Adam Torres and Kay Wilson-Bolton discuss real estate housing solutions.
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Real estate housing for moderate and lower income families can be problematic in many communities. In this episode, Adam Torres and Kay Wilson-Bolton, Associate Broker at Century 21 Everest, explore Kay’s writing, “The Human Side of Real Estate,” in her recent book release, Mission Matters: World’s Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Top Tips To Success (Real Estate Vol.3, Edition 6).
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About Kay Wilson-Bolton
Kay has been in full-time real estate since 1976. She is certified competent in many areas of real estate. She is known for commitment to working early and late with have a very hands-on management style. She remains “first phone” on every transaction, and her market area is comfortably Ventura County.
She holds two degrees: BS degree with a background in marketing and business administration from Cal Poly and a BA from the Master’s College in Newhall, currently working part-time on her master’s degree. She holds numerous certifications and designations with professional organizations. She is a co-mediator for the Ventura County Superior Court, a Biblical Counselor and neighborhood mediator.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest in the show, just head on over to mission matters.com and click on guest apply. All right, so today is a. Special episode. We brought Kay Wilson, Bolton back onto the show, and we’re so thrilled to announce that our book that we wrote together is finally live.
Kay. Just wanna say, hey, hey, we made it. Welcome back. Thank you. Always nice to talk to you. Oh, I, I, I always enjoy our conversations as well. And I’ve been on your, I’ve been on your newsletter getting updates on everything that’s going on over at Spirit of Santa Paula. So I wanna, I wanna talk about that and talk a little bit about the newsletter.
I know a little birdie kind of dropped into my ear as well, that you’re working on another book, and I’m, I’m thrilled to dive into that. But we’ll start this episode. The way that I know, you know, the drill. We start them all. With our Mission matters minute, so, okay. We, at Mission Matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts.
That’s our mission. Kay. What mission matters to you? Well, for this book the most important element is the human side of real estate as it relates to housing and affording people equal opportunity to actually live in a. potentially own it. That’s how wealth is built in America. Terrible disparity is developing in our country where that opportunity is gonna be lost.
So I’d like to advocate for a more sensitive view of providing affordable housing for people in various income ranges so that there’s more equal opportunity in. Yeah, it’s great and and, and we definitely align with your message and one of the reasons why we’re always excited to have you on the show is really to get that word out there because I feel like a lot of you know, what’s going on from some angles, especially that general public opinion is that they may not know.
And they may, you know, so not all opinions are as educated when it comes to real estate, the housing crisis, and really affordable housing and, and how that affects. But I think maybe just to kind of get us started, especially for those that haven’t seen some of our previous work, let’s talk a little bit more about what you’re doing as a, as a associate broker over at Century 21 Everest, so that people have a, a, a feel for your real estate background.
I’ve been a broker now for 47 years, and it’s interesting to talk to people about saying that they assume that I must be. And not remember No, very much. So. I’m getting reluctant to tell people how long I’ve been in the business, but you know, with that longevity in one career, you have to know the, the various experiences I’ve had and the different markets I’ve worked in to know that in California real estate doubles every 20 years.
Mm-hmm. Whether we like that or not, I think most of us, . It does present challenges though as time goes on, the incomes have to rise at the same level. So I’m often a lone voice in my communities and in my sphere for the necessity of providing an affordable component to every housing project so that there are opportunities for everybody to own a home.
In California, many of the new housing projects are required by cities to provide an affordable component. And in Ventura County, the median income is Ventura County, California. Median income is $91,000 for a family of two, the low lower component is 50,000. So in a neighborhood you could have units built exactly the.
Look the same, same two car garage, same fireplace, same size yard. But one portion of the development would be for people in the lower income level. They all look the same. It doesn’t mean that people in a lower income level are less worthy, make that less, better, less desirable neighbors. Kids are not doing as well in.
That’s the myth that as a realtor I would love to dispel. Can I continue to work with a number of groups that are advocating for that? Not all of us are very popular and our message is consistent, but not always well heard. So our desire along with. Advocating for that is to educate people who just may not know if they’re prejudiced and they wanna stay prejudiced.
I don’t know what I can do about that. Yeah, that continue. The gentle voice talking about the realities and the importance of home ownership to stabilize communities and families. and I want to I wanna maybe shed a little bit more light on the actual problem and like the, and the opportunity there and maybe what happens when affordable housing isn’t in communities, like how people’s lives are affected.
Because if you’re not necessarily in that situation, or maybe you’ve been, you know, in your home long enough to where you didn’t know you don’t, you don’t have the same like, like shock, let’s just say in terms of moving into a new neighborhood. Something like that, that’s kind of out, or that’s above your, your means, like there’s just a lot of challenges.
So maybe tell us a little bit more about the problem that exists. The problem surfaces and becomes so apparent in communities where people work but cannot afford to live. So I don’t wanna pick on any community for fear of blocks, but just, just as. Sweet example, the city of Camarillo is a very beautiful mix of old and very new, and yet the price range of a community like that and with those amenities is such that people who work in the service industries, restaurants, hotels, where there are many there can’t afford to live.
So their only option is to find a community that could be 30 miles away where they can afford to live. So with that comes additional traffic. The need to drive to work, the challenges that go with traffic problems in the morning and getting there on. Getting the kids to school where they live, but not where they work.
So a sick kid at school is really challenged because mom and dad are working 30 miles away. Yeah. And that, that’s really a, an unfair burden for people who work in those industries and that the, you know, the mid-price range of hourly wages for them to have to carry. It’s really kinda not. I think a community, every community should provide a, an affordable component for housing opportunities so that people who serve the community can actually live where they look.
Yeah. And, and it seems like the problems would compound, so it’s not like on the surface level you could say, okay, it’s a longer commute, but all the things that you’re bringing to like, you know, to light like, like school, like if a kid’s sick or or more traffic congestion, that we all know what that does in California.
I mean, that’s, that’s pretty straightforward. But then all the other things that go into it, like even just stability of employment. So I’m if we’re thinking about. You know, the, the cost, they incur the gas, everything else. And if you add, and you add that up, then you think about like, when something happens, like the car is broken or things like that.
I’m guessing that maybe some of these households don’t have this wherewithal as others to, you know, get the car fixed, do all these other things, and so it just compounds into employment. It seems like it’s just a recipe for, it’s kinda like a tight rope, huh? It’s, you know, that’s a great word recipe part of.
Recipe should be that kids get to participate in after school sports after school programs, tutoring opportunities. How do the kids get to doctor’s appointments Or do they go? And you’re right, families in that income bracket do not have the reserves to quickly solve a. Flat tire is just a huge problem.
Number one, the cars iMobile, they’re stuck somewhere. They probably don’t have auto club so they can have a quick towing service or repair. So it’s a huge recipe and those are some elements within it that really create disaster, you know, and once one of the ingredients disappears from the recipe. The recipe is not as good, and so they don’t get to work on time.
God forbid they lose their job because they don’t have reliable transportation, then it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen. Can’t pay the rent. So it’s obvious what happens then. . Oh, for sure. And so okay, so I think we have a good a good like purview of, of the, of the problem and some of the challenges there.
Like you, you mentioned you know, one of the solutions when it comes to new developments or things like that, or I believe I understood that correctly when it comes to new developments, maybe having Having a portion of that neighborhood for affordable housing. Maybe go through some of the, some of the ways that some of the solutions that are out there possible or available for us.
There is a beautiful new neighborhood, we call it in Santa Paul, where I live. The proposal back in 2006 was for 1500 home. And at the time, the city had a development agreement that said 20% of those homes will be in the affordable price range. And that is for people who make, for example, $50,000.
The price would be adjusted so they could afford to live in a unit side by side. It could be for someone who can afford to pay, you know, the market. So the city required 20%. That would be 300 units within this 1500. Yes. Now, sometime later, the city council was petitioned by the developer to drop that requirement and instead put into a pool for the city to use $4,464 per house that they did not.
For an affordable buyer, so for buyer in the affordable range. So the council at that time wasn’t looking ahead and we were asleep when that happened, or the advocacy group would’ve been there begging them not to do that. So it was approved. So now there are 300 units for families in a 50,000 to 80,000.
Income range for two house, two people in the household not built. So the pool is getting bigger because every time there’s a closing, $4,464 goes into a fund. Problems with that, Santa Paula is 99% built out. We have built on all sizes, all sides. Of our community, which means we cannot grow. So we have only the land within the urban boundary to deal with.
So where are we going to build 300 homes, even if we have a pool of 6 million where we gonna put them? So that created its own secondary problem. and now the developer is back and they want to build an additional 490 homes, I believe. Hmm. And so there’s a lot of chatter about an affordable component within that.
Mm-hmm. , the people who live in this beautiful neighborhood are very resistant to that requirement within a new development agreement. The city council is really on the hot seat because, They’re mandated to represent the entire community, listen to all voices and do what’s best for the entire community.
The people who live in harvest there’s an average income level there of $115,000, and the chatter on my little dog is in the background talking. , we we’re, we’re dog friendly. , no, no, not now. Brown. Okay, we’re dog friendly. He’s watching the neighbors walk by . And so the chatter is that we worked our butts off for our home and we don’t want, essentially those people living in our neighborhood.
There is a fear that there’ll be a degradation of. Overall neighborhood, which is absolutely beautiful, park recreation centers. Just amazing amenities. But, you know, where, where is it written in the constitution that a family of two only earning $80,000 should not have the same Right. To live in community like that.
Mm-hmm. , that’s what worries me about our country overall. We. by initiative, creating classes of people entitled to live in certain neighborhoods, not entitled to live there, even though government government initiatives could make it possible so they can live there. Mm-hmm. ? At our homeless shelter, we have a mother of two who’s actually from El Salvad.
She is seeking asylum. She has her work permit, she has her social security card. She’s gone through the process. Her daughter, while living at our shelter, they’re still there. She is the top student in her math class every single month. So there’s an example. Why wouldn’t Laura and her two children. Be eligible or allow the privilege of living in one of the affordable units that might be created for the very, very low, whose income is $18,000 a year.
Yeah. Why not? So I mean, that’s the argument. Those who are there are very resistant. And I’m trying to listen to all the voices and respond with an educational component. Mm-hmm. and actually work into that, a sympathy component. So that, come on. Generational wealth is built in real estate. It’s for hundreds of years.
Why would this hardworking mother, who has a full-time legitimate job with two children, one a top math student, have a right to live in a nice. Why should she be forced to go live in a neighborhood that’s far less desirable? Mm-hmm. You know, crime, less amenities, all of that. So that’s, that’s the argument.
That’s the reasons why, and that’s the reason why we need advocates. Because without the advocacy, it’s not going to. . And and I, and I’ve heard this message as we’ve worked together, I’ve become more educated on the as we’ve gone through interviews and we’ve published together and I’ve become more, more educated on your work, the, the problems, maybe some of the solutions out there.
And and the, the main thing is that I’ve, I’ve gotten from the theme of everything that we’ve ever talked about is that there are, Like there is a, there’s a way to make sure that there’s some equality there. And you mentioned, you mentioned as well the homeless shelter. So this is I don’t wanna assume that all of our, all of our new listeners maybe caught some of our previous episodes, keeps on so, Maybe talk, talk a little bit about the shelter.
Cause I also wanna talk about this book that, that, that you’re writing as well because just you being an advocate for the, for the community in general for affordable housing also are helping with the homeless situation. So maybe tell us a little bit more about that. Yes. I, I think this might be a, one of the kind book I know of no other book that’s been written by a shelter provider.
Who actually has lived at the shelter and, you know, loves them, feeds them, works with them, knows them by name over a 12, 13 year period. So my goal on that is to kinda entertain. It’s very entertaining actually. There’s some pretty funny stories. We’ve had 11 dogs live at our shelter and they all have names, and two of them had babies in.
But mostly just to educate people on the personality of the person who ends up and yes, it is, and ends up living in a homeless shelter. Cause the only other place to go is the streets. Yeah. And you know, with the weather the way it is right now, I just can’t imagine the, the, the, the gripping.
Responsibility of communities with snowing. Hmm. For what do they do with people on the street? You know, they’re dying. They’re freezing to death. Yeah. I mean, my community, we have a pretty temperate climate here, but it’s been in the thirties and we have people on the street. So that, that book is to really educate.
People on the realities of a home shelter and really to inspire anybody who says, I worry about that problem in our country. Mm-hmm. and how one person can with an inspiration and a longing actually do something very similar in their own community. I mean, God’s Hand was all over this when I met a woman at our local restaurant one Saturday morning at breakfast sitting at the, the bar, the breakfast bar?
Yeah. . We started chatting and it turned out she worked with homeless people in, in Oakland. I said, wow. I mean, we have really similar interests. Well, as time went on using my real estate expertise and getting to know a person with a similar. She ended up buying a commercial building that had all the amenities we needed for a homeless shelter.
And on Valentine’s Day 2021, she gave us the building. Wow. And that’s a miracle. I mean, who I could have planned that. Absolutely. Yeah. That was truly a miracle. So Naomi is your name, and she gave us a building for Sheldon where we have 49 people we’ve served over. We’ve had three newborns. We’ve had people in their eighties who died cause they had terminal illnesses, but we shepherded them in their last days to doctor appointments.
Wonderful. Woman Margarite Bonnet, who’s just interested in what. Writing and so they have a ghost writer, I guess that’s what you call it. Yeah. Actually interested in what you’re writing is really a bonus for me because she’s really helping me. I know a little bit about both your personalities and I, when I think about the book that’s gonna come out, I can’t wait to read it.
I know that there’s gonna be so many nuggets. There’s gonna be so many things in there, and I know just every time we’ve talked, I mean, you have stories, you have stories and stories for days. So , I’m excited to see which ones make the cut because I know that’s gonna be difficult because you, you’ve worked so closely with community.
So many things you’ve done and people you’ve helped and personalities and stories and backstories. I’m like, wow, how do you, how do you encapsulate that in a book? So it’s, it’s absolutely a one of a kind book as far as I’m concerned. Yeah. What do you hope that the readers, and I know you’re still in development and, and so I don’t, we don’t have to get specific about the book or the content, but like, just the feel like what do you hope the, the, the readers walk away with after kinda going through the book and, and putting it.
That’s a great question. I would love the reader to say, you know, I could live there. Mm-hmm. Maybe that is a place I could volunteer. Cause I know the perception out there about a homeless shelter is drug addicts, alcoholics,
scary, maybe dangerous. And we’ve had all of that believe. , but you learn how to manage it and how how to manage it so that it is a safe place for people to live. So I hope somebody might get into the heart and the story and say, I see myself in that story, or to say, by the grace of God, I am not in that story in a personal way.
I remember a comment my husband made. He’s gone now. He, we lost our house in 1992. I don’t know if you were born then. Yes, I was , but that was a different kinda economic disaster. Catastrophe. And so at my husband’s shop, he was a sign Silk printer graphic. He was one of the early adapters to graphics and.
He had a concrete building behind the house that he had rented out, and those people just, we lost our house. I said, we have to go live there. And he said, are, can you do that? And I said, yes. We have to make our way here to get out. So for us, it was kinda a time in the wilderness, but as I put the keys on my little house, and fact it’s this one, I was able to buy back through another miracle.
He said, you know, we are moving closer and closer to the
yes we could, I guess, have the economy really tanked on us. And I had no. Ability to climb out of it, but because of real estate, I could. Mm-hmm. , maybe we’ve been in that shelter that didn’t exist at that time, of course. But moving closer and closer, the river always stuck with me. Yeah. I’m hoping that people would see themselves maybe being painted into the picture a little bit, my personal experiences, but for the grace of God didn’t end.
And up. I hate you didn’t say it that way, but it’s kinda true. You do. You go from there, the house to maybe living in the car. Yeah, maybe with the family to maybe back in the car. Car gets towed and then you end up in a shelter bed. So Marg and I really are playing with a title for the book cause I wanted to catch people.
Mm-hmm. totality, so that somebody would say, well I need to read. It’s all true. It’s all true. Yeah. I, I’m excited to read this. I, I can’t wait. It’s gonna be I, I just know that you two working together and your stories and everything else that you bring to the table in your heart for what you’re doing.
It’s just, it’s unique. It’s definitely of a, I can’t, can’t
here today. Well just talking about your work so the, the book that you, you, you that you were in of course, and that we wrote together. So it’s a real estate book. So I, I can’t let you off the show without talking a little bit more about what you’re doing in terms of your work and real estate in general.
So maybe tell, tell us a little bit more about your brokerage and what you specialize in. My brokerage is Century one Everest, and back in 2010, Eight, nine, and 10 when the economy was just so terrible and we found the homeless man had died in one of our churches, which started the other. I had been managing, owning five offices through those years, and I, I was at a point of desperation.
My agents were, were taking listings at 1% commission to. Try and generate income for anybody. And those listings just were not selling. Nothing was selling. And so I had this great opportunity to sell my company. I actually gave them the company, but they took over paying the rents. And so I was salvaged and then went to work for them.
And it was Century 21 hometown in San Luis Obispo. Wonderful people who. You know, got me off the hook and I worked very hard for them. And then they sold to century One Everest. And now we’re Century One Alliance. The organization’s been working to become very large organization. They take very good care of me.
They value my presence with them, and they’re very ethical. And I’m proud to be associated with that company. So I am a broker and I do a little bit of everything. I have a property management company we manage about units converting over to very fancy what call program to manage called Call That Folio.
And it’s just a big transition through. I spoke, me and my office manager been very. Through the month of January, so we’re bogged down getting that done. Public management are largely residential. I’m the broker for the public administrator and the public guardian, and their assignments take me all over Southern California.
And so it’s a very nice niche. I’m very proud to be their partner in this work. And then I just grew a lot of residential and some commercial. Do some agricultural land. So pretty versatile and it’s only because I’ve been doing it so long I’ve managed to not make too many mistakes so that I’m still in business and rely on a lot of referral business.
And that’s just the golden nugget of real estate so that I don’t have to knock on people’s doors, which I was never good at. And glad I don’t have to do it at this. Okay. Well I just have to say it has been so much fun having you back on the show as always thrilled to continue to promote the current book that we have together.
I’m so thrilled about that one, but also excited about the next one coming out. I mean, you just got a lot going on. Always. I want to I kind of want to wrap this up. I want you to talk a little bit about your new. Finally, I mean, we’ve known each other for a while now, and I was finally added to your newsletter and what a privilege.
Cause the newsletter, it just shows so much more about the work you’re doing, the building that’s going on, like everything else, and the stories of the individuals, of the lives that you’re helping. So maybe cause I also want you to let people know where they can subscribe to the newsletter and, and also stay involved.
Maybe tell us a little bit more about the content and the aim of like how it’s. I actually do the newsletter and we use a pretty neat platform called Network for Good and it allows us to do our fundraising and communication and all kinds of activities on one platform. So I recommend that to nonprofits.
The newsletter is designed to give a snapshot of reality so that when people open it up, they. There’s picture Daisy. Daisy was a tenant. I actually had to evict from a unit maybe five years ago. Pretty serious drinking problem. And she ended up living in a tent in the city of Fillmore for about a year 60 years old.
So imagine that. And she finally came to our shelter and she was afraid to come because she knew that I was manager. . And so we talked on the phone. I said, Daisy, just come. Just come. So she did. And so by working with a case manager, which is absolutely essential in this kinda environment, you cannot bring somebody into a shelter and let ’em sit on their bunk all day.
Mm-hmm. , you have to have somebody managing their situation, get their birth certificate, get their id clean up any citations they may have by going through homeless. where they can volunteer at community service opportunities and get all those things expunged from their record. Mm-hmm. . So by case managing someone and Daisy in particular, we were able to get her by working with many mansions the city of Fillmore, the county of Ventura, and getting her into her own one bedroom brand new beautiful apartment with Washer dryer, facilities, stove, refrigerator, I mean it’s, it’s hers for a lifetime.
Yeah. Did stop drinking. She’s worked very hard at sobriety. Mm-hmm. . And she writes eloquently about what life is like for her now. I mean, Nick Armand, he’s someone who, famous musician actually 72 years of age and what his life was like through bipolar mental illness, drug addiction. Living on the streets with a dislocated shoulder.
He was in a grocery store and a nice pallet was coming around the corner, being driven by somebody who maybe should have been paying a little more attention, but they slammed, broke his foot and living on the street with those kinda challenges. Anyway, he’s now cause of case management in its own apartment.
For the rest of his life, if he does what he’s supposed to do. So that never happened without Jessica Lucas our case manager in Saru, taking them one at a time and really shepherding them and loving them along the way. You know, love him a little. The work is much harder. And they’re people, people who are parents, they’re.
Grandparents and they’ve had peers, they’ve been famous at one time, worked responsible job. So that’s what I hope for the book, that people can go look inside of the work and not judge the person either doing it, which is often been me very heavily criticized, and I’ve had to put on the the rest plate of righteousness so that I protect my.
Yeah. And just that the calling I have on my life is will carry me through. And so the newsletter back to that is to educate people. Mm-hmm. entertain a little bit and people say, wow, that’s pretty cool, or Oh God, that’s too bad. Or, so they can subscribe by going to our website, Santa paula org, all one word.
And we’ll get ’em attached to the newsletter so they can stay. Fantastic. And we’ll put that we’ll of course put that in the in the show notes so that our audience can just click on the links and head right on over. And if somebody wants to learn, talk more about real estate specifically and they’re in the market, what kind of, what, where should they go for that?
Yeah, and my website is cable wilson bolton.com. Okay, I have an interactive site at real estate magic.com. Mm-hmm and so I have two websites, k wilson bolt com and real estate magic com. Wonderful. And we’ll put all that information to show notes so that the audience can just click on the links and head write on over.
Get, definitely subscribe to that newsletter. I mean, I’ve, now that I’ve been subscribed that snapshot into reality as you worded it, or for me it’s just, it’s just inspiring. Like when I see some of the stories or even when I see the work being done, it just reminds me like it’s, it’s. Snapshot.
That’s a great way to put it. So that being said, I recommend everybody go. Definitely subscribe to that. And speaking of the audience, if this is your first time with Mission Matters or engaging with the Mission Matters episode, we’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, executives and experts, and having them share their mission, really the reason behind their mission, like what gets them motivated to go out there and to make a difference in the.
If that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, hit that subscribe button because we have many more mission-based individuals coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. And Kay, it has been great having you back on this show. I look forward to continue to work with you, and I’m excited about the new book that you have coming up, even though.
Started promoting this one, but hey, you are a busy, busy woman and very capable and very blessed, and we’re blessed to have you as well, all the work you’re doing. So again, thank you for coming back on the show Next.