For life and business partners Sherry Richardson and Bennisha Lucas, the mission is simple: provide luxurious homes at an affordable price point. But their mission extends far beyond common run of the mill home renovation companies. 51st & Richardson Properties focuses on revitalizing communities and bringing affordability and luxury to economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area.
“We revitalize neighborhoods and bring purpose to home‐ownership, negating the idea of futile renting,” explains Richardson. “By our standard, it is important for families to live comfortably without acquiring a financial deficit to mature that idea from concept to reality.”
Richardson and Lucas started the company in 2015 with the desire to rehabilitate homes requiring significant renovation and transition them into incredibly secure, exquisite, and opulent living spaces for families of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
“A typical project begins with systems,” says Lucas. “We look at several homes and determine the cost of repairs. Once we walk through and discuss what we envision for the property, we interview contractors who will support us with accomplishing our goal of thoroughly renovating homes within specified intervals.”
Richardson and Lucas, who first met 14 years ago, have seamlessly woven their interpersonal skills into their business model. “I tend to handle the laborious process of property acquisition and budgeting,” says Richardson. “Bennisha is the creative genius of our duo. She personally tailors each home, selecting floor plans, cabinetry, countertops, tiles, flooring, staging, and all other visual aesthetics. I enjoy searching the World Wide Web for leads and negotiating with sellers and contractors.”
Richardson credits Lucas’ creative process for 51st & Richardson Properties interior designing and modeling. After settling on a budget and reaching a financial and timely consensus with contractors, Richardson and Lucas begin the renovation process.
As women in the real estate business, the duo has had their share of experiencing sexism in the workplace. “We are often left to our prior research, lived experience, and gut feelings to enlist meticulous professionals and establish the depth of financial contributions for their renovating services.” Lucas and Richardson have encountered professionals in the industry who have attempted to overcharge and/or provide shabby service. “We are able to combat these occurrences with experiential knowledge and continuing to educate ourselves on the process of real estate investments,” says Lucas, who cites interviewing to be the most influential mechanism to dismantling this type of discrimination.
“The more professionals we encounter and interview, the better equipped and educated we are. We’ve also worked with some extremely remarkable professionals, for which we continue to hire for our home-renovating needs.” By investing in real estate professional developments, the two have been able to create a strong foundation for the future of 51st & Richardson Properties.
Richardson and Lucas continue to renovate homes in local neighborhoods and hope to expand their portfolio to include rental properties. The company will continue to support neighborhoods by eventually providing financing and home‐buying workshops for future home‐buyers and further educating inner city youth about the home-buying process.