Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Realtors with a Mission

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Realtors with a Mission

Article excerpt

If you're 20 years old and like most of the rest of the nation, about the last thing on your mind is saving money and worrying about your credit record so you can buy a house.

When you're 35, things change. You've got a kid, or two or three, you've changed jobs a few times and in the course of your "self discovery" through your 20s, wrecked whatever shred of credit you may have left.

But like a lot of people, you may still want to buy a house, but now it's even further out of reach because at 20, well, you were too busy. Hoping to break this vicious cycle that keeps many of Oklahoma City's young people from knowing the pride that comes with home ownership is a real estate company that calls their business not the buying and selling of real estate, but a "ministry." Rollins Realty Co. LLC is co-owned by Jacquelyn Hamilton-Barnett and Vivian Woodward, two self-described "absolutely positive, spirited black women" that "have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps" and now work to assist young people who want to own their own homes. Operating now from a comfortable building on NE 16th Street, the two started their ministry of home ownership in much more austere surroundings -- a card table in the living room of Hamilton- Barnett's house. Their main focus is "quality service" to the northeast quadrant and "the educating of young adults on the importance of acquiring and maintaining good credit," according to Hamilton-Barnett. "We use just about every vehicle we can because for us this is a ministry," says Woodward. "We're teaching them these homes are investments." Woodward adds that it is a tough sell sometimes, trying to entice young people to save and invest, rather than spend on new cars and going out. "But if you don't try you'll never know," Woodward says. "You have to try and all we can do is try." The genesis of Rollins Realty is found in the early 1990s, when Hamilton-Barnett found herself in the unenviable position of caring for a bedridden mother who had started her own real estate company at a time when such things were not as common as now. Hamilton-Barnett, a former 911 operator and "real estate brat," found herself searching for a way to keep money coming in to take care of things at home. …

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