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Personality: John S. Finn Jr.

12/19/2014, 6 a.m.
John Finn is the first African-American to hold the association’s top volunteer post and brings leadership diversity to an organization ...

John S. (for Sylvester) Finn Jr. is an old hand in the real estate business.

In his 40 years in the field, he has done everything from building new houses to finding financing for families seeking to buy their first home.

He loves being involved in helping “people realize their dream” of home ownership.

Long and varied experience has propelled the 57-year-old real estate veteran into his latest role.

He recently was installed as president of the Richmond Association of Realtors, a 4,000-member trade association for brokers and agents in the metropolitan area.

He is the first African-American to hold the association’s top volunteer post and brings leadership diversity to an organization with a diverse membership.

He has ambitious plans. His goal is to increase RAR’s “visibility as one of the primary advocates for affordable housing” and to build online innovations to enable agents to do a better job for buyers and sellers.

Mr. Finn comes from a family with deep roots in the field. He says two great-grandparents were involved in construction and real estate as was his grandfather and his father.

He says he got his feet wet in real estate working on job sites for his father, a home builder.

He recalls when he got interested in the sales and marketing side. “I was working on one of my dad’s construction sites, and a guy in a suit drove up in a big car to see my father. Later, my dad told me the guy was a Realtor. I figured that had to beat nailing shingles in 90-degree heat.”

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University, Mr. Finn entered the world of property sales.

He learned the ins and outs of the business working as a sales agent at various real estate firms. He also took specialty courses to gain certifications as an agent and broker.

In 1997, he launched his own company, Dominion First Realty, and has never looked back.

He credits “education and persistence” as the keys to his success.

A close-up of this week’s Personality, John S. Finn Jr.:

Occupation: Real estate broker.

Date and place of birth: Aug. 26, in Richmond.

Neighborhood of residence: Bon Air.

Alma mater: Virginia Commonwealth University.

Family: Wife, Lorri, and sons, Antonio and John III.

When elected president of RAR: November 2014.

Length of term: One year.

When I was installed: Dec. 10, 2014.

Position before presidency: President-elect.

RAR’s role: RAR manages the Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing Service, an MLS serving more than 4,700 Realtors in 16 jurisdictions.

RAR’s mission: To provide our members with the resources, services and community engagement they need to conduct ethical, professional and profitable businesses. We constantly promote the image of Realtors as valuable professionals essential to the real estate transaction.

Role RAR plays in community: RAR works to enhance the professionalism of Realtors through extensive educational offerings and professional development/risk management services. Because we believe that people will not buy houses until they have first bought into the community’s quality of life, we are deeply engaged in initiatives designed to improve our regional community. These activities include advocating for affordable housing, seeking to ameliorate and deconcentrate poverty and seeking to enhance educational opportunities for all.