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The racial wealth gap in America continues to put homeownership out of reach for many African Americans. Realtors like agent Sunny Jones understand how intimidating the process can be. She helps guide prospective first-time homebuyers through the process.
She has over 15 years of experience as a licensed realtor helping individuals and families purchase homes.
Born and raised in Los Angeles and a graduate of Crenshaw High School, Jones is a married mother of four currently living in South L.A. As she witnesses the community rapidly changing, she wants to ensure Black Los Angelenos stay locally rooted through homeownership.
“We have to make sure we put ourselves in position, so we are able to move with the flow of what is happening around us,” Jones told theGrio.
Los Angeles is currently experiencing hyper-gentrification in traditionally Black communities like Leimert Park and Baldwin Hills. For Jones, it is important that Black residents benefit and participate in that growth.
“We have some really beautiful homes in our community. People want to be here because we are centrally located,” Jones said. “Mass transportation is going to bring more people into the community, along with more businesses and people want to be near that.”
Jones encourages African Americans interested in purchasing a home to make a plan and have the discipline to stick to it. She also suggests creating a budget based on what you actually spend weekly. If you’re not happy with your list, make some changes. Lowering your monthly expenses can help you save money toward a down payment on your home.
Jones says that you can still enjoy your life, but you have to make some sacrifices and be disciplined in your financial habits.
Credit is also a key element to homeownership, which can be a huge obstacle for many prospective homebuyers. Sometimes, people are too scared to even check their scores. Jones says the process of building credit can be fun, especially as you see your credit score begin to increase.
Jones says despite those barriers, it’s gratifying to help someone finally achieve their dream to own a home.
“This is a stressful job but it’s worth it,” she said. “When I see a client who has stuck through the process and reached their goals, it is the most amazing feeling. I feel honored to be part of their process and I feel hopeful for my community.”
Jones initially wondered if becoming a real estate agent would be stable enough for her as a young mother. Now, she leverages social media to stand out amongst her peers in the world of real estate, which gives her a competitive edge.
When she’s not juggling home or her clients, Jones works alongside her husband Rashidi Jones as a brand strategist for TEC Leimert, a non-profit he co-founded. TEC Leimert is geared towards making sustainable careers accessible to Black tech entrepreneurs in the field of gaming, film, music, and fashion.
In September, TEC Leimert held their fourth annual conference, with several industry heavyweights serving as speakers and panelists–from hip-hop producer Young Guru to actress and director Issa Rae.
Things can get hectic at times, but Jones is grateful to have a partner and in-laws who are super supportive.
“I have a special role as a mom of four Black sons. My biggest hope for them is they are at peace and happy,” Jones shared. “And that they go into the world and add value to whoever they come in contact with.”
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