Can Daisy Lopez-Cid mentor an entire industry?
As NAHREP President she’s ready to do just that.
By Deborah Kearns // Photography by Hughes Fioretti Photography
When Daisy Lopez-Cid was growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., she never thought much about going to college or having a professional career. The daughter of a working-class Puerto Rican family, Lopez-Cid felt like those aspirations were unattainable pipe dreams – especially when she had few Hispanic role models to look up to.
Fast-forward to today: As Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Premier Properties in Kissimmee, Fla., Lopez-Cid is that much-needed role model for other aspiring Hispanic entrepreneurs. Her success led her to the ultimate mantle of leadership as president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, or NAHREP. The organization is a community for Hispanic real estate professionals looking to build wealth through excelling in their careers.
In this Q&A with ABOVE, she shares her insights and knowledge to serve her community by being the role model she never had:
Congratulations on the new position! Let’s go back in time: What got you into real estate?
I didn’t start my career in real estate until a little later in life. I didn’t have a Latina mentor growing up. In my family, we never spoke about having a business career, and I knew college wasn’t financially possible. So I became a paralegal for an immigration lawyer in New York, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever. I entered real estate in 2001 then joined RE/MAX in 2003. I loved working with people and building relationships. The rest fell into place.
Why did you choose RE/MAX?
RE/MAX is a brand for top-producing agents. My agents make more money than the average agent at other brands. During the downturn when other people went out of business, I stayed with RE/MAX because they were there for me. I’ve talked to Dave Liniger and Adam Contos about the Hispanic market and where I feel we need to be as a real estate brand in meeting the needs of that growing demographic. RE/MAX is the brand everybody knows – it’s the 500-pound gorilla in the room.
What made you decide to pursue a leadership position with NAHREP?
I wanted to be a mentor for others like me who didn’t have someone to look up to. Specifically, I want to help NAHREP members build their wealth by focusing on growing their relationships with Hispanic consumers. Hispanics are a major demographic that can no longer be ignored. NAHREP is like a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. I really enjoy showing other agents the things I didn’t know how to do early on. It’s very fulfilling.
Why do you think it’s important that real estate agents learn how to work with Hispanic consumers?
Hispanics are an economic driving force in this country with spending power. They’ll soon be the largest minority-majority group. But people need to understand that Hispanics are not one block; they come from different countries with different cultural nuances despite having the Spanish language in common. Building relationships in this space takes time and sincerity if you want to have their business tomorrow.
What are specific strategies that will help real estate agents gain the trust of Hispanic buyers and sellers?
Hispanics come from all walks of life, but the common thread is how intertwined their financial and family lives are. They want to have a relationship – a friendship really – with the people they do business with. Make an effort to understand the culture; you don’t have to be Hispanic to get it. Generally, Hispanics don’t like to meet in stuffy offices, and they’ll invite you into their home for meetings complete with coffee and pastelitos.
Once you’ve closed a transaction with them, you’re like part of the family. You’ll get an invitation to a daughter’s quinceañera and will be included at family barbecues. That’s just how it is. If you’re not authentic and are only in it for the commission, though, they’ll sense that pretty quickly and you’ll lose their business.
What has helped make you successful over time?
Surrounding myself with the right people, for sure. I believe in hiring for your weaknesses. For example, one of my assistants is very tech-savvy so she handles that part of the business. Having the right team means I can focus on my work with NAHREP without worrying about things at the office; I know things are running smoothly because I have a team of great agents.
You mentioned that a key goal of yours is to help NAHREP members “build wealth.” How will NAHREP do that?
A lot of it involves educating them on ways to increase listings and clients, but the other side of it is putting them in front of top-notch financial experts to help them build retirement or investment plans. Things like Social Security might not be there in the future. We bring in wealthy, successful business owners to chapter and national meetings to learn what they are doing. NAHREP is an advocate for its members, and we’re focused on opening more chapters in new markets so we get more Hispanic real estate professionals involved.
What do you hope NAHREP members take away from your leadership example?
I want them to be prepared for anything. Real estate agents, in general, don’t plan ahead enough for market shifts. I want people to work hard, envision their destinies and make a plan to set things in motion and achieve their goals.