white, compared to just nearly 6% who are Black.

LaRue, who started in the industry several years ago, said she wanted to make a lasting difference and network with other “Realtists.” This year, they’re aiming to ingrain themselves in different realities and concerns of others.

Providing support in areas outside of home-buying such as helping those battling food insecurity is also critical, as both Pressley and LaRue said they consider these aspects interlocked.

“It’s important for us to not just be working with clients behind the scenes selling houses but also to be out in the community serving in other ways,” LaRue said.