3 Ways to Boost Your Business With Diversity

March 15, 2017

Right now, there are more Spanish speakers in the United States than in Spain, and by 2050 we’ll have the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. To meet the needs of this growing market and the agents who serve it, the National Association of REALTORS® recently launched the Spanish-language edition of At Home With Diversity, an online certification course encompassing topics of diversity, fair housing risk reduction, and sustainable business planning.

Using concepts and topics covered in this course, we compiled three key ways you can expand your business to all types of English and non-English speaking clients.

1. Understand the real numbers

While the immigration debate wages on in Washington, data science tends to tell a story that’s a bit different than the rhetoric. The Pew Research Center found that most of the Hispanic population growth in the United States comes from within our borders rather than beyond. According to Census Bureau data, Hispanics are the only major demographic to see their poverty rate decrease while their annual income has grown. A study from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals estimated that Latino purchasing power will exceed $2 trillion in the next few years.

Contrary to the old saying, what you don’t know really can hurt you, especially where business is concerned. While staying abreast of current events is important, raw, objective data will give you a better understanding of who the qualified clients are in your community.

That’s why it’s important to regularly seek out information that defines the population in your area, particularly in terms of race, income, employment, and key housing indices. Start with these resources, which provide a wealth of information that can help you identify your audience.

2. Get out in your community

Regardless of where you work, a more diverse population of real estate clients is likely in your future.   In 2015, Hispanics accounted for almost 70 percent of growth in U.S. homeownership, and 52 percent of new homeowners between 2010 and 2030. As white non-Hispanic population growth slows and multicultural homebuyers play an increasingly important role in housing, equipping yourself with the appropriate skills and knowledge is crucial.

Seek out diversity initiatives within your local association and learn how you can get involved. Attend networking events offered by multicultural real estate organizations such as the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America, or the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. And of course, investing in educational opportunities such as At Home With Diversity will allow you to learn about the increasing diversity in your market and how to work effectively within it.

3. Plan for inclusion

While understanding diversity is important, including it in your business strategy is key to minimizing risk and growing your business. The inclusive real estate professional understands that no two clients are the same, but they all should be treated with the same level of care.

Take an honest look at your business plan: Is it inclusive? For example, check to see if your marketing budget includes investments in advertising channels to reach all the groups noted in the demographic research you accomplished in step one. If you aren’t multilingual, consider bringing on an interpreter to assist in the transaction process or a consultant to translate advertising and listing materials in the languages of your audience. Collaborate with local lenders, title offices, or corporate partners to offer diversity education opportunities for agents and staff in your office.

Source: NAR's At Home With Diversity Program.