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The friendship of Deon Stokes, 39, and her real estate agent Marci Wilson-Bates, 50, grew during the laborious process of securing the perfect home for Deon.

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“She showed me 120 homes — and still wanted to be my friend!”


“I just love this city, and I was excited to show [Deon] around . . .”

If you’ve purchased a home recently, you know the relationship between real estate agent and buyer is a precious, and oftentimes precarious, one. But after the laborious process of securing the perfect home, Deon Stokes, 39, knew she had to keep her agent Marci Wilson-Bates, 50, around for good.

Their relationship started serendipitously — Deon stopped in, on a whim, to an open house in Old Louisville that Marci (of Kentucky Select Properties) was hosting, and the two immediately hit it off. But their relationship blossomed after the care and patience Deon received from Marci in purchasing a home.

“I had met numerous real estate agents, but Marci had the temperament to deal with me. She showed me 120 homes — and still wanted to be my friend! Ain’t many women out there that would do that!” Deon said.

Over the course of house-hunting in Louisville’s hot market, the unlikely pair, disparate in culture, upbringing and age, developed a meaningful relationship. They bonded immediately over their mutual love of Europe (Deon had lived there and Marci had travelled there), but cultivated stronger bonds over navigating Louisville’s housing market and the complex dynamics rooted there.

Marci remembers immediately being attracted to Deon’s motivation and admires Deon’s grit and determination. Deon works in marketing and owns a tech company as well as an ambition planner company catered toward women of faith called Ambitionista. Deon had recently moved with her husband to Louisville from Huntsville, Alabama, and Marci took to becoming an ambassador for the city. “It’s fun to sell Louisville. I just love this city, and I was excited to show her around the neighborhoods, museums, and restaurants.”

This element of their professional relationship took a deeply personal turn when Deon, who is Black, was introduced to many of the systemic racist practices that keep our city so segregated. She had encountered [white] real estate agents that only wanted to show her houses in the West End and a grocery store cashier who assumed she would be using an EBT card to pay for her groceries.

“I was used to living in northern Alabama, and it is way more diverse than Louisville. There are three HBCUs [historically black colleges and universities] there that bring a lot of professional people of color. Then I moved and realized when you are not from Louisville, it is difficult to meet new people here — especially when it comes to interracial relationships. Trying to navigate the stereotypes and territories here was challenging,” Deon says, “but Marci understood the good and bad of the city, and we became very close through this process. It bonded us. After all, we can only figure it out when we talk to each other.” 

Deon says Marci embodies so much of what she aspires to be: patient, caring, and positive. “She is the glow. I’ve never heard her say one ill word about anyone, and I’ve never seen her take a short-cut.”

Deon says that despite the 120 homes she visited, Marci always took the time to print off all of the MLS paperwork in colored ink. “I would have stopped printing off all those papers for someone like me! I know I would have said, ‘Just go look at it,’ but Marci didn’t. It made me want to be that type of woman in business. We don’t usually compliment other women that way, but I want to say it out loud now. She taught me about showing up, and I’m so happy we’ve remained friends.”

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