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In the following interview, we talk success with Leo Pareja, the NAHREP 2016 President-Elect.

Leo_ParejaLeo Pareja 
The Leo Pareja Team
Keller Williams Realty

Years in real estate: 13
Region served: Washington D.C. metropolitan area
Average market time: 45 days

When and why did you first form an agent team?
I went for leverage right out of the gate when I first entered real estate. Considering how broad the spectrum of human personality types is, it is almost impossible for a single person to do every part of the real estate business and do it well. By having a team made up of people with varied skill sets, I’m able to provide clients with the full range of services that make for an excellent customer experience.

You’ve achieved tremendous success in your 13+ years. What are the most important steps involved in that success?
In our industry, there is not only one way to succeed. I discovered in about my fifth year of selling real estate that multi-transactional business was the best path for me. While the average family moves about once every 7 – 9 years, providing for a single transaction, there are developers and investors who buy and sell much more frequently. So that’s where I concentrate my energy; going after business from developers and banks, which may account for anywhere from 5 – 15 listings at a time.

How does Keller Williams corporate support the success of your team?
Keller Williams provides excellent training and support. The culture is all about more people sharing responsibility so that the consumer as well as the agent benefit. In an industry famous for burnout, almost every one of my team members takes up to three weeks of vacation. We all cover for one another. In the end, it is a ton of fun.

What do today’s consumers need most from a real estate professional?
Today’s consumers need a professional to analyze the data. There is a wealth of information online, but what does it really mean? And how is each client impacted? As specialists, we answer those questions, we advocate for our clients and provide support, walking them through the process every step of the way.

Why is it important to now take on the role of 2016 President Elect for NAHREP?
I am passionate about NAHREP (The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals). In fact, I founded the Washington, D.C., chapter. Our mission is to create sustainable homeownership for Hispanics who took a disproportionate hit in the last housing downturn. Among other things, the group believes our present-day credit scoring model (FICO) is outmoded. The emphasis should be on the ability to pay a mortgage, rather than debt/credit levels. Our mission is to make sure that legislation is in place that covers everyone.

If you could only use one word to describe what you feel is most important to any successful real estate practice, what would it be?
Choice. Everything is choice. The most important thing to do is to learn to choose whatever hand you are dealt. For instance, in 2010, when the real estate market was imploding, I chose not to participate. I did not throw my hands up in the air and say, “Nothing is possible.” Instead, I looked at the whole picture, including what transpired in other business cycles, and saw opportunity. Starting in 2007, when I first sensed a shift, I began calling on large financial institutions that had mountains of foreclosed properties, and I asked, “How can I help?” So in 2010, when everyone realized what had happened in the market, I was already the dominant player.

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