Chris Linsell TheClose.com

Real Estate Bias And What Is Needed For Change • Close-ing Time • Chris Linsell

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Welcome to our newest monthly feature, Close-ing Time – in partnership with TheClose.com.

In this episode Chris Linsell from The Close discusses how the reactions of COVID-19 and #BlackLivesMatter have affected and influenced the real estate industry. Chris also talks about how competition has decreased and how clients can benefit. Last, Chris tackles the sad reality of housing discrimination and the role real estate professionals have in helping disadvantaged clients fight for justice.

If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!

Chris Linsell can be reached at chris@theclose.com.


D.J. Paris 0:00
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Welcome to another episode of Keeping it real, the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris. I am your guide, and host through the show and today is our monthly series called closing time with Chris Lin sell at the close. Now this is a partnership with the closed.com. Let me tell you a little bit about the closed if you’re not familiar. First, the close is a new kind of real estate website designed to give agents teams and brokerages actionable strategic insight from industry professionals. They cover real estate marketing, lead gen technology and team building strategies. From the perspective of working agents and brokers who want to take their business to the next level. Please visit the closed.com and subscribe to their newsletter so you can get notified each time they publish an article. And from the close we have crystallin Sal Chris is the closes resident expert on real estate topics ranging from marketing lead generation transactional best practices, and everything in between. He’s a licensed agent in the state of Michigan. Chris has been part of hundreds of real estate transactions from modest rural starter homes to massive waterside compounds. When he I would like to go to one of those massive waterside compounds by the way. Now, it’s now that it’s the dog we’re getting into the the hotter part of the year. But when Chris isn’t writing, you’ll find Chris fly fishing, which I would also like to do in the trout streams of Michigan or on stage in his community theaters. Latest production Chris, welcome once again to the show.

Chris Linsell 2:26
DJ, thanks for having me, and you’ve got a standing invitation to come on up.

D.J. Paris 2:30
Oh, you don’t want to make that because I will actually show up. So

Chris Linsell 2:34
I’ve got an extra set of fly gear in the garage, we can be in a stream and six hours from

D.J. Paris 2:40
the I want the waiting the big waiting trousers. So got them got upset, right i I’ve never done that I would like to. Well, thank thanks for once again being on the show. And we’re huge fans of the close every article you guys put out. And I say that without without hyperbole is an excellent, excellent article that I think would really benefit any agent looking to increase their business or just get developed a different skill set to improve. So I’m such a huge fan of the site, and we’re glad to have you.

Chris Linsell 3:11
Well, it’s a really a pleasure to be with you again, and definitely excited to continue to be a part of the part of the cast of keeping it real. Because we love what you guys are working on too. It’s Oh, thanks a lot of fun to be with you here.

D.J. Paris 3:29
So we’re in a very challenging or difficult times right now with obviously the economy is still, you know, ebbing and flowing. We’ve got the pandemic we’ve had the unfortunate incidents, incidences in Michigan or I’m sorry, in Minnesota that have reverberated around the country. We’re sort of right now, as we’re recording this still sort of in the middle of that. And of course, we’re talking about real estate. So I would like to sort of get your thoughts on on anything and everything related right now to to real estate.

Chris Linsell 4:04
Sure, sure. Well, so I think I think I just I want to cover a lot of different stuff in this conversation. But I want to first start off by pointing out I don’t know if you’ve been keeping an eye on this and I know this a little bit of a curveball. I know we didn’t really talk about this so sure so so be ready to hear. But I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but the stock market recently does not seem to notice that there’s like two national emergencies happening right now. Have you been following this at all

D.J. Paris 4:31
the last two weeks I’ve been very the one if there is one thing that’s been positive in my life has been I look at my accounts every day and I go oh, hey, look at that. What how and why is the market up but it is or it has been?

Chris Linsell 4:46
I’ve been I’ve been having those same experiences those same strange. Oh, that’s that’s interesting over breakfast. And one thing I think I like I just wanted to mention in this in this context is that those markets and The behavior, those markets often are relatively independent to a lot of external factors that you think would affect that sort of thing. But, you know, housing doesn’t normally flow that way, housing is relatively affected by the things that are going on, because housing is so affected by consumer confidence. And the sentiments, you know, just kind of the basic attitudes and feelings of of people that are living in our country right now. So, you know, I have had some conversations over the last couple of days with people about how housing boy, if it boys just follows the stock market, we’re in great shape, we dodged the bullet. And I’m not. I don’t I’m not being a doomsday ser. I don’t think that that’s necessarily impossible, but I think we should just, you know, all keep keep calm and carry on here, because we don’t have a reason to celebrate just yet.

D.J. Paris 5:59
Well, I think there’s a lot of factors, you know, sort of converging, I’m not sure how they’re converging, but you have, you have unemployment, which is, you know, some some say, could get up to as high as 20%. has got to affect the housing market, I would assume it’s saloon. And then you also have people who have been all of us have been staying indoors, and a lot of us have have been planning to make moves either prior to the pandemic, or what, during the pandemic, we thought, okay, maybe it is time to, you know, to move to a different area or a different type of property or a larger property. So there’s just a lot of things hitting us at the same time. So I’m almost wondering as now, as restrictions have started easing, at least here in Illinois, I don’t, I don’t, Michigan has to have gotten a bit eased up. I’m wondering if there’s just a lot of people that were ready to go, and now they’re ready to go. And if we won’t see the actual impact of all of the unfortunate events that have happened, you know, in the last several months, maybe those won’t hit us for a while? I really don’t know. I’m curious to get your take.

Chris Linsell 7:03
Yeah, I think that you’re probably right on that. And I think it’s important to remember, for all of us to remember that housing has a long tail, especially when it comes to the negative effects, the external effects of macro economies on housing, because, remember, if somebody, let’s just think about your average homeowner in the United States, if they miss a mortgage payment, the sheriff isn’t knocking on their door the next day, to kick them out onto the street, the typical foreclosure process is many months and in some case, years long, depending on the scenario. And when you add in a variable like the mortgage forbearances that have been a part of the economic relief that the US government has been has been attempting to to administer. It is really throwing wildcards into the timetable for this sort of event. So, you know, you’re I think you’re 100%, right, that the, the understanding of when and how we’ll see effects of, of the last three to four months on the US housing market, it’s really impossible to say right now, but I think it’s safe to say that there will be effects, we just have to be watching and waiting at this point.

D.J. Paris 8:33
We have 700 Realtors at our firm, and we although a lot of them are part time sort of to be perfectly forthright. So our production throughout the pandemic, in particular, didn’t really move that much, because we don’t really have a lot of top top producers who are doing 100 Plus deals a year. And and you know, those those brokers were certainly at least in our local area here, those brokers were affected quite a bit. The brokers who are part time who are doing a few transactions a year, you know, seem to be able to still maintain that that volume, because obviously it’s much easier to maintain that volume. So we haven’t personally and in our company, we haven’t seen much of a downturn. However, maybe we’re not the best metric, the way that our structure is set up, because we don’t have a lot of those bigger hitters.

Chris Linsell 9:28
So Well, I mean, I can tell you the latest data to come out of boy who wasn’t I think it’s black knight who is involved in the mortgage administration. I believe they the latest figures coming to come out of them was that 4.7 million mortgages in the United States. We’re currently in forbearance barons, that’s almost 9% of homeowners. So who knows exactly what’s going to happen when we really are in uncharted territory. So we’ll just have to wait and see and speaking of uncharted territory, or maybe not so Uncharted, I guess, depending on how you look at it, the the events, the Black Lives Matter protests and subsequent riots that have followed those protests, adding another layer to this, you know, not so appetizing cake we’ve got sitting in front of us, right? So it really is going to create some some serious, some serious. Like I said mysteries as far as what the what the outcome is going to be. But you know, what the best we can do is watch and wait and continue to prepare.

D.J. Paris 10:39
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it seems to be that Yeah, nobody seems to really know what’s going to happen. I will tell you, I’ve been speaking over the last few weeks to top producers, as we always do on the show, and even the own top producers at our firms. They seem and again, I’m this is hyper, a hyper local Illinois Chicago thing, because that’s where I’m at. And they seem to be busier than ever, there’s, there’s and I think that, again, is mostly people that were were ready to make the move prior to the pandemic and then now are maybe more able to to go visit properties make offers, we’re seeing lots of multiple offer opportunities these days. But again, I don’t know how long that’s gonna last either. I mean, rates rates are still really low, too. So that’s another layer of complexity is you have these, you know, seemingly positive signs and negative signs kind of merging. And I guess we’ll, we’ll have to wait and see what what happens?

Chris Linsell 11:39
Absolutely, no, I think it’s important to say to that, I am not, like in a, I’m not in a negative mindset about real estate as a whole. In fact, I’m relatively bullish about the whole thing. I mean, truthfully, a lot of people, when a lot of people are back on their heels, I think this is the time to be on your toes, as a real estate professional, and honestly, as a buyer or a seller as well, because when, when a good chunk of of a economic group, whether they’re home buyers, or sellers or real estate agents, when a good chunk of those people are back on their heels, the people who stay on their toes, wind up advancing their progress a little faster than they would be otherwise. So, you know, for any agents that are listening to this, that are considering how they can speak to their clients right now. I always, you know, I’m encouraging my clients right now to think about the opportunities, if you’re still in a position to buy or sell the opportunities now that you have, as a result of lower competition. If you are a seller, you have less properties to compete with on the market. And if you are a buyer, there’s still a lot of buyers out there. But think about the fact that now money is cheaper to borrow, you have less competition when it comes from the mortgage, kind of angle of your transaction, and less pressure to try and squeeze the ideal home into a particular price point. So there are opportunities right now. And if you’re still in a position to take advantage of those, now’s a good time to do it.

D.J. Paris 13:25
Yeah, I think it’s a great time to and we’ve, we’ve said this on on previous episodes before, but it probably bears repeating, I’ve probably set it on about every episode I’ve done for the last few months. But now is the time to deepen connections with your sphere of influence with your contact list, you know, even now, again, you know, maybe not specifically this week or today with with a lot of the, you know, the racial issues that are happening that are, you know, very important and needing to be addressed. Here as as a country. But But back to when you know, whenever you’re able to focus and work on your business, this is such a great time to check in, you know, with with the people that are in your contact database and just see how they’re doing, see how they’re feeling. For example, this we were talking about this before we went on the air, Chris was asking, you know, sort of how things were going here in Chicago, Chicago was very badly hit and damaged by by some of the rioting that’s been happening, and I happen to live, right, right near where that happened. And it’s been a very scary time just for my own physical safety. And I’m not somebody that normally deals with a lot of physical. Thankfully, I’m not somebody that on a day to day basis deals with my own fear of being injured, but I had legitimate fear. I saw things that that were very violent, right in front of me. And so I’ve been dealing a lot with that. And you know, I’m a good example of I’m not a practicing realtor myself, but boy, it would have been nice. If if I had a realtor, I would be my own realtor, but if I had one, it would have been nice for them to reach out and say I know you’re right down there in the middle of it, how are you doing? That would have that would have meant a lot to me. And And again, that’s, that’s not the purpose of any of the protests. And it’s not about me. But just as thinking about it from how do I deepen my connections with my clients or my contacts, what a great opportunity just to check in with people and very delicately but but with empathy and compassion and see how everyone’s doing. I don’t I didn’t get a lot of I didn’t get I mean, my friends and family asked, but that was, that was it. And that was enough. But it would have been nice to have some of the other professionals in my life reach out to see how I’m doing and they didn’t, and that’s okay. But what a great opportunity for someone just to feel a little less alone to be able to vent some frustration or, you know, talk about how they’re feeling. And

Chris Linsell 15:45
so, yeah, you know, that’s a really good point. And actually, I, I think I’m going to challenge you a little bit here. Because you you said, you said just a second ago that this wasn’t, you know, the this wasn’t necessarily I don’t remember the exact phrase that you use, but you said something along the lines of this wasn’t exactly what these protests or riots were about real estate itself. But I’m gonna, I’m gonna push back a little bit and say that there is a related element here that all real estate professionals need to think about. And it is just a further way, and a further reason why we should be connecting with our clients right now. And here’s, here’s what I mean. They’re the racial injustice, and police brutality and other, you know, explicit issues that Black Lives Matter is confronting right now. These are very specific and in your face issues. But it’s important to remember that these issues don’t, they didn’t emerge out of a vacuum, they came as they came to the maturity that they currently live in, excuse me, as a result of a dozen or more contributing factors that have created this environment for them to fester and grow in. And one of those contributing factors, I’m ashamed to say, is housing discrimination. She says it is something that we don’t like to think about as as being a part of our industry. But according to the National Fair Housing Alliance, they did a report last year, that in 2018, there were more fair housing complaints than there were, since they started tracking this data, we’re going going in the wrong direction on this. And more than one out of every five complaints comes from some a person of color, complaining that they are not being provided this equal opportunity to properties, services or financing as a result of their race. And this is a time that we as real estate professionals can connect with our clients, regardless of who they are, especially our clients of color and say, Listen, I am an advocate and an ally for you. Now is a time where we have we have an open dialogue right now, amongst all people. And when I say open dialogue, I don’t just mean everybody talks. I mean, some people are going to be listening as a part of this dialogue, we can be that person to reach out to our clients and say, Listen, I’m an ally for you in this, I believe in your inalienable right, to equal access to these things. How can I better serve you right now? And that, you know, that can be a very powerful statement for real estate professionals right now.

D.J. Paris 18:54
I couldn’t, couldn’t agree more. And this is this is a time where, you know, unfortunately, you know, these issues were, were largely Well, they’ve been ignored for hundreds, I mean, really hundreds of years. And there has been system systemic oppression, you know, here in this country for people of color and, and it’s, it’s come to a head you know, like you said, a confluence of a lot of factors. And now and also I remember when I first started in real estate, I’m really in marketing here in real estate and I remember one of our Realtors came to us and said this is 10 years ago and said I have a landlord who I represent I do his or her I think it was a him leasing for his units. And he will not rent to people of a certain ethnicity. I don’t remember if it was black or I think it was but whatever it was, he was discriminating based on race or some factor. And the agent said, I don’t know what to do. And you know, we had to educate the realtor on you know you have To say goodbye to that client, which they already sort of knew they, but they wanted to make sure they were protected, in case because you know, but it’s absolutely a present thing. And whether it’s discussed much or not, I think real estate agents, probably, once you’ve been in the business long enough, you’ll come across a scenario where you just won’t believe it. And you’ll go, oh, my gosh, this is a thing.

Chris Linsell 20:22
Yeah. Well, and you know, I, I know, this is gonna sound kind of crazy to say, but I wish, truthfully, I wish that every instance of housing discrimination was that overt? Because it would be so much easier. You know it. I don’t know, if you’re, I don’t know, if you’re a dog person.

D.J. Paris 20:43
I have one underneath my desk right now. Perfect. Okay, so a little six pound Chihuahua, who’s 12 years old and getting old?

Chris Linsell 20:49
Gotcha. Okay, so living in Chicago, this might not apply necessarily to you, but I don’t think you’ve run across a lot of porcupines in Chicago. Many, okay, so it is a lot easier to identify the problem. If you’ve got a dog that gets stuck with a porcupine quills, you can see those quills, and you can pluck those out. If you’ve got a dog that gets sprayed by a skunk, you don’t know where that smell is, you know that the dog stinks. But you you don’t know exactly where to wash this dog. And that that is honestly, maybe that’s a silly way to to draw this analogy. But when it comes to discrimination, housing discrimination, the overt housing discrimination of the porcupine quills, that we can see and pluck out, those are upsetting and challenging. But they’re things that we can cut out and and move on from. It’s the it’s the skunk smell that is the the subtle sorts of neighborhood steering, or red or red lining, or blockbusting, that occurs at a relatively under the surface level, that make this such a pernicious problem in our industry. And and here’s a good example of what I mean by this. Let’s say you’ve got a bad actor in the real estate space, who is steering people of color into a particular neighborhood. And though it is relatively subtle, this person will choose to show properties in the neighborhood in particular neighborhoods, and not offer properties and other neighborhoods, which eventually starts to concentrate people of color into particular neighborhoods. Shed, that alone is a problem right there. But if you then take that problem, and you account for the fact that these people are also victims of systemic disadvantage, like less access to education, or pay inequity, or less, less access to socio economic support, all of a sudden, you have a concentrated pocket of, of people who are dealing with really significant issues. And it is shown time and time again, when you have those concentrated pockets of challenge in people’s life. It gives rise to poverty, to joblessness, to crime, to mental health issues, to a lack of social mobility. I mean, and all of that is contributed directly to a real estate agent who is saying, I don’t want people who look like that living in this neighborhood. And that’s something we have a direct impact on as professionals and we need to be more active on combating. Yeah, that’s

D.J. Paris 23:45
a really strong point. It’s, it’s goes, it’s oftentimes, like you said, it’s the skunk smell, it’s an invisible thing. It’s subtle. It’s not as obvious to easily point out, as you were saying, you know, with the porcupine, when it’s an obvious landlord saying, I don’t work, I won’t rent to black people, there’s a pretty obvious thing to do there. And there’s a way to spread the word and there’s a way to file complaints. And we know what to do. Well, we might not necessarily know what to do, but we know how to get resources to find what to do. But the more subtle stuff that an agent may be doing, because they might think well my client is a certain type of person, they’re going to want to live with other types of people just like them in you know, in wealth or or in race or you know, sexuality or whatever. It really does become a thing where we in Chicago is certainly no exception where we have pockets, you know, where are they are very homogenous. And, you know, whatever, you know, category you fit into, you can find a pocket of that here and you can easily you know, find a property there are fine have an agent that will put you into that area. And you’re right, it sort of just gets more and more. You know, homogeny, I guess or Yeah, yeah.

Chris Linsell 25:10
So, so what, you know, one thing that I always tried to do on the clothes and by the way, actually, I want to mention the clothes has made a commitment to not only to feature more agents of color in, in agent feature articles, as well as work to provide by lines, to black real estate agents and writers on our site, we’ve also committed to writing more content about housing discrimination, in order to create a larger awareness around this particular issue and how it contributes to the issues at hand. And I think that is right there that that last point is something that I think all agents can do right now. And is this the first step in figuring out the solution to one problem, and I’m not saying the problem, I just mean, little problems, the first step is, is educating yourself and talking about it, and more than talking about it, listening about it, listening to people who are experiencing it, listening to people who have experienced it in the past and understand what you as a professional can do. You know, there is no way this is, like I said, this is a multispoke problem. And there is no way that one agent, or one website or one podcast, or even an entire industry of agents is going to solve one problem on their own, it’s going to require a you know, like a cacophony of voices, that all are contributing towards towards the solution together, but we won’t be contributing unless we’re actually speaking up. So I’m really challenging listeners right now. And my followers on social media and and readers of the clothes, do not be inactive right now. activity can be can just mean listening, it can mean educating yourself, it can mean talking to your local MLS, or your local professional organization and saying, Tell me about how this happens in our communities, and tell me what needs to change in order for it to be better. That is a good first step in understanding your role in helping this to be fixed. But it’s not gonna we’re not going to start moving in the other direction. Until we’re all starting to think about it.

D.J. Paris 27:38
Yeah, I remember about 15 years ago, I was watching 60 minutes piece where a I believe a Harvard researcher had developed a rapid fire test where this is, again 15 years ago, or so where you could, this this algorithm, this computer program, would ask you rapid fire questions about how you feel about various people. And it would identify, even if unconsciously, you didn’t want to be seen as somebody that had bias because of course, most of us don’t want to think of ourselves as somebody that has any sort of bias. And this this probe, this computer program was has some statistical significance to be able to even discount your your wanting to be seen as as a good person to yourself. And so it was a class and I said, All I gotta take that, because I do not have any biases, this is perfect. I am going to prove that this computer program does not work, or at least I’m an approve that I am a perfect human, without any any unfair prejudices or thoughts about about any type of quality of anybody. So I took this test, and I thought, well, I clearly aced that one. Because I remember my answers to the questions and it came back and it and it said, Actually, you tend to think a little less of women and their abilities than you do of men. And I went, and I went, Well, wait a minute, and I thought I went, Oh, maybe that maybe that’s true. And this is 15 years ago, and I truthfully didn’t know that about myself. I wasn’t that aware. And so and I’m not saying like all of us are horrible people because, you know, I do believe that I’ve not treated women differently than I would treat men. But but even identifying your own unconscious biases are really, really important. I think now, especially what’s happening right now, it’s a good time to examine, you know, hey, where do where do I maybe not show up in a completely fair and equitable way. You know, where do I have these little nudges that that, you know, have me treating people maybe slightly differently or, or maybe my clients I think of them is different based on certain factors. This is a great opportunity for us to identify our own issues.

Chris Linsell 29:52
Absolutely. Yeah, there’s you’ll have to forgive me because I don’t remember the exact A university that coined this phrase, but there is just like you’re saying here, there’s a term for this overt discrimination that people call door slamming, discrimination. You know, it’s like somebody walks up to your door, who’s somebody who you don’t, you don’t like slam the door in their face that’s easy to identify it’s a porcupine quill is those those more subtle, unconscious biases that create this culture and this climate where we can be contributors without really understanding that we’re contributing? And I think that sort of self awareness is really important. So it was there anything that you did? If you don’t mind me asking, is there anything that you that you feel like you did to help correct that?

D.J. Paris 30:46
You know? Well, I, what I what I wanted, I first had to wrestle with this, is this true? Is the and and look, the the data was pretty clear that it seems it seems to be true, you know, and it was very, it was subtle, but it was still there. And I said, Okay, so let’s just assume that I’m wrong in my conscious mind, who doesn’t want me to be seen as imperfect? Maybe there’s a chink in the armor here. And maybe there’s, you know, I’m not, I do have some some unconscious biases. And so as I started to reflect the awareness alone, was was enough to get me to sort of just think through my decisions and my behavior towards other people in particular, because my biases were around other people. And I started thinking, Okay, I started just reflecting in my interactions with people, and I started just being aware that, okay, I have a, an unconscious bias to want to do this, I’m not even aware of it. So I’m going to try to bring it to the surface, so that if it’s unconscious, there’s not a whole lot I can do about that. If it’s conscious, I can at least I have a shot of doing the right thing. And so I believe that helped me I haven’t taken the test. And maybe those biases necessarily don’t always go away. But just being aware enough about them might get you to be able to make a different decision, when when confronted with where that unconscious bias might show up. Now it becomes conscious. And you might have the ability to just choose differently. And so as far as for me, personally, I’d like to think I have made progress. But it’s so subtle, and I don’t have any overt examples of Well, I used to be a real, you know, not nice person, and I would do not nice things. And now I’m nice, it’s not that way for me. So it’s more like, you know, every interaction I have, I just think if the person is slightly different for me, okay, am I showing up in a way that is authentic? Am I acknowledging their wholeness as a human? You know, and what’s the right way to proceed here? And so yeah, yes, that’s my answer. I don’t know. Well, that’s,

Chris Linsell 32:51
that’s very thoughtful. And honestly, I think that that is the case for most, for most people. And I’m gonna, you know, I can’t speak for everybody, I certainly won’t, wouldn’t speak for every real estate professional. But for anyone who’s listening to this, I think, I think we can all identify, at least with the feeling of boy, what’s the best way to say this, I apologize if I’m going across a political correctness line here. But please understand that this is, I’m just trying to communicate an idea here, we all have a certain there’s a particular client, if we all picture our closer eyes, and picture, the perfect client archetype. Whether it is somebody who is financially secure, whether it is somebody who it has a timeline that lines up with our lead generation plan of attack, we all have the perfect client in mind. And I think it is natural, based on our own experiences, to assign other characteristics to that person, as a as a part of that process. And that in itself, can create some unconscious and unintentional bias. I know it has done that way. For me in the past. I’ll give you an example. I’ll just, I’m gonna call hold myself accountable here for me, in my local market, we are a very racially and diverse area, overwhelmingly Caucasian, in my area of Michigan. And so it’s not really a matter of discrimination or non discrimination based on color, because we really don’t have much of that opportunity here to do that, even if we wanted to. Or if that was a part of our, our interaction, but here it’s there’s a lot of age discrimination that happens. And she says, you know, there’s a certain that that client archetype that I’m talking about those people who are the most financially secure, who are on my timeline who are cash buyers, these are typically, you know, older people in their like maybe in their 50s. In their 60s, maybe buying their retirement home, I’ll be honest, that they’re in my head, there are successful, at least back in the day they were successful businessman. And with that those terms specifically, sure. And I, you know, I didn’t realize that I was building this archetype until I started thinking about it. And and I realized, like, if this if this is who I’m picturing, how could I not be leaning towards favoring these clients over other clients. And that was a moment of self discovery for me that I said to myself, You know what this is, this is not the way that we offer a fair and balanced market, to anybody who wants a place to live. And it was a moment that I know, I had to kind of come to the carpet, internally and think about, and this is just another opportunity for us as professionals to think about whether or not we are fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility, not just to our clients. But if you look in the code of ethics of the National Association of Realtors, it states in plain English, black and white, that we have a fiduciary responsibility to our communities to be arbiters of truth, and the gatekeepers really for information about the housing market, and that we have to prevent present that in a truthful, and fair and non biased way. And if if that if now is the time that you need to reevaluate whether or not that’s happening, this is a great time to do a little soul searching and figure out if you need to make some coarse adjustments. Now’s the time to do it, because we’ve got an opportunity here to create positive change.

D.J. Paris 36:44
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more, I think one of the most effective ways, at least for me, personally, so for for many, many years ago, this is a different type of of issue that I was having, personally, where I realized, in my life, I didn’t have a tremendous amount of empathy. This is this goes back many, many, many years. And I realized for people that were suffering, and in any capacity, whether they were a homeless person, I passed on the street, to any type of person undergoing some sort of terrible, you know, societal issue or economic issue or, you know, racial issue, whatever, I just, I didn’t, I never, I didn’t feel a lot for those people, I didn’t think negatively of them. I just didn’t feel for them as much as I wanted to. And I realized I was I would walk by here in Chicago, we have, you know, a large homeless population, I would walk by homeless people, and I wasn’t the kind of person that would say, well, they should get a job because I was, I knew that, that that’s not something someone chooses to be, there’s a lot of mental health issues. But even if they do choose to be that, that doesn’t mean I should have any sort of negative opinion of somebody who’s down on their luck and, and struggling. And in fact, the right response in my for me was to, Boy, I wish I was somebody that could garner more empathy, and compassion. And so what I did, because I truthfully had to confront an unflattering truth about myself, which was, I really didn’t feel much for those people. And I felt embarrassed about that, I was ashamed of that. And so I started to do some volunteer work, because I thought, well, you know, maybe if I spent time understanding how tough it is to be homeless, then that, that that would just at least give me more understanding, and probably more empathy. And I that is exactly why I did it. And also, I felt it was just a nice thing to do was to give back and volunteer, but I thought, boy, this will at least get me to not ignore this issue anymore. And, and I did that for some time, and I’ve moved on to be participants and other other types of organizations that I support, but it was really helpful for me. So I think for everyone listening, you know, if you are someone who feels like you’ve identified a challenge in yourself that you’d like to improve around, you know, discrimination, bias prejudice, you know, whether it’s in your business or personal life, you know, getting involved and, and getting more intimate with those people who are suffering, will will will almost certainly make you feel more empathy, and you will probably take further action to to assist them. So I think, you know, if nothing else, what this has done to all of us, or at least for me, personally, who doesn’t have to deal with a lot of these issues, you know, I am a white male, I have a lot of privilege just assigned to me at birth and I am, you know, beyond grateful to to have that, but is it fair? It is not. And so, you know, I now have this opportunity to really evaluate, continue to evaluate myself and say, Okay, well, where can I provide more value? Where can I give back? How can I help? What can I go out and do and where can I devote time and energy and maybe even money to helping those people so it’s a really great opportunity just to get involved. And I don’t want to say great opportunity. is a very unfortunate opportunity. But it is something that that we can, you know, think about ourselves and go, What am I doing enough? am I actually doing something to help these issues? In my professional life as a realtor in my personal life as as a just a human being, as a citizen? What am I doing to make things better and now is boy, they’re there, all you have to do is look on social media, and you will see a tremendous amount of resources posted to to how to address some of these least on the racial issue side, some of those issues and ways you can get involved.

Chris Linsell 40:35
Yeah, absolutely. And I’d really encourage real estate agents, in addition to the to the sorts of resources that DJ just mentioned, if you are thinking about how you can play a successful, positive role in advancing issues like housing discrimination, which is a direct contributor, towards the sorts of racial injustice that Black Lives Matter is dealing with now front and center, one of the first things that you can do to have an immediate positive impact is to start talking to the people on your street, in your neighborhood, in your professional association. You know, we all know real estate is a hyper local business. And it’s fun to look at the big statistics for the country, or for the state or even for the for the city at large. But we all know that the most important statistics and real estate are the ones that matter to an individual block or to a neighborhood. Because ultimately, if you’re putting together a CMA for a house, even though it’s nice to know what a house of similar square footage sold for in the next county over, that doesn’t matter nearly as much as what house have the similar square footage sold for next door. And it’s the same thing with these sorts of issues. The the solutions start on a micro level, and they start with individuals in their own local markets. So go talk to other realtors in your office, talk to them in your professional association, talk to your clients and start these conversations. Because if everybody started these conversations in their micro markets, that sort of that sort of momentum would build to a macro effect, that would be pretty positive. Yeah,

D.J. Paris 42:22
I think if we all just focus on one thing we can do, like Chris was saying, a micro change or, you know, ultimately, collectively, if we can, you know, I was I was seeing all of the black boxes that were posted on Instagram, by by mostly non people not of color. I’m sure there were lots of people of color posting, but I was noticing in particular, all of the people who are white, posting these black box images, and I and I just hoped I said, I really hope that when we move on as a country to our next, you know, big news issue, which sadly, if we don’t continually talk about this, this will this will, you know, get pushed under the rug like it has for so many years. But if if we were to, you know, to take action, if you know, and go out and do something in some capacity, that that was, you know, helping to make things better. I really hope everyone who posted those doesn’t forget about it in two weeks and continues to, you know, move, you know, progress, that movement, and whether it’s just in yourself, and to be a better citizen, or more about your local community, or the national community or the global community, how can we make things better, I just hope everyone who’s posting right now so feverishly on social media also is out there, you know, thinking about other ways to get involved, because every one of those organizations needs needs people, they need workers. And so get involved. And whether it’s just your local community or your chamber of commerce, or go around talking to business owners about, you know, how you can support them from a real estate perspective, or your clients. It’s all just huge things. They seem small, but they’re actually quite big. Yeah,

Chris Linsell 44:09
totally agree. Totally agree. And I’m hoping that the next time we talk, we can talk about the positive effects of those sorts of those sorts of efforts.

D.J. Paris 44:18
Yeah, and and yeah, I’m hopeful for that as well. And and, you know, we now are at a crossroads as a country where hopefully there will be a lot of people who will no longer stand for the unfortunate injustice. That has been so yeah. And so and I applaud you and the clothes for thinking about how having more black voices to be heard or read or seen, and I you know, it’s funny, I had never thought about that either. For my show is I was you were talking about that I go I wonder how many people of color I’ve actually interviewed for the show because I just doesn’t I never think about it. I just look at whoever’s the top producer and we asked them and they were they asked us and it’s really just that simple. I’ve never thought about whether or somebody’s a man or a woman or what, what their any other qualities are? And it’s like, do I have enough black voices speaking out on my show? And the answer is no, you don’t so so it’s a challenge for me to find those top producers, who have maybe not had as an equal opportunity to have a voice. Yeah, and you guys are doing the same thing. I think that’s amazing. Well, that’s,

Chris Linsell 45:19
you know, that’s ultimately what we’re what we’re shooting for. And a good example of this, and this is one that again, I’m holding myself accountable to, you know, more than 60% of the real estate, sales agent population in the United States are female. And an overwhelming number of thought leaders, and pundits and people like me, who talk about this stuff all the time. Our white dudes, I mean, I’ve shared this, it’s just his it is the reality of things. And I’m not suggesting that myself or other white men in these positions aren’t qualified to talk about it. But it does lead us to a question of, you know, if we are not representing the population of professionals here, who’s whose voices and whose perspectives could we be reaching out for in order to get a clearer picture of the sorts of things that matter to real estate professionals?

D.J. Paris 46:22
Wow, well, I think that is a perfect final sort of fair statement or challenge to our audience. And in some ways this, this might be my Well, certainly an unfortunate type of conversation to have, but maybe the most important conversation I’ve ever had on the show. So I appreciate that, Chris, you up well, and I mean, we, we focus on helping people build their business. And you and I mostly talk about that, and we know how to do that. And it’s I think we’re effective there. But we stretched ourselves today to talk about some uncomfortable truths. And yeah, I hope our listeners appreciate it, I’m sure they will, and or have. But I want to remind everyone out there to please. You know, if if you’re interested in what Chris had to say, and you should be because he’s got a lot of, I think, amazing thoughts around all sorts of ideas and topics around real estate, please visit the clothes.com and read from from their wonderful editors who write, they published just a handful of articles a week, and they’re always really long form articles, they’re good articles. It’s the best, the best website I’ve seen for real estate agents really looking to improve. So I couldn’t be a bigger fan. So if everyone you know, goes to the clothes.com and checks out, you know, their most recent articles, subscribe to their newsletter, your businesses is going to improve because they are thought leaders, but they’re also thought provocateur is and they’re able to bring you you know, different ideas and strategies that that maybe you hadn’t thought of before that you needed reminding of and you already knew. So go to the closed.com. Chris, it was a pleasure on behalf of the audience for for having you on as as per usual, you’re a fantastic guest. We’re thrilled to have you and on behalf of Chris and myself to the audience, we say thank you. We hope everyone is safe and healthy. And also social distancing. Still, I nobody in Chicago is wearing a mask anymore. So I’m a little worried about that. But hope everyone’s safe and healthy and doing their best to to make this their little corner of the world a little better. So, Chris, thanks again, and we’ll see you next month.

Chris Linsell 48:32
Sounds good. Thanks for having me today.

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