Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg, Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS Partner to Build House
If one word encapsulates the mission of Habitat for Humanity, it would have to be home. The same applies to REALTORS who work alongside their clients to manage every aspect of the home buying process.
That’s the thinking behind a new partnership between Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg and Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS. The two nonprofit organizations have committed to collaboratively fundraise toward purchasing land and building a Habitat house in Williamsburg in 2023.
“REALTORS are all about people finding a home,” said Virginia L. Staley, Director of Events and Development for Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg. “We thought it would be a perfect fit.”
The home, designated as the Williamsburg REALTORS Habitat for Humanity House, will go to a qualifying family who will purchase it through Habitat’s first-time Homebuyer Program. Monthly payments of the no-interest equivalent mortgage will be cycled back into the community so more homes can be built.
Williamsburg Area of REALTORS is a nonprofit trade organization with a mission to be a trusted resource for its members and the communities it serves.
“Our local REALTORS are really excited to partner with Habitat for this project,” said Cindy Homewood, CEO of Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS. “It feels like a good fit for what we do in promoting affordable housing and trying to increase workforce housing in our service area.”
One way the association has begun to fundraise is through its agents. During a closing, agents are encouraged to buy one square foot of the Habitat home and put it in the name of either their buying client or selling client. Participating agents receive a certificate denoting the contribution that they can present to the respective buyer or seller.
“Often REALTORS closing on a house will give a thank you gift to their client,” Homewood said. “We thought it worked well that they could give a certificate to their client saying they have contributed to a Habitat for Humanity home that will go to a family wanting to attain that dream of being a homeowner.”
A friendly competition among member brokerages in the association led to an initial donation of $13,584 with Abbitt Realty leading the way.
Lynn Grimsley, President of the Williamsburg Area Association of REALTORS, presented the check to Habitat CEO Janet V. Green on June 27.
“By the end of the year, we hope to have the amount to build a full house,” Homewood said about the $110,000 fundraising goal.
“This will be a house that we will help build once the family is selected,” Grimsley said. “We will be involved in it from the ground up. REALTORS nail nails and put down flooring and put on siding. We will work with the family and get to meet the family. The Realtors will physically be involved in building this house.” Homewood added, “Habitat is one of these organizations that is always continuing to help our community improve and be a great place to live. This is a great project for our members to connect to.”