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Century 21 Real Estate  recently announced the results of the CENTURY 21® “Persons with Disabilities Home Buying Survey.” In alignment with the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the survey’s goal was to help CENTURY 21 System members gain insight into the current state of the real estate industry as it relates to accessible housing, and serve as an integral part of the brand’s ongoing efforts to help persons with disabilities live, learn, work and play in their communities and to have a future free of discrimination.

Conducted online in June by Harris Poll on behalf of Century 21 Real Estate LLC among 503 active homebuyers who either have disabilities or live with someone who does, the survey’s key findings indicate a strong need and desire among homebuyers with special needs for real estate sales associates who are trained in, and knowledgeable about, accessible housing. An overwhelming majority (83%) stated having a real estate professional who is familiar with accessible housing would be beneficial to them, while one in four (25%) indicated it is absolutely essential their real estate professional is knowledgeable about accessible housing. The survey also revealed approximately half (49%) have a difficult time finding a home that fits their family’s unique needs.

“This survey shows that there is a critical need for real estate professionals to understand the particular needs and unique challenges faced by homebuyers who have disabilities or live with someone who does,” says Rick Davidson, president and chief executive officer of Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “In light of the survey’s findings and in conjunction with our brand’s philanthropic partnership with Easter Seals, I’m proud to announce that we are making a commitment to equip our affiliated sales associates with the tools and resources they need to better serve the special needs of this market segment.”

According to the latest U.S. Census report on Americans with Disabilities, approximately 19 percent of the population identifies as having a disability. The CENTURY 21 Special Agent Learning Program is being developed to provide access for C21® System members to information, learning and resources on the topic of accessible housing and universal design for persons with disabilities.

“This new learning initiative is a natural extension of our longstanding relationship with Easter Seals,” added Davidson. “Collectively, the CENTURY 21 System has raised more than $111 million since 1979 to support Easter Seals in our communities. Now, we are putting the mission of Easter Seals at the heart of what we do. Providing critical resources to our independent brokers and affiliated sales associates will help enable them to better serve this segment of the home buying and selling market.”

According to the CENTURY 21 survey, the proposed CENTURY 21 Special Agent Learning Program is coming to market at a most opportune time. One in five (21%) reported that not having access to adequately trained real estate professionals posed a challenge in their housing search. Plus, more than half (54%) rated the average real estate professionals’ knowledge of accessible housing with a grade level of “C” or below.

“On July 26, 2015 we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark civil rights law for people with disabilities,” says Easter Seals President & CEO Randy Rutta. “This anniversary creates momentum around the needs of accessibility in segments of society not covered by the ADA, such as residential housing. Today, with more than 54 million Americans living with disabilities, Easter Seals is proud to call the CENTURY 21® System our partner in advancing professional real estate services that help people with disabilities live in the community of their choosing.”

The CENTURY 21 Special Agent Learning Program will be launched at the brand’s annual leadership conference in San Diego this October.

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