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When my wife and I realized we needed more space for our growing family and decided to sell our first home, we invited a friend who is a realtor over to help us. Before she got to our house, I organized things and essentially staged our home before I knew what staging was. When she arrived, I walked her through the home, pointed out its features and explained why we loved the home. She stopped me and asked why I didn’t have my real estate license. “You just sold me your house. You’d be great at this,” she said.

Now three years into my real estate career, it turns out she was right. I’ve been able to help 34 families find their perfect home, all while helping my mentor and long-time friend, Roy Machado, expand All City Homes into Texas. It was really after his encouragement that I made the leap into real estate, and it has been incredibly rewarding to work alongside him to bring opportunity, education and resources to communities that are traditionally overlooked by real estate professionals.

At our office inside The Impact Guild, a co-working space, we are centrally located and surrounded by other inspiring small business owners and artists. Our goal is to help families create a legacy of generational wealth through homeownership. This applies to our clients as much as it does to the agents that work with us. There is a wealth, knowledge and access gap when it comes to buying a home; we’re here to do our part to eliminate that gap.

Chris Winstead, a realtor with All City Homes, makes custom information booklets for each property.
Chris Winstead, a realtor with All City Homes, makes custom information booklets for each property. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

Just 11% of realtors in the United States are Hispanic and only 5% are Black. When someone is looking to buy a home and most of the experts don’t look like or sound like them, that shows there’s a disconnect between the community and the real estate industry. At All City Homes, it’s our goal to reflect the community we serve and help empower homebuyers in what can be an intimidating process. 

We think of a family’s history with homeownership. If you grow up with your grandparents owning their home and that home appreciating in value over the years, then that home being passed down to the next generation, it’s a game-changer for your family. That home can be rented out to provide passive income, or you can take out the equity to start a business. You can also use that equity as a down payment on an additional home and buy that home in an area with better-performing schools. This could get your children a better education and into a better college.

So when we look back at the history of redlining and the damage that it’s done in San Antonio, we’re motivated to get this information out to the community. We think of our work as not only helping our clients accomplish the huge milestone of homeownership but also as changing the trajectory of families from generation to generation. As more families build generational wealth, communities are transformed.

My workday is all about connecting with people. The goal is to find people I can help in their homeownership journey. If I’m not making a connection with someone, I’m nurturing a connection with a client. Because of the often negative perception of the real estate industry, this can sometimes be a challenge. Real estate can be very transactional and impersonal, leaving homebuyers wondering if their realtor has their best interests in mind or is simply chasing a quick commission.

I’m grateful to work with other agents who have similar community-minded goals. At All City Homes, we look at ourselves as homeownership advocates for our clients and strive to connect on a personal level to understand what the client is looking for in a home. 

From left to right: Malik Harris, John Boonphitak, Chris Winstead discuss a property they are preparing to show to a client.
From left to right: Malik Harris, John Boonphitak, Chris Winstead discuss a property they are preparing to show to a client. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

Mornings are dedicated to administrative work to ensure things run smoothly every step of the way. In a real estate transaction, there are a lot of moving pieces and things can easily go wrong. My job is to keep track of all the moving pieces in order to protect my client and their best interests. That includes helping them secure the best interest rate on their mortgage, ensuring that they’re not overpaying for a home and negotiating the best terms that get them the home they want.

Later in the day, I’m on the go from phone calls to appointments, showing homes and writing offers for clients. Working closely with loan officers, contractors, inspectors and the agent on the other side of the table is key to getting my client their dream home, or dream price if they’re selling a home. 

My previous work running Onsite Youth Training, a mobile dance and fitness studio, really prepared me for this part of real estate. I would negotiate contracts with school districts and nonprofit organizations, train instructors and schedule them to teach the classes. Our goal was to make hip-hop and fitness classes more accessible to the kids who really need them, and I carry that mission of accessibility with me in my current work.

The most rewarding part of my job is when I can help a client get more room for their growing family. When we’re out looking at homes and the kids are running around picking out their rooms, that brings me so much joy. Being able to be with our clients for these moments and experience their excitement is my motivation to keep doing this work.