Program offers scholarships to help minorities, women break into real estate

"Seventy-five percent are white men, and 2% are Black men in leadership positions in real estate," said Maria Quattrone.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Like many real estate agents right now, Maria Quattrone, owner of RE/MAX @ HOME Maria Quattrone and Associates, is enjoying a robust real estate market.

"Homes now are selling, 75% of them, within five days of being on the market," she said.

Having sold real estate for 18 years, Quattrone says she's made millions of dollars in sales, but she's ready to share the wealth.

"We wanted to launch a program where we can help others," said Quattrone of the PA Real Estate Scholarship Program, which she created to give women and minorities an opportunity to obtain their real estate licenses with all expenses covered.

"Really, the opportunity itself I feel was God-given," said Damiana Cubilette from Northeast Philadelphia.

Cubilette says she had a desire to break into the real estate market but didn't have the time to take away from her job in customer service.

Then she saw information on the scholarship.

The program covers the $500 cost of classes that participants take in order to take the test for their real estate license.

But Quattrone estimates the value to be thousands of dollars more because of the private coaching and other resources that scholarship recipients receive.

"A lot of people don't even know how to start. They don't know what it's like," she said.

The eight-week scholarship program includes instruction, coaching, taking the real estate license exam, and sales training.

Quattrone created it all specifically for women and minorities.

"We want to take them out of generational poverty and help them build generational wealth," she said.

Cubilette. added, "She's helping us to mold and change our state of mind into one of a successful person."

As much as this is about an opportunity at one real estate agency, it's also about changing the face of the real estate market.

"Seventy-five percent are white men, and only 2% are Black men in leadership positions in real estate," said Quattrone.

The 6ABC Data Journalism Team found much of the same when it comes to Philadelphia, specifically.

Seventy-four percent of real estate brokers in the city are white.

The number is more than double that group's share of the population.

Low diversity among appraisers nationwide has also raised questions about fair treatment in the housing market. Diversity is one way to change that.

"If we have all different people from all walks of life, we have diversity of thought," said Quattrone.

Quattrone has already taken on 25 students and is looking for 75 more.

The course has the potential to lead to a job in Quattone's RE/MAX office.

She anticipates that many who successfully complete the program will be able to sell a home within 30 days.

Alexys Clement of Northeast Philadelphia is one of the participants who has already passed the test to get her real estate license.

"It's going to change my family's life when I am able to be successful," she said.

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