A Different Approach to Real Estate

In 2017, Tenika Chavis signed up for what she expected to be just another real estate training. With few expectations, she thought she might make a connection and, once again, talk about the basics of real estate investing. 

She recalls going to these series of sessions, thinking, “I shouldn’t take up space in something like this that’s meant for the community.” She felt her real estate knowledge was already “adequate,” not realizing the impact this series would have on her and her community.

Before taking Omicelo Cares’ Real Estate Co-powerment Series, cocreated by Neighborhood Allies, Chavis worked in property and project management and as an advisor for other real estate investors. Prior to her education with Omicelo Cares, Chavis, like most real estate professionals, was taught to buy cheap, negotiate low, and do as few repairs as possible to create the largest market value and purchase price gap possible. 

But during this series, she learned that this form of real estate investment was affecting her neighborhood’s demographics and causing displacement in her community. 

“It opened my eyes,” Chavis expressed. “I was part of the problem and that bothered me, learning that the median income in the area is $45,000 and hasn’t changed in almost 25 years but the prices of real estate have accelerated.” 

This knowledge propelled Chavis into her journey of learning how to be part of the solution. 

Improving Neighborhoods by Finding Real Estate Solutions 

Chavis left the Real Estate Co-powerment Series fully prepared to change how real estate was affecting her community. She became a real estate investor and changed her approach to real estate, ensuring a win-win situation for both the investor and buyer. 

“It changed the way that I approach real estate now because I will actually try to work with the family to give them what they need,” Chavis said. “Some families need monthly payments, some of them need a lump sum, some just want to get rid of the property because it’s a problem. I spend more time getting to know the family and what they need.”

She approaches the situation aware of the profit she needs to make, the median income in the area, and varying places she can take money from for rehab and repair. 

“I’ve found different ways to profit rather than just charging market-rate rent and overpricing each property,” Chavis explained. 

Expanding Her Real Estate Impact 

Five years later, Chavis has her own real estate business and construction company:

“My business in real estate improves my community because I can empathize with the end user,” Chavis said. “I have a different perspective than a corporate investor or an investor from another part of town. I feel that I can relate better to the circumstances on the ground in the area which make me a better owner and a better resource to the community.”

Before the series, she owned one property; since then, she has owned seven at one time. She also works with other private investors and asset-based lenders.

Additionally, she has become a trainer with Omicelo Cares for the Real Estate Co-powerment Series and, through this, has had the opportunity to share her real estate journey and help others build beneficial connections. She also speaks at other events about being a woman in construction and real estate.

“[The program] has made me more confident as a real estate professional because I have access to other services and professionals that I didn’t even know existed before,” Chavis said.

Real Estate Co-powerment Series

This program is a 7-week series that demystifies the real estate development process, demonstrating how community members can get involved in real estate. 

“It provides a good baseline of knowledge for putting things together,” Chavis said. “You get a great start to getting into real estate and a lot of connections.”

This program is excellent for:

  • Community-based organization staff
  • Property owners
  • Small business owners
  • Active community members 
  • Those interested in learning the real estate investment process

Learn more about our Real Estate Co-powerment Series and begin your journey of strengthening your community through real estate education.