America’s population is continuing to change, writes Tina Lapp. Generate the highest level of success for diverse communities, whether they are new agents entering the field or clients looking to buy a home.
This January marks Inman’s fifth annual Agent Appreciation Month, which culminates at Inman Connect New York in a celebration of agents at the end of January. Plus, we’re rolling out the coveted Inman Power Player Awards, as well as the New York Power Brokers and MLS Innovators awards.
Real estate has a lot of work to do as a profession to increase diversity. America’s population is diverse and will continue to reflect many different cultures.
We can take simple steps to guide the real estate profession to be more diverse and to better serve a diverse client base. Let’s start by taking a look at the consistently fast-growing Hispanic homeownership community.
According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the Hispanic homeownership rate increased to 48.6 percent in 2022, marking eight years of consistent homeownership growth. The U.S. Census Bureau cited that Latinos added a net total of 349,000 homeowner households in 2022, one of the largest single-year gains for Latinos in the past 10 years.
The reality is that this number could be much higher. Access to Spanish-speaking agents would make Hispanics more comfortable with homeownership, said Gary Acosta, executive director of NAHREP.
Yet, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Hispanic, Latino, Mexican and Puerto Rican members comprise only 13 percent of real estate agents in the United States. How do we fill this gap and better support future Hispanic homeowners?
Here are three ways we can support diversity in the Hispanic real estate community.
Encourage more Hispanic students and professionals to become real estate agents
Unfortunately, many Hispanic people don’t know of the career option to be a real estate agent. It is not even on their radar. This is something I’ve been working on for years.
I have the exciting job of empowering aspiring and seasoned real estate professionals to start or advance their careers, and I have personally overseen the expansion of Hispanic agents through our education programs, particularly in Florida.
Jose Velasquez, an instructor who runs our Spanish real estate education program in Florida, has seen tremendous growth in the profession.
“In real estate, the Hispanic community is getting more and more involved,” said Velasquez. “Over the years, the homeowners in the Hispanic population have grown steadily. Spanish language remains dominant in Latino purchase transactions, so it is important to have bilingual communication skills to translate real estate concepts and terms.”
Understand the unique needs of Hispanic homebuyers
No two home sales are alike, as we all know. Every culture has its uniqueness as well. Latinos are more likely than any demographic group to take advantage of multigenerational living.
Research shows that 31.7 percent of Latino households are multigenerational, which is just over 5.8 million households. It is important to have agents and brokers that understand what this means in terms of house shopping.
Solving for No. 1 also helps with No. 2 on our list. Latino real estate agents largely serve Latino clients. Having someone who intuitively understands cultural needs can make a huge difference in someone deciding to make a home purchase or even to explore the possibility.
Develop expertise in local market trends
Understanding a local community and having the skills to translate that knowledge to better represent the needs of a buyer and seller can make a huge difference in the homebuying experience.
For example, Velasquez talks about significant trends for international buyers to scoop up properties in South Florida. “We trained over 90,000 agents and brokers last year, many of them Spanish-speaking professionals. I encourage them to develop a specialization in understanding international buyers and catering to their needs since this is a hot trend in our communities in Florida. They can be more successful this way and can better serve the market by knowing exactly how to show and close these types of properties.”
The reality is that America’s population is continuing to change. We want to generate the highest level of success for these diverse communities, whether they are new agents entering the field or clients looking to buy a home. Real estate professionals can better reflect the diversity in our communities and, in the process, better serve these communities.
Tina Lapp is head of local brands for Colibri Real Estate. Connect with her on LinkedIn.