For Ida Petkus, the house is more than four walls and a roof. It should also be a safe place for their owners.
Petkus, REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, has worked to ensure that people can live safely in their homes. However, after more than a decade of working on behalf of victims of domestic violence, she knows this is not always the case.
“I don’t think it comes to people’s mind until it’s presented to them,” says Petkus, recalling his first encounter with domestic violence early in his career while working with a client in 2006.
“I knew it was a divorce scenario, but I had no idea what the divorce story was,” she says, adding that while inspecting the property, one of the sellers spray-painted a threat to another client.
According to Petkus, the incident served as a wake-up call and hastened her path to becoming a supporter of domestic violence and establishing Domestic Violence Advocacy Center (DVA) in 2009.
This non-profit organization helps victims navigate the judicial system, provide guidance and confidentially advise people from different demographic groups.
“It was like wow, real estate is much more than just buying and selling. It’s about people’s lives, and I always think of it as a business relationship that doesn’t end at the final table, ”says Petkus.
Be a resource
While her advocacy has earned acclaim, Petkus says praise serves a more important purpose.
“Hopefully, whenever someone is recognized, it uplifts or inspires someone to volunteer for what matters to them,” she says. “It’s not about recognition. It’s about awareness. “
While she doesn’t focus on specific milestones, Petkus says her long experience in real estate and the connections and relationships she has built in the industry and with clients have helped give her meaning in her real estate and advocacy work. …
“I am at the point where I have original clients referring first-time home buyers to me. I’m working with many home buyers for the first time because it’s from my clients 15 to 20 years ago, so I’m staying with the family, which is good. “
Petkus’s reputation in the nonprofit and human rights sector has also made her a resource for agents who have experienced domestic violence or sexual harassment from clients or colleagues in the workplace.
“When people find out that I’m doing domestic violence, they start a conversation and then they realize it’s a confidential conversation,” she says. “They call me just an assistant, as if the real estate agent needs an inspector.”
Looking for a reason
Real estate is a relationship-driven business. Finding time to volunteer in the community and across organizations is a great way to mix things up as an agent, Petkus said.
“You don’t have to be a volunteer, but there’s a little fire going on in you because you’re doing something good,” says Petkus. “You need to be aware of your priorities and understand that you need some balance or takeaway from 100 mph with real estate.”
Getting started is as easy as tapping into resources such as community groups and established initiatives in local organizations or efforts sponsored by brokerage firms, Petkus said.
Although she runs her own nonprofit and advocacy center, Petkus says agents looking to get money back don’t need to spearhead their efforts.
“You can be a part of this. You can start by volunteering, ”she says. “Many brokers have a designated non-profit organization that they help. See what options you have and see which fits, and if you want to lead, reach out to a mentor or someone who is doing a similar job to find out how things work. “
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Jordan Grice is Assistant Content Editor at RISMedia. Send him your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org…