Amy Ruzick began her career in real estate in 2002 following the “eye-opening” advice of a friend who recognized her passion for monitoring homes on the market and suggested she make a move away from her previous role in IT. In 2004, she founded the NoPlaceLikeHome real estate team. Since joining RE/MAX in 2006, she has continued to build her business (named the #1 RE/MAX Results agent by transactions in 2020) and grow her involvement in the industry and within her community. This past year, she took on the role of President of the Minnesota Chapter of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance.
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is an international 501c6 non-profit that was founded in June 2020 by former passionate members of NAGLREP, after the board of directors and 30+ chapter presidents stepped down following controversy at the leadership level. In just over a year since being founded, “The Alliance” – as it is often referred to – has quickly risen to a top position as an organization for advocacy and inclusion and in fact has already formed strong partnerships with NAR and CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association). The Alliance is a multifaceted organization that strives to bring issues of equality to the forefront of the community. Currently, the rate of LGBTQ homeownership is only 49%, compared with 64% of the general population. The goal of the Alliance and its members is to bridge this gap and create more homeownership opportunities. The organization also serves as a networking medium for real estate and other related professionals, locally, nationally, and even internationally.
For Ruzick, one of the most important responsibilities of the Alliance is to bring awareness to the laws that protect LGBTQ+ identifying real estate professionals and clients. Currently, 27 states still allow for discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, which can cause barriers to homeownership, financing, renting, and more. She shares, “People who identify as LGBTQ+ are considered a protected class in Minnesota. In other states where they are not, people can still be fired for coming out and discriminated against in the homebuying process. One of our missions is to inform people that this isn’t the case everywhere.” For example, through the organization’s national reach, they’re able to connect prospective out-of-state buyers with local agents who are a member of the community or an ally who can help them in the process.
Ruzick’s favorite thing about being part of the Alliance is the opportunity to work with local non-profits, something her team has been dedicated to for almost her entire career. She shares, “After Kay T. Johnson joined my team in 2004, we completely revamped how we used our advertising funds, choosing to focus on more organic promotion through sponsoring non-profits and local events.” In past years, Ruzick and her team have frequently sponsored the Twin Cities Pride. While the Twin Cities will be hosting a modified version of the event this year in July, Ruzick is still excited to be involved. She shares, “Our years are punctuated by the different events we sponsor.”
Overall, Ruzick attributes her success in real estate and her community to the support of her team comprised of Kay T. Johnson and Chris Goble – who are as much ‘chosen family’ as they are business partners. For other professionals, she advises them to remember the importance of the personal relationships between realtors and their clients and the real value dedicated realtors can bring to their clients.