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Realtors® Help Create Housing Opportunities for Orlando Residents

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

ORLANDO (November 7, 2012) – As leading advocates for homeownership, Realtors® encourage communities that support responsible, sustainable housing. That is why today Realtors® dedicated their time and labor to help construct townhomes for low-income families in Habitat of Greater Orlando Area's multifamily community Stag Horn Villas.

Approximately 100 Realtors® volunteered alongside future Habitat Greater Orlando homeowners at the Stag Horn Villas in Orlando to help construct a four-unit building. Volunteers finished the interior framing and siding, and helped build headers for the multi-family unit. The volunteer build is in conjunction with the 2012 REALTORS® Conference and Expo which takes place this week in Orlando. Approximately 21,000 Realtors® and guests are expected to attend.

"Realtors® believe that anyone who is willing and able to own a home should have the opportunity to do so," said National Association of Realtors® President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. "That is why Realtors® are volunteering their time and efforts today. The work we are doing today at the Stag Horn Villas is supporting the effort to increase affordable housing in Orlando, and also to help individuals and families pursue the dream of homeownership. We are extremely honored to work alongside Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando Area today as well as with all the Habitat Greater Orlando homeowners."

Veissi and Terry Eckert, Director of Construction for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando Area, spoke to the group of volunteers along with a Habitat homeowner. This year is the third Realtor® Volunteer Build held in Orlando. Realtors® also sponsored and helped build houses for Orlando residents in 2004 and 2008.

Stag Horn Villas is Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando Area's first multi-family development, as well as its most green and energy-efficient. The $8 million, 58-townhome community began in October 2008 and 42 families have currently moved into eight completed buildings. The foundation for the 10th and final building will be poured this month. Once complete, the 3.9-acre neighborhood will provide affordable homes for 58 local families. The community will feature 10 buildings, each of which will include four to eight townhomes surrounded by green spaces. The townhomes have also received the ENERGY STAR and WATER STAR certifications and the model home has received the Florida Green Building Coalition's "Gold" designation. Stag Horn Villas is slated for completion in spring of 2013.

To live in a Habitat home, individuals must purchase their home as well as pass strict qualifying criteria. Those qualifications include a need for housing, an ability to pay a mortgage and willingness to partner by building their home and the homes of others by investing 300-500 hours of "sweat equity."

This is the 12th 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 Greater Orlando Area is a not-for-profit, ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to transforming the lives of low-income, hardworking families through the American Dream of homeownership. Habitat Greater Orlando is one of approximately 2,100 local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International. Support from sponsors, donors and volunteers directly benefit the Central Florida community. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando or to make a donation, call (407) 648-4567 or visit www.habitat-orlando.org.

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.