What is NAHREP? NAHREP stands for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. My board of directors and I represent Atlanta as the champions of Hispanic homeownership in the city. As the chapter president for NAHREP Atlanta, my job is to advance sustainable Hispanic homeownership by educating the real estate professional who serves Hispanic homebuyers and sellers. We also promote Hispanic homeownership by advocating for public policy that supports the trade association’s mission.
My real estate journey began back in September 2013. After graduating college, my friend’s father approached me with an opportunity to join the mortgage division of Ameris Bank. A year and a half after joining Ameris Bank, I obtained my NMLS certification as a mortgage banker with no expectations, as I was still very green in the business. Little did I know about the fulfilling future that awaited me!
In August 2016, I attended my first networking event, where I met Neil Terc, the president-elect of NAHREP Atlanta. I approached Neil because I was very intrigued about an organization that catered to the Hispanic community. Neil was very kind and inclusive, he took his time to talk to me about the NAHREP mission, and introduced me to other NAHREP Atlanta members. The support and encouragement I received on Day 1 from NAHREP Atlanta was unlike anything I had ever experienced professionally. From that point on, I immersed myself with my newfound familia, and I knew I had to get more involved.
In 2018, I officially joined the NAHREP ATL Board of Directors as marketing director. My initial inclination to join the chapter was monetary based, but as I progressed through my first year on the board, I learned the impact and influence I could have on my community. My whole perspective changed after attending my first LATTITUDE Conference in San Diego in September 2018, when I met so many like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds, values and goals.
In 2019, NAHREP Atlanta was awarded Chapter of the Year by the national organization at its National Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. At the same time, president-elect of NAHREP Atlanta Jose Plascencia encouraged me to increase my involvement and to run for an executive position. After listening to Jose’s recommendation, I ran for sponsorship director, where I served two terms in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, I was finally elected vice president of the chapter, and in 2022, I became president of NAHREP Atlanta.
Apart from my involvement on a local level, I attend both the National Policy Conference in Washington and the LATTITUDE conference in San Diego every year. At these conventions, I have networked with countless real estate professionals from all over the country. Apart from the amazing networking opportunities, these conferences also host top-quality speakers, including two U.S. sitting presidents, state and federal elected politicians, multiple Fortune 500 CEOs, Grammy Award-winning artists, sports and entertainment figures, making it one of the largest conferences in the world to promote Hispanic homeownership and wealth.
As we wrap up the end of Hispanic heritage month, I can look back at my accomplishments in the last couple of years and say that I’ve made a difference in my community. NAHREP has had a huge positive influence in my life — I was appointed to Atlanta REALTORS® Association’s board this year and have been invited to sit on different diversity and inclusion committees with the Georgia Association of REALTORS®.
I’ve also participated in multiple speaking panels; the most memorable of which was when I was invited to speak in front of 600 Realtors at REALTOR Day at the Capitol. Without a doubt, NAHREP has helped my professional development and grown my business as a mortgage banker. Most importantly, after so many years of assimilating to “American” culture, NAHREP has helped me find my identity as a proud U.S. Latino and Colombian.
Today NAHREP is the largest Hispanic trade organization in the country with over 40,000 members across 100-plus chapters nationwide. In the next 20 years, Latinos are predicted to account for 70% of new home purchases. As Latino wealth increases at a pace three times the rate of the overall population, it is important for us as real estate professionals to understand the growing economic power of the U.S. Latino. NAHREP stands at the forefront of this movement, and I am orgulloso to say that here in Atlanta, we are part of a ripple effect of the impending Latino tidal wave that will continue to shape the U.S. economy.
After nearly a decade in the mortgage industry, I would not be the man I am today without the continued support of Ameris Bank and the amazing life and business lessons that I’ve gained with the Latino community. The relationships that I have built at NAHREP have not only increased my business network, but have also helped me form many lifetime friendships. I am proud to call my NAHREP Atlanta familia!