By Alice Walker, president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors
Alice Walker, in gray dress, poses for a photo with volunteers and partner family members before a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Nashville.
This past June, the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors sponsored our 15th annual Habitat home. It’s a joy to know another family is realizing the comforts and benefits of homeownership.
Homeownership is one of my passions; one I come by easily. My day job as a Realtor allows me to assist clients in finding homes that fit their needs. I’m thrilled when my clients get the keys to their new home, especially first-time buyers. Still, that feeling doesn’t compare to my volunteer experience with Habitat for Humanity, being part of a crew helping a family complete a home that they build with their own hands.
That’s why I love to share what I’ve learned about Habitat with others I meet in Nashville. Even some people who have heard of Habitat are unsure about who pays for the homes and how the program works.
Habitat’s partner families work on their own homes, and their neighbors’ homes, a process called “sweat equity.” Homeowners have affordable mortgages, too, making payments to buy their homes just like everyone else. Here in Nashville, each family has experienced the HomeWorks training program together, preparing them for all that it takes to be homeowners.
Knowing all that makes going to a Habitat home dedication even more meaningful. All these families are now part of a community, and they can take pride in knowing they are on equal footing with everyone around them.
I’ve heard fellow Realtors talk about how emotional it is to participate in a house dedication ceremony. Today, I would have to completely agree. The whole process of getting to know Habitat’s partner families is a humbling reminder of just how much homeownership means to those who have never known it before.
And like I say to everyone else who I tell about Habitat: If you have never worked on a Habitat home before, get in touch with your local Habitat affiliate  and volunteer. You won’t regret being part of the positive impact Habitat’s work has in local communities. I’ve seen it first-hand here in my own.