Representatives from RE/MAX attend a private briefing at the White House on the current state of housing. From left: Luis Padilla, RE/MAX Oceanside Realty; Mike Reagan, RE/MAX LLC; Daisy Lopez-Cid, RE/MAX Premier Properties; Teri Blanco, RE/MAX LLC; Christian Fuentes, RE/MAX Top Producers; and Rachel Bruno, RE/MAX Unlimited.
By Stephanie Visscher
Hispanic homebuyers and sellers – and the agents who serve them – are a powerful force within the housing industry. Several RE/MAX agents and leaders, including President Geoff Lewis, made this point clear during the NAHREP Housing Policy & Hispanic Lending Conference in Washington, D.C.
The main purpose of the conference was to advocate for better lending practices that would open the door to homeownership for 2 million more Hispanics in the U.S. Of course, in the complicated process of securing a mortgage, the role of an agent as a trusted advisor can be indispensable to homebuyers. Lewis drove home the importance of more inclusive policies while speaking on a panel of franchise leaders.
“Home ownership isn’t just the American dream, it’s part of the American fabric,” Lewis said, adding that it’s a way for immigrants to go from being outsiders to becoming insiders. “Home ownership promotes stronger families, better schools, greater community involvement, better maintained properties and safer neighborhoods. These are goals and values of the Latino community. We want to help everyone become part of the American fabric because that makes us all better.”
The passion of RE/MAX Affiliates is one of the biggest drivers of the company’s continued work with NAHREP. More than 200 RE/MAX agents belong to the organization, and several hold high-ranking leadership positions. Luis Padilla of RE/MAX Oceanside Realty in Miami, for instance, is a new member of the the NAHREP Board of Directors. He joins fellow board member Daisy Lopez-Cid of RE/MAX Premier Properties in Kissimmee, Florida, who is also a leader in the organization’s chapter training program. And across the country, many more RE/MAX agents are leading their local chapters.
Featuring esteemed speakers such as Julian Castro, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a private White House briefing for select attendees, the conference provided a rare opportunity to initiate change at the highest level of government. NAHREP was able to secure 50 appointments with key lawmakers, including Senator John McCain, providing attendees another incredible chance to make their voice heard.
“This conference really caused me to step outside my comfort zone and lobby on Capitol Hill for causes that matter to me,” said Chantelle Limon of RE/MAX Integrity in Camarillo, Calif. “NAHREP’s mission extends to everyone from every culture and background, not just Latinos. I’m proud that RE/MAX is an active participant the organization’s initiatives and activities.”
Standing behind Hispanic home owners, buyers and real estate professionals is an important, forward-thinking business strategy. According to the 2015 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, which NAHREP released during the conference, the rate of homeownership for Hispanics rose by 2% in 2015. It is projected that between 2010 and 2030, Hispanics will account for 52 percent of the country’s new homeowners.
“Hispanics are family-oriented people who deeply value home ownership,” said Mike Reagan, RE/MAX Senior Vice President of Business Alliances and a member of the NAHREP Board of Governors. “There’s an incredible opportunity out there for our agents – and we want to help them take advantage.”