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Realtors® Frame the Future of Homeownership for Orange County Families

Media Contact: Leanne High / 202-383-1290 / Email

ANAHEIM (November 9, 2011) - Realtors® work tirelessly to make sure the American Dream of owning a home is available to everyone who is willing and able to assume the responsibilities of homeownership. That commitment was evident today as hundreds of Realtors® volunteered their time and labor to frame homes that will later be used by Habitat for Humanity of Orange County for local individuals and families.

Throughout the day volunteers worked inside the Anaheim Convention Center Arena to frame homes that will be constructed inside a new 15-home community in nearby Cypress, Calif. The volunteer build is in conjunction with the 2011 REALTORS® Conference & Expo which takes place this week in Anaheim. Approximately 18,000 Realtors® and guests are expected to attend.

“Realtors® build communities and they also feel very strongly about giving back to the communities in which they live and work,” said National Association of Realtors® President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “The Realtors® volunteering their time and effort today are not only helping increase affordable housing in Orange County, but also are helping individuals and families realize the dream of homeownership. We are extremely honored to work alongside Habitat for Humanity of Orange County to make sure those dreams come true.”

Joining Phipps was Habitat for Humanity of Orange County board member and Realtor® Rob Montgomery, as well as Lisa Varela, a Habitat for Humanity homeowner. Varela built and purchased her own Habitat home in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and recently celebrated her first anniversary as a homeowner. In addition to speaking about what homeownership means to her, Varela also spent time today framing homes with the Realtor® volunteers.

To live in a Habitat home, individuals must purchase their home as well as pass strict qualifying criteria. Those qualifications include legal residency in the U.S., maintaining a steady income, minimal debt and a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity and their volunteers by investing 250 hours of “sweat equity.”

This is the 11th year NAR has partnered with Habitat for Humanity in the city hosting NAR’s annual conference. Realtors® have also contributed to Habitat for Humanity abroad including in Southeast Asia following the 2004 tsunami and in the post-Katrina homebuilding effort, including 54 homes along the Gulf Coast.

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is dedicated to ending substandard housing and building strong communities in Orange County. Habitat uses non-government donations of funding, materials, professional services and volunteer labor to build simple, decent homes which are sold to qualified low-income families for a 1% down payment, closing costs, and a zero-equivalent interest mortgage. Mortgage payments are recycled to build more Habitat homes. Habitat families contribute 500 hours of “sweat equity” to the program by building their own home, helping another Habitat family build a home, or working in some other area of the Habitat organization. Habitat for Humanity families and volunteers have built 169 homes in Orange County since 1988, and are currently building two homes in Huntington Beach. Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. For more information, please call (714) 434-6200 extension 229, or visit our website at www.habitatoc.org.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the News Media section.