By Alexandra Frisbie
“If you want change, make the change. Put yourself in the game.”
Like many other institutions in America, the real estate system is built on and steeped in white supremacy and racism. Home ownership builds generational wealth and equity, which in turn can pay for things like student loans and other educational and lifetime investments. There is a big disparity between the size and location of real estate available to white people and Black people, which perpetuates a vicious cycle in which it is extremely difficult for Black people to build generational wealth.
Kim Vendryes learned this from the time she was a child, when her mother used to drive around Greenwich, Westport and Black Rock, Connecticut to expose her to other nice neighborhoods and let her know that anything was attainable. As Kim recalls, her mother used to buy houses in Bridgeport for two or three thousand dollars and work on them to sell at a profit. This sparked her interest in real estate at a young age.
Kim became interested in investments and wanted to be her own broker. She originally shied away from real estate because she didn’t like sales. Instead, Kim worked for a large healthcare organization, doing nothing related to real estate, but her interest and passion for real estate never waned. In 2018, Kim “woke up”, in her own words, and decided to register for classes to obtain her real estate license. She took the required sales classes and passed the state test on her first try.
Kim has been in business now for just about three years. Her business is almost 100% referral based. She views real estate ownership as more than a transaction; it is a life experience that should be equally available to everyone. Her strength is helping people who may be afraid of commitment to real estate to understand that it can facilitate them to get what they want. Kim has primarily mentored first-time home buyers and says it is incredibly gratifying to see them learn firsthand that home ownership is achievable.
One experience Kim shared was of a long time friend of hers who was raised by her grandparents and never knew her own mother. She never thought she could be a homeowner. Then, one day, her uncle was selling his house. Her friend was interested, but needed help through the process. She was very nervous, but Kim walked her through it and when she bought the house, it changed her confidence--not only about homeownership but also in so many other aspects of her life.
Kim has conducted several workshops over the past few years to assist with minority homeownership. She is planning to launch a “Main Street Initiative” to teach prospective homeowners about credit and wealth, provide educational empowerment and possibly partner with mortgage companies to provide a product to assist with down payments and closing costs.
Kim wants people to know she is very approachable and happy to answer any questions about homeownership. She can be contacted at (203) 816-1764 or on Facebook. When you call her, mention you read about Kim Vendryes on ShopBlackCT.com!
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By Lajeune Hollis
It’s no secret that one of the best ways to gain riches in the United States is to invest in real estate. Sara Kennedy, a small town girl who grew up in Middlefield, Connecticut, learned this lesson early on by reading books about investing in real estate and watching real estate agents in action on HGTV and other television shows.
Her father, who passed away when she was just 23 years old, also prompted Sara to pursue her dreams, often saying to her whatever you do, just be happy. These simple but profound words continue to reverberate in her life even to this day.
After attending college in New York, working for Dell Computers on Fifth Avenue in New York City, heading up communications at Woodstock Academy in Woodstock, Connecticut, working for a non-profit law firm in Hartford, Connecticut and even teaching English in Haiti where her mother runs an orphanage, she finally found her niche and work home at William Raveis Real Estate.
Sara chose William Raveis Real Estate primarily because they are owned and operated by Connecticut residents, so to her it feels like a small family-owned brokerage. Also, she arrived at the firm with no sales experience and her managers connected her with her now business partner, who went above and beyond to train her, which she appreciated.
Sara specializes in helping first-time homebuyers, second-time homebuyers, first-time sellers and relocation sales, all with the motivation to help her clients fulfill the “American Dream.” While she’s not yet a homeowner, she continues to learn through her journey of helping others.
Sara and her partner Santo recently created their own team at William Raveis called Nutmeg Homes. With two administrative assistants on their support staff, one buyers agent, and two incoming agents, they are striving to help as many people as possible, especially people of color who have much less generational wealth. Her biggest goal in life is to change that.
Photo provided by Sara Kennedy
Sara is striving to help as many people as possible, especially people of color who have much less generational wealth. Her biggest goal in life is to change that.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse according to Sara. Because real estate agents are deemed essential workers, but not all were eager to continue working in the field, Sara sees the number of referrals she received as a blessing, and she’s had her best sales year to date. However, her newfound success has poised challenges with her work/life demands and she’s working to adjust for a better overall balance. Taking some day trips throughout Connecticut and practicing yoga is already helping.
What’s next for Sara? She’s looking to build out her sales team with Nutmeg Homes and hopes to expand her design work and real estate portfolio, then purchase multi-family properties to counter some of the negative landlord issues that plague Connecticut cities. Ultimately, she’s looking to help others make their dreams come true, supporting people of color and businesses of color. She might even open a restaurant. After all, if it makes her happy, she’s going to do it, just like her father encouraged her.
Find Sara Kennedy and Nutmeg Homes at nutmeghomes.raveis.com, on Instagram and on Facebook. Sara and her team cover Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, Windham, New Haven, and Fairfield counties, and are willing to drive anywhere to help their clients.
Photo provided by Sara Kennedy
Photo provided by Sara Kennedy
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