The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals kicks of expanded strategy at annual convention this month

By Maria Patterson

Gary Acosta has an ambitious goal for his organization–one he has no doubt will be achieved.

“NAHREP established a goal to double the number of Hispanics in real estate and mortgage lending over the next 10 years,” explains Acosta, co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). “The goal is part of our Hispanic Wealth Project initiatives and necessary to adequately serve the needs of our growing population. Hispanics are expected to account for 55 percent of new household formations during the same 10-year period, making Hispanics, far and away, the largest source of new homebuyers in the coming years.”

NAHREP is currently the nation’s largest minority real estate trade association with over 20,000 members and 35 local chapters. Founded in 2000, the association has held a convention since its inception. This year’s National Convention & Latin Music Festival–taking place Sept. 20 – 22 in Chicago–will discuss the details of the Hispanic Wealth Project and much more. Featuring a full line-up of educational and networking opportunities, this year’s convention will also be infused with key elements of the Latino culture, from food to music.

Teresa Palacios Smith, 2015 NAHREP president and vice president of Business Development & Cultural Initiatives for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, explains that NAHREP’s original mission of increasing Hispanic homeownership has expanded to include a broader, more critical goal: sustainable wealth for Latinos.

“Gary and Ernie (Reyes, NAHREP cofounder)’s mission for the organization was to increase Hispanic homeownership by empowering the real estate professionals who serve the community,” explains Smith. “Sustainable homeownership is still a strong focus, but we have expanded that mission to help real estate professionals who serve the Hispanic community understand how to create wealth. In the last recession, Hispanics lost two-thirds of their wealth because almost all of their investments were in the equity of their homes. When the market tanked, so did their equity.”

Wanting to avoid a repeat scenario during future market fluctuations motivated NAHREP to introduce the Hispanic Wealth Project, Smith explains. The Wealth Project is a blueprint and a business plan to triple Hispanic household wealth in the next 10 years. NAHREP members will not only use this business plan to increase their own financial strength, but will also use the blueprint with their clients and thereby become not just their real estate professional, but a trusted financial advisor as well.

Capturing the Mission Live The 2015 Convention will reflect NAHREP’s expanded direction and also capture the essence of the Latino culture.

“During the last few years, NAHREP has focused on strengthening our chapter network, improving the value proposition for stakeholders, developing original educational content and attracting the best and brightest Latinos in the industry to our network,” says Acosta. “This conference is shaping up to be our largest to date with some of the best content we have ever produced. We expect a gathering of some of the best young entrepreneurs in the industry today with more energy and passion than you’ll find anywhere.”

In addition to rolling out the Hispanic Wealth Project in detail, this year’s convention will place a heavy emphasis on education. The invitation-only NAHREP Icons Mastermind Session, for example, offers top Latino real estate agents from across the country the opportunity to exchange ideas, business practices, and success tactics with other top producing agents.

A highlight of the 2015 NAHREP Conference will be a presentation by special guest speaker Darren Hardy, founder of SUCCESS magazine and author of “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster” (see sidebar). Hardy watched his father become a real estate entrepreneur after many years of service as a university football coach, and gain a financial independence the likes of which he had never seen.

According to Hardy, he and NAHREP share the same mission: to empower entrepreneurs and help them succeed.

“Each NAHREP member is a part of the 25 million existing business owners and the 100 million-plus would-be entrepreneurs,” says Hardy. “My goal is to create a worldwide movement (#JoinTheRide) in support of entrepreneurship. This makes NAHREP a huge part of my mission. What inspires me about NAHREP is the entrepreneurial drive of each of its members and NAHREP’s investment in their success. Together, we can help 10 million new entrepreneurs succeed.”

The Chicago convention will go a step further and incorporate strong cultural elements, an integral part of doing business in the Hispanic market. “In addition to the education, we’re making the event fun and exciting. This year, we are adding a Latin Music Festival and a Latin Food Festival & Closing Party as a culmination of three days of hard work,” explains Smith. “This allows members to see the difference in what we do compared to other real estate associations%u2026our energy and power.”

The Future of Hispanic Homeownership: Challenges and Opportunities NAHREP’s overarching goal for its members is to empower them to effectively serve this rapidly growing segment of the American population.

According to NAHREP’s annual report, The State of Hispanic Homeownership, Latinos are the fastest growing demographic in the United States and are already a majority in several states, including California and New Mexico. The purchasing power of Hispanics is $1.5 trillion and is expected to be at $2 trillion by 2020.

“A Hispanic youth turns 18 every minute of every day,” says Smith. “These are our future REALTORS® and homebuyers. Hispanics will account for 50 percent of new homebuyers by 2020.”

To succeed with this growing consumer force, real estate professionals from all backgrounds will need to learn the nuances of the Hispanic culture and heritage, advises Smith, including the importance Latinos place on developing lasting relationships. “REALTORS® need to understand that when you work with a Hispanic first-time homebuyer, this is an opportunity that has the potential to continue for 30 years or more. Hispanics will continue to come back to you because they’re very loyal and they will refer you to everyone they know. That’s how tight-knit we are.”

While the ample opportunity is clearly undeniable, challenges to Hispanic homeownership persevere.

“Access to both credit and affordable housing inventory are the largest barriers to Hispanic homeownership growth,” Acosta explains. “These are macro issues that require cooperation from a large segment of stakeholders, industry leaders and government. NAHREP is helping to address these issues by creating broader awareness through our annual State of Hispanic Homeownership Report and our grassroots advocacy efforts.”

“Our primary goal is to continue to advocate in Washington, D.C., and talk to congressmen on both the national and local level to ensure that Hispanics have consistent access to low down-payment mortgage options,” adds Smith. “We also need to increase our housing inventory and increase the number of Hispanics working in the real estate and mortgage industries.”

Bright Future, Big Goals Despite the challenges and potential barriers to Hispanic homeownership, Acosta believes continued growth in this market is attainable%u2026and inevitable.

“Hispanics are passionate about homeownership and our economic clout is growing by the day,” says Acosta. “I have complete confidence that our industry will do what is necessary to serve the needs of this growing population. Our job at NAHREP is to help create the best environment possible for Hispanic homeownership growth and to guide the industry in the most efficient and sustainable way. The Hispanic market isn’t for everyone%u2026just the companies that want to be in business in the next five years!”

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Darren Hardy’s Top 3 Success Strategies

As the keynote speaker at NAHREP’s National Convention & Latin Music Festival, SUCCESS magazine founder Darren Hardy will impart invaluable strategies for making it big as a real estate entrepreneur. Here are his top three keys to success:

1. Discipline
“Discipline is the key to all success,” says Hardy. “Our nature in life is to take the easy or the comfortable way in everything we do. But success is seldom found on the path of least resistance. Success is only achieved when we march on the path of hard work and consistent focused effort. Discipline is a skill, not a talent. Discipline is a habitual process that becomes a character trait. We cannot be disciplined in big things and not in small things. It permeates every aspect of our lives%u2026or doesn’t. If you want success, you must first get control of yourself and become disciplined.”

2. Tracking
“Tracking is a simple exercise. It works because it brings moment-to-moment awareness to the actions you take in the area of your life you want to improve,” Hardy explains. “You cannot manage or improve something until you measure it. Every professional athlete and his or her coach track each performance down to the smallest minutiae. They know how to adjust their performances based on what they’ve tracked. At any given moment, I want you to know exactly how well you’re doing. Track yourself as if you’re a valuable commodity. Because you are. So, regardless of whether you think you’re aware of your habits or not (believe me, you’re not!), start tracking. Doing so will revolutionize your life, and ultimately, your lifestyle.”

3. Focus
According to Hardy, “The most important skill of the 21st Century will be learning to control your attention and keep your focus on what’s really important to you–your goals and the future of your family. To do that, you need insane, laser-like focus. Right now, so many other things are controlling your attention%u2026things unrelated to your goals, priorities, values and desired outcomes in life.

Here is the mastery skill I have learned from the best: a. Identify the few things that are most important, and b. Remove the noise, drain and distraction of everything else, because it is the “everything else” that is sabotaging your progress, stifling your potential and crippling your success. To learn more about how to do these two skills and to leverage your own productivity, visit