Photo left to right: IAR Governmental Affairs Director Greg St. Aubin, City Clerk of Chicago Miguel del Valle, Dan Carrillo of The Gonzales Group, and IAR Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell

On April 8th, IAR hosted the first in an annual series of Multicultural Summits for REALTORS® at the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Brook. The focus of this year’s summit “Understanding the Latino Market,” held during Fair Housing Month, was designed to help REALTORS® gain a better understanding of working with future Latino homebuyers and sellers.

Using demographic information and testimonials from Latino REALTORS® and other keynote speakers, the goal of the one-day event was to assist REALTORS® advance their knowledge of working with Latino clients and gain a further understanding of barriers to homeownership for this demographic population base. Consider these facts:

  • The Latino population in Illinois is close to two million representing about 15% of the population.
  • Chicago has the fourth largest Latino population in the United States.
  • Latinos will make up 29% of the population in the U.S. in 2050.
  • They are homebuyers of today and tomorrow with the median age of Latinos at age 25.

Guest speakers included Dan Carrillo, Managing Partner of The Gonzales Group, a leading business consulting and research firm in the field of multicultural markets for real estate and the financial services community. City Clerk of Chicago Miguel del Valle was the keynote luncheon speaker. Del Valle has served as City Clerk of Chicago since 2006. Prior to that he served for 20 years as a Illinois state senator. He founded and chaired the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and founded the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees.

An experienced REALTOR® panel brought insight to working with Latino clients. Panel members included: Gaspar Flores, broker/owner of Su Familia Real Estate in Chicago; Loretta Alonzo, broker/owner of Century 21 Alonzo and Associates in LaGrange Park; Juan Del Real, broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Del Real in Cicero; Debbie Maue, broker/associate with Jameson Real Estate in Chicago; and Alex Chaparro, moderator, Chairman of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

Here are some takeaway suggestions from the Summit.

  • The U.S. is becoming an internationally culturally diverse population more so each day. How is your business catering to the changing demographics of our population base?

“There is a growing demographic of Latinos that needs to be served. Tomorrow it may be a different demographic. REALTORS® understand the need to meet the needs of this changing demographic as we are the ones who can bring it home,” Alex Chaparro, Chairman, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

  • Latinos will continue to acquire wealth through property. Many do not believe it is possible to own a home. You need to make them aware of programs designed to assist them. Many first-time buyers may lack the confidence to directly approach a real estate professional.
  • Homebuying decisions are influenced by Latino cultural nuances where decisions are familial and extend beyond husband and wife. Learn to understand the culture—culture is a mental structure that shapes how we view the world. Culture is the basic cause of a person’s wants and behavior. If you are trying to establish a relationship with the Latino community and do not understand the culture, you are a step behind.

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