Real Estate Unleashed the Leadership of Jack Barry
Jack Barry is one of the most politically astute members of the real estate community with a variety of prominent roles within the National Association of Realtors®, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® and his local Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors®.
He is also a longtime member of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and is the 2019 Chair of the NAGLREP Policy Committee. April 10-11 he’ll emcee the third annual LGBT Housing Policy Summit at HRC in Washington D.C.
“I really believe the Equality Act and the continued challenges aging LGBTs face in housing will be the major issues that will dominate the Policy Summit this year,” Barry said. “While both H.R. 1447 and the original Equality Act sunset with the arrival of the new Congress, the strong belief is that the Equality Act will be revived and become the singular and inclusive bill to protect LGBTs from all discrimination including housing.”
Barry pointed out that the Equality Act did not previously generate support from the real estate industry for good reason. Most, led by NAR and Realogy, focused on the original H.R. 1447 bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to the the Fair Housing Act. With that gone, the Equality Act takes center stage.
“We have to truly understand that the Equality Act is a housing bill,” Barry said. “While housing is just one component of the civil rights bill, all of us in real estate must recognize how discrimination of any kind negatively impacts LGBTs ability to enter home ownership,” Barry said. “So many of us experienced challenges in school, family and jobs that impacted our ability to gain confidence, get into the best schools, get good jobs and promotions and position ourselves for financial stability. It’s often more difficult for us to get ahead which is likely a huge reason why LGBT home ownership rates are so low.”
Freddie Mac recently shared that LGBT home ownership levels are at 49% compared to 64% for the entire U.S. population. Discrimination is also playing a huge role. While the Freddie Mac survey found that 13% of recent LGBT home buyers actually experienced discrimination, a whopping 46% of potential buyers feared it during the home buying process.
“I know we will talk about the recent Missouri case where a U.S. District judge ruled in favor of a retirement community having the right to forbid a married lesbian couple from moving in,” Barry said. “The judge did so largely because Missouri has absolutely no protections for LGBTs from housing discrimination. It is time for all of this awful behavior to come to an end.
“It is also so disheartening to read and hear about aging LGBTs not having enough money for retirement and others essentially having to go back ‘into the closet’ as they enter new housing communities,” Barry continued. “While society has definitely made progress, the older generations may not be as inclusive or welcoming.”
While Barry takes after his Mom and Dad, who were both active politically, he didn’t discover his passion for issues until later in life.
He spent the first 25 years of his career in the restaurant/hospitality industry and started to buy buildings after becoming successful.
“After those 25 years, I had made the decision to go to law school until I realized I was doing more transactions than most realtors, so I decided to give this a go. However, I entered the industry at the worst possible time in 2007, a year before the collapse.”
With little options, Barry, who has been with Keller Williams Philadelphia for his entire real estate career, moved into the short sales business and did 70 transactions in his second year in real estate. When that pool eventually dried up, his Jack Barry Team – which consists of gay agent E.J. Becker and ally Josh Pagan, re-invented themselves and now thrives in traditional real estate sales.
“Jack is a dedicated real estate professional and industry leader,” said Kathleen Machin, Director of Industry Relations at KWRI. “He is a champion for diversity and committed to helping all buyers and sellers make their dreams a reality. We’re grateful to Jack for his commitment to bettering the industry and thrilled that he’s been selected to serve as this year’s 2019 NAGLREP Policy Chair.”
“One of my friends knew that my parents were connected politically and that I had grown up in that world,” Barry said. “He wanted me to join GPAR and I had absolutely no interest at the time. But I was OK in being an ‘under the radar’ advocate and I enjoyed talking about real estate issues with those elected officials I would see. Eventually I did formally get involved.”
Today, Barry is a NAR Director and was the 2018 Chair of the PAR Diversity Committee along with being a RPAC Trustee.
“I really love what I do with the associations, but NAGLREP is most important,” Barry said. “It is a great group of people and the pace of our growth has been astounding. The Policy Summit has grown too and I can’t wait to lead the group through a variety of topics and then board the bus for the short ride to Capitol Hill. That visit with our Congressional leaders is so important.”
For more information and to register for NAGLREP’S LGBT Policy Summit, please click here.