She’s bringing empowerment into real estate.
New York-based realtor Jennifer Saavedra founded her agency, The Real Sisters Real Estate, with her sister Renatta seven years ago. A former international journalist and a self-proclaimed feminist — her day-to-day task is not just focused on showing potential buyers and renters properties. She is also navigating her career with a progressive and woman-centric world view.
Several of her main areas of concern in her line of work is assuring that her clients find the best living spaces suitable to their needs, but also maintaining her beliefs of female empowerment.
“I’m a feminist and women’s issues, and a lot of issues are very important to me,” she said.
She says oftentimes realtors shy away from sharing their personal politics and views on global problems, but she ascertains that it can be a detriment because in many cases sociopolitical issues correlate with the real estate industry.
“A lot of brokers don’t publish their political points of views and I disagree with that,” said Saavedra. “You can’t filter out that part of human nature and thought in New York City — so I align with clients who are vocal about this real estate.”
The Real Sisters Real Estate team consists of the sisters, along with three other female real estate agents. Aside from the team being predominantly women — that is also reflected in the clientele.
“When I founded this with my sister it quickly evolved from being a sisterhood thing to female empowerment since a lot of our clients are single moms,” said Saavedra.
And to a significant extent, they serve clients who are interested in becoming first time business or property owners.
Before working in real estate, Saavedra worked as a journalist and traveled the world. But she has not left behind the issues she passionately followed and wrote about. It was during her time as reporter she discovered her drive for humanitarian issues.
“I traveled quite extensively throughout Asia and South America focusing on media rights and it was a nice bridge of talking to people and learning about property ownership,” she said.
The experience was beneficial and proved to be useful for her in analyzing the needs of her clients.
“A lot of that helped me in assessing people’s needs, especially for many first time buyers because there are several avenues to buying property,” said Saavedra.
It was a natural transition for Saavedra. Her family ran a construction business restoring brownstones around the city, which led to her love for the architectural style and entering the real estate.
Mostly serving Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Queens — with her sister operating out of Long Island — the agency’s clients range from people of various social and economic backgrounds. And while they often have luxury listings, Saavedra says she remains realistic in the overall types of residences they register.
“I work in affordable housing, and I do like to improve communities because I’m not a fan of gentrification,” said Saavedra.
Unlike others in her field that have contributed to pushing out residents in favor of new development and gentrification — Saavedra actively works against that and steers clear. She said it was the responsibility of real estate agents to serve their communities in multitudes of ways.
“Displacement is not pleasant for anyone and if you’re someone who’s involved in your community in some way — you should be open to a dialogue that is beneficial for both — the builders and the community,” said Saavedra.
Saavedra said through investment opportunities and education, developers would see more positive reactions in the areas they seek.
“There is a way for people already living in these communities to become investors, but developers aren’t communicating that,” she said. “I’m opposed to gentrification and my primary goal is to improve the quality of life. If developers want a financial return, they have to create that access to the communities they are building in.”