VERONICA FIGUEROA, CEO/TEAM LEADER
Everywhere my dad was stationed, products weren’t readily available for Hispanic people. So my mother would drive to cities like Miami, Atlanta and Chicago to buy and bring back items to stock her Hispanic stores. She was a disruptor. She would see a need and deliver on it.
So when I got into real estate in East Orlando, Florida, I did whatever it took. But I had a limited belief that I could only service Hispanics because of my last name and the local demographics. Then I met my husband Tony who encouraged me to diversify. He boosted my confidence and told me, “You really should be a household name here.”
I noticed that real estate agents weren’t really entrenched in the community, but I was willing to outwork, out-relationship everyone else. I became good at real estate because I listened to people and really cared about them. That was probably the breaking point of my career.
Now, 14 years later, we’re the No. 1 eXp Realty team in East Orlando and, before I sold my RE/MAX franchise of eight years, I had built up one of the most thriving teams in the top 10% of our market. Today, you can’t drive through Avalon Park in East Orlando without seeing our name.
That’s why I’m so proud to represent an organization like NAHREP (National Association for Hispanic Real Estate Professionals) and introduce other agents of Hispanic descent to learn more about the diversity that’s out there. It used to be that we thought we needed only bilingual buyer’s agents, but that’s flipped now. We think we have a competitive advantage because we can service more than one type of client with unique needs, like understanding the different programs for financing people from other countries.
We’ve helped many of these families get into their first homes, but we’ve also helped many of these people “lose” their homes after the housing crash of 2008 and 2009 by helping them manage the short-sell process. For me, when I look back on my career, I’m most proud of the way we educated the Hispanic community on how to be homeowners again. To see families redeem themselves is very exciting.
As the first Hispanic to win the Most Innovative Team from Inman, I see what I’ve done as opening doors to other Hispanics build a thriving community by not only selling real estate but also by inspiring other people’s careers. There’s a deeper purpose than just turning the key.
For me, it’s no longer so much about the commission but rather helping families reach the finish line and never giving up to get people into a home. It’s our duty to make a difference in their lives. It’s in our DNA.
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