by Briana L. White, For New Pittsburgh Courier
“Real estate meets luxury!” is the motto of 25-year-old realtor Christina Mulenga.
Mulenga, aka The Pretty Realtor, became licensed in December 2018, and is currently working as an agent for Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services. Although this is a new career for Mulenga, she’s already making a name for herself by hosting a series of workshops to benefit potential first-time homebuyers. On March 23, she hosted her first event, “Millennials, Mortgages & Mimosas,” at Everyday’s a Sunday Café, 4919 Penn Ave.
Mulenga was born in Zambia and moved to Pittsburgh when she was 5 years old. A 2012 Thomas Jefferson High School graduate, her love for the real estate industry blossomed when she was 19. At the time she was working several jobs but didn’t have a car. She knew owning a vehicle was an essential component of being a real estate agent. She finally landed a job at UPMC, was able to get a car and decided to “go for it,” she said.
While being a full-time mom and working two jobs, she studied for her real estate exam and passed it the first time.
But let’s not confuse Mulenga’s ability to pass the real estate exam on the first try with the exam being easy, or the process to becoming a realtor easy.
First, Mulenga said she found an institution that offered real estate classes (CCAC). Then, knowing it took about two months to complete the classes and obtain a certification for completion, she set aside 1-2 hours each day studying and understanding real estate terminology. After roughly 60 total hours of study, Mulenga took the exam, passed it, and six weeks later, she received her realtor license. The only thing left to do was for Mulenga to choose a brokerage firm and register with a Realtors Association.
Mulenga is eager to sell her first home—but during her March 23 workshop, she shared some tips on purchasing a home:
1. Get Pre-qualified and Pre-approved for Your Mortgage. A pre-approval may be required before you are able to work with an agent. The pre-approval will be based on your income, debt-to-income ratio, credit score and other factors.
2. Determine How Much House You Can Afford. Once pre-approved, you will see how much house you can afford, that way you only visit and fall in love with houses in your price range.
3. Find The Right Real Estate Agent. You will be working with the agent for at least a few months, so you want to be sure that you and your agent’s personalities mesh and that they have your best interest in mind.
The March 23 event was free of charge, unless you opted to eat brunch at Everyday’s a Sunday Café, which I did. For $15, you had a choice of the Blueberry French Toast Bake with your choice of a breakfast meat or the chorizo vegetable hash, both served with bottomless mimosas. The French Toast Bake was very filling, and the blueberries and syrup gave it the right amount of sweetness for me. This was the first time that I ever had square sausage patties, but the flavor was good. After eating and drinking a few mimosas, I got a chance to speak with the owner, Natalie DeiCas. Everyday’s a Sunday (previously, Everyday’s a Sundae) has been in its new location since November. They serve breakfast (all day) and lunch daily as well as offering catering services. DeiCas stated that “all the menu items sell well, and people frequent the restaurant because it feels like home.”
The space is quaint and can hold up to 25 people for events. In addition, the café displays local artist pieces on their wall for up to three months free of charge. The restaurant is currently featuring pieces by D. S. Kinsel.
Mulenga is working on perfecting her next workshop, along with gaining traction in a crowded (and majority-White) field of real estate agents that number in the thousands in the Pittsburgh region. Speaking solely of Coldwell Banker, there are 972 licensed real estate agents in the region; Mulenga is one of roughly 50 African American realtors in the region for Coldwell Banker, according to a New Pittsburgh Courier analysis of realtors on the Coldwell Banker website.