Adapt, Hope, and Be Resilient

November 17, 2020

Adapt, hope, and be resilient! Those were the sentiments panelists conveyed Monday during the wide-ranging NAR en Español session at the virtual REALTORS® Conference & Expo. The Spanish-language session, “REALTOR® del Futuro. Desafios y Retos en la Industria de Bienes Raíces” translates as REALTOR® of the Future: Challenges in the Real Estate Industry.

The discussion featured three leading Hispanic women who are making a difference in real estate. The power of the Latin market was a key focus since this demographic encompasses half of the buyers in the U.S.

The session was moderated by Alejandro Escudero Rodriguez, CIPS, manager of global alliances and business development for the National Association of REALTORS® and primary contributor to NAR’s Spanish-language platform, NAR en Español.

“We have to look at so many things combined due to today’s reality that we’re all living in,” said Mabél Guzmán, AHWD, CIPS, 2020 vice president of association affairs for the National Association of REALTORS® and an associate broker with Coldwell Banker Realty in Chicago. “Technology is now so different, and the presentation of a property and the communication about it are things that agents should be aware of since nothing is the way that it used to be,” she added.

The panelists agreed that adaptation is the key for survival, especially for Hispanic agents. Agents must think of the future now and not wait until next year to make a plan for 2021.

Buyers are demanding more space and dominating single-family markets. REALTORS® must keep the needs of buyers in mind as many have shifted their lifestyle. Homes with enough room for an office and space for kids to attend virtual school are now on the top of many clients' lists.

On the commercial side, Agnes Rivera, CCIM, an experienced commercial broker in Puerto Rico, discussed the lack of diversity when it comes to women and Latinos in her field. “We’re underrepresented in commercial real estate and we need to see more diversity. We need more women, minorities, and younger agents in the industry,” she said. CCIM, an NAR affiliate, has a special cultural diversity program aimed at helping agents learn and educate themselves about being more involved in commercial real state.

Regarding commercial business, she noted the positive and negative impact of COVID-19. There’s a demand for more office space with a bit more square footage per employee, but some bigger brick and mortar businesses are closing or have filed for bankruptcy.

Another hot-button topics of this NAR en Español session was the prevalence of discriminatory and hate speech that many minority agents continue to face. “It’s very important that we have a voice as Latinos in real estate,” said Elena Delgado, ABR, RENE, broker with EPIC Strategies in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “We must start locally first, then statewide, and then nationally. Agents should get involved in their local board and not allow a lack of fluency in English to be a barrier for getting involved,” she added.

Unity and diversity were a common thread in the discussion, and the panelists agreed that injecting agents with a positive attitude is the key to getting through today’s challenges.

Hispanic real estate professionals should take advantage of NAR resources and any other information that can help them to become real estate investors. This can be a path for a retirement plan and a way to help the next generation.

Everyone is encouraged to visit NAR en Español to stay in tune and in touch.