Marcia Brown Makes Residential Real Estate Accessible

COMPANY: Paradise Estate
LAUNCH: 2018
MISSION: To impart core American values such as, equal opportunity and material comfort in order to give people the chance of a better life.
LOCATION: New Jersey

HERSTORY: I’m the Founder and Chief Estate Officer of Paradise Estate, a social enterprise that provides affordable rental homes to qualified low-income families. Originally, I’m from the Island of Jamaica. I attended University of Buffalo in New York and received a Bachelors in Spanish Literature and Marketing. I later graduated from Marist College with a Masters in Communications.

I’m an entrepreneur at heart, but more importantly I wanted to start a business that makes a big impact in people’s lives.

When did you launch Paradise Estate and how difficult was it to develop from concept to launch?

Paradise Estate was launched in May 2018. Creating the concept was the hardest part. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, but more importantly I wanted to start a business that makes a big impact in people’s lives. So I married my love of real estate to my passion of helping people, and that became the purpose of the business. Once I found my purpose, it gave me the motivation to start. Finding the capital to launch was challenging. Lucky for me, I had already made a lucrative real estate investment that paid off right about the time I was ready to launch. That money was invested into Paradise Estate.

On your website you explain that you were inspired to help families find decent and affordable homes. Have you seen the impact of your work? If so, share what you have discovered.

When I purchased the first two properties in April 2019, I was overwhelmed with the amount of phone calls I received from people who needed affordable housing. The house rented quickly, but several months later I was still receiving phone calls from people wanting to know if or when I would have additional properties for rent. I could hear the pain and disappointment in their voices when I explained the properties were already rented.

They divulged to me reasons why they needed a home. Some reasons were to give their children a better environment to thrive and some just wanted to have a better life. I know I am making a social impact, but it is not only based on quantitative measures, it also measures the impact by what the house means to that particular family. It’s not only providing basic shelter, but also giving people back their integrity, sense of belonging and personal safety.

Exterior of Paradise Estate townhome in New Jersey.

Most people who seek careers in real estate do so for the monetary rewards. You are helping an underserved community. Describe the financial challenges you have experienced.

Yes, the sad reality is that most people in real estate are doing it solely for major monetary rewards. There is nothing wrong with making a profit, but when greed fuels this type of business model, it becomes a social problem. We can see many examples as the homeless epidemic spreads across America. The number reason people are homeless, is the lack of affordable housing.

My business model places people over profits, so I target low-income families on the housing authority’s waitlist. However, one major challenge is the time lapse between a tenant moving into the property and the city’s payment processing; which means I need to have a healthy financial reserve to cover my property expenses such as insurance, water bill, garbage collection and taxes. Tenants, nor the housing authority
pay the typical one month security deposit.

Unfortunately, if the tenant decides to leave and destroy the property, or just regular wear and tear, there is no financial compensation to fall back on. Which means I have to dip into an already narrow profit margin to cover damages to the property. Luckily, I have been blessed to have families grateful to have a home, so I have not encountered this issue.

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