National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Oklahoma chapter is formed

Nosotros somos (en ingles: “We are”) the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals,” it says on the national website, and the new local chapter adds: “Nosotros somos in Oklahoma.”

The group, which goes by NAHREP for short, was formed to champion homeownership among Hispanic people, said Glen Hubbell, marketing director and an agent with eXp OKC Realty.

The local chapter has about 60 members representing different real estate-related businesses. Realtors are encouraged to attend NAHREP Oklahoma’s Summer Salsa Mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 27 at the Chesapeake Central Boathouse, 732 Riversport Drive.

Hispanic people make up 7 percent of homeowners in the metro area, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors. Spanish speakers face barriers when trying to buy property, so the Realtors are joining NAHREP Oklahoma in recruiting Spanish-speaking real estate professionals.

“I was helping Latino clients buy a home. We came across challenges in finding bilingual lenders,” Hubbell said. “The buyers needed translators, and not all title companies have Spanish-speaking individuals.”

The Realtors said the number of Latino homeowners in Oklahoma City is expected to double in the next five years.

“My hope is to use the expertise from Realtors in NAHREP Oklahoma to help Hispanic families achieve the American dream,” said Hubbell, who grew up in Del Rio, Texas, west of San Antonio on the U.S.-Mexico border. He moved to Oklahoma eight years ago after several years in Los Angeles.

The language barrier is just the most obvious obstacle to Hispanic homeownership.

“Personally, working with Hispanics, I see that when I send them to a lender or to an inspector, if they don’t get that contact of, you know, the Hispanic culture, sometimes it’s hard to work with them,” said Andrea Jalaff, vice president of NAHREP Oklahoma and an agent with eXp OKC Realty.

“It is good for us to educate all the real estate industry, everyone related to it, to provide the same service as others and to make sure they can have bilingual employees,” she said.

Some real estate agents aren’t familiar with “documentation that maybe the Hispanic requires, and they tell them, ‘Oh, no, you can’t buy,’ just because they don’t have that knowledge,” said Jalaff, who is from Colombia and moved here nine years ago after several years in Florida.

“So we want to educate the Realtors to know all the opportunities and chances that the Hispanic has to buy a home,” she said.

Others, in addition to real estate agents, could use some guidance on how to deal with Hispanic clients, Jalaff said.

“Let’s say lenders. How can you provide more opportunity, be somehow more flexible, with the Hispanic community? I say flexible because sometimes maybe some of them don’t have Social Security, but they have an (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number),” she said.

Other things lenders should consider include underwriting based on multiple incomes in a single household with an extended, multigenerational family, which requires familiarity with Latino family customs, she said.

Jalaff said Oklahoma lenders also should reconsider their reluctance to loan to qualified out-of-country investors.

On the other hand, Jalaff said, NAHREP Oklahoma could help encourage Hispanic real estate agents to expand their marketing beyond the familiar.

“Usually, they tend to just go with the Hispanic clients, and we want to show them ways that they can … achieve (in) those other markets and be successful,” she said.

‘A different ballgame’

Hubbell said it was time for an Oklahoma chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

“As we see the potential for homeownership rise, particularly among the millennials, within the next couple of years, we saw reports where 50 percent of the millennial homebuyers are actually going to be Latino. That is staggering.”

Hubbell pointed to an Aug. 15 class on diversity, to be offered to Realtors and others by the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, as more evidence that the marketplace is ready to adapt to demographic changes.

“For many, many, many years, people thought we didn’t need diversity classes because we have fair housing (laws),” he said. “That is such a different ballgame.

“They’re going to be able to break down misconceptions about different stereotypes and (provide) better understanding of what it means to deal with different cultures and different people, different looks, and those kinds of things. I think that’s going to be monumental in business in Oklahoma.”

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