December Cover Story: Change Agents


Above: Standing (left to right): Peggy Pratt and Michelle Fermin, CENTURY 21 North East. Sitting (left to right): Oralia Herrera, CENTURY 21 T.K. Realty, Inc.; Eva Angelina Romero, CENTURY 21 Capital Properties; Nora Aguirre, CENTURY 21 Americana

According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals®’ (NAHREP®) 2023 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, Hispanic homeownership rates have increased 49% over the last eight years. 

The only demographic to post eight continuous years of steady homeownership gains, the resilience and persistence of Hispanic homebuyers continues to elevate Hispanic homeownership in America. In addition, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2023 Member Profile, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 10% of REALTORS®, and 62% of its members are female—presenting a unique opportunity for Latina real estate professionals to lead the way as the Hispanic homeownership market continues to evolve.

Supporting the next generation of diverse real estate leaders, the CENTURY 21 brand is a top choice for Latina real estate professionals who are actively committed to fostering equitable representation within the profession, ensuring that this impactful conversation endures.

Between 2018 and 2022, the CENTURY 21 Empowering Latinas program awarded more than 250 Latina entrepreneurs with educational stipends to pursue their real estate license education. Along with powerful motivational events such as the “IMPARABLES” virtual symposium in 2022, the CENTURY 21 brand continues to shine a spotlight on exceptional Latina leaders within the CENTURY 21 system. 

To be IMPARABLE—or unstoppable—is characterized as being an ambitious visionary who will go above and beyond to build a successful business. The Latinas within the CENTURY 21 system not only take pride in their affiliation, but also in setting new standards and shaping the future of the Hispanic housing market with their unwavering spirit and leadership. 

As role models, they actively enable and inspire fellow Latinas to excel in the industry. 

Here, meet five Latina powerhouses who are transforming real estate, leading the charge as the industry sizes up the next big market opportunity. 

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“My way of giving back is mentoring and helping other people achieve the dream of owning a home.” -EVA ANGELINA ROMERO,
Broker/Owner,
CENTURY 21 Capital Properties

Pushing to the next level

On a mission to challenge what’s expected and to transform the real estate experience for consumers, the CENTURY 21 brand and its pursuit of excellence is an unstoppable force.  

Emphasizing learning and coaching, promoting diversity and enhancing community engagement, the brand is building a path for affiliated brokers and agents to push themselves to the next level.

“One of the things I love about being a part of the CENTURY 21® network is the empowerment factor,” says Eva Angelina Romero, broker/owner of CENTURY 21 Capital Properties in Nashville, Tennessee—who celebrated her one-year anniversary affiliation with the brand last month. 

“As a Latina entrepreneur, the brand makes me feel like I can do anything. They’re always pushing me to the next limit, the next level,” adds Romero, who recently returned from an historic brand conference in Mexico bringing together CENTURY 21 affiliates from throughout Latin America to connect with system members from the United States—an event that fostered international connections that continue to inspire and drive growth across borders.

Providing tools and opportunities to continue pushing the bounds, the CENTURY 21 brand is committed to ensuring that the Latina leaders within the CENTURY 21 network have everything they need to break the barriers for future generations of Hispanic real estate entrepreneurs. 

“The brand itself does so much to make sure that we’re seen and heard, and that completely fuels our passion and our drive,” adds Nora Aguirre, CEO of the Nora Aguirre Team with CENTURY 21 Americana in Las Vegas, Nevada, and 2024 president-elect of NAHREP®.  

“Naturally passion-driven, we’re here to contribute, to take care of others and support the contribution,” adds Aguirre. “When we feel like we’re getting that in return, we feel acknowledged and empowered to pay it forward.”

Reshaping the real estate landscape

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“Being able to help clients build a strong financial foundation is so important. The education that we’re bringing, along with the team infrastructure, allows us to take someone from being a renter all the way to being an investor and really thinking about real estate as a wealth- building vehicle.”  -NORA AGUIRRE,
Team Leader, the Nora Aguirre Team,
CENTURY 21 Americana;
2024 President-Elect, NAHREP®

 

Embodying the spirit of determination, innovation and leadership, Latina brokers and agents are reshaping the real estate landscape by carving out their own paths while inspiring others to do the same.

“The CENTURY 21 Latina Powerhouse represents a self-made entrepreneur, who is the head of her family, and who is not just empowering herself, but everyone around her,” says Peggy Pratt, a REALTOR® and team leader of the Pratt Properties Team with CENTURY 21 North East in Danvers, Massachusetts. 

Having purchased her first home at 21, Pratt points to wanting to provide her children a better future as the ultimate motivation on her quest to becoming an imparable force in the industry. 

“Early on, it was difficult to juggle family and business—and to be everywhere at the same time,” explains Pratt. “I had responsibilities at home, and there was a level of guilt when I was out of the house for so many hours and the kids were home with a nanny.”

“As Latina women, we hold ourselves to a very high standard when it comes to family, and it’s very difficult to lead a balanced life,” concurs Aguirre, who has felt from a young age the need to set an example for younger family members who look up to her as a role model. 

“There’s a level of hesitancy when it comes to making certain decisions or pushing forward professionally, because that means time away from family. And as a Latina, you’re very involved with the whole family. You’re an aunt, a sister, a mother—and you have a role to play in all these people’s lives, so the challenge is balancing it out.”

When the market crashed back in 2008, Michelle Fermin—REALTOR® and team leader of the Fermin Group with CENTURY 21 North East—pivoted to focus solely on Hispanic homeowners who didn’t understand their options and were instead walking away from their homes. 

“I had to take a really hard look at my business, where the market was going as well as my community,” says Fermin. 

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“The biggest challenges I’ve had were within my head, when I found myself thinking that I couldn’t do this because I was a single mom or I lacked the education. By surrounding myself with people I looked up to, I was able to surpass these challenges and come up with plans to succeed.” -MICHELLE FERMIN,
REALTOR®/Team Leader, the Fermin
Group, CENTURY 21 North East

“The biggest challenges I’ve had were within my head, when I found myself thinking that I couldn’t do this because I was a single mom or I lacked the education,” she explains. 

“By surrounding myself with people I looked up to, I was able to surpass these challenges and come up with plans to succeed,” adds Fermin, who was selling 150 homes a year by herself before starting a team back in 2018. 

“Latina real estate professionals open their own brokerages or step into team leader positions and bring more Latinos into the business by sharing their own experience,” says Pratt, who attributes her success to her relentless drive, self-motivation and consistency. 

“No matter what’s happening in real estate, whether the market is up or down, consistency is what has made me successful in the business,” adds Pratt, a firm believer in the notion that the American Dream of homeownership is for everyone. “It’s this fuel, or this passion, that I have for homeownership and the self-driven motivation to get ahead in life.”

With a deep sense of gratitude for both her clients and her business, and a commitment to doing things better for her customers, Aguirre views the real estate business as a vehicle for helping people build wealth. 

“Being able to help clients build a strong financial foundation is so important,” says Aguirre. “The education that we’re bringing, along with the team infrastructure, allows us to take someone from being a renter all the way to being an investor and really thinking about real estate as a wealth-building vehicle.”

Closing the wealth gap and bolstering Latino homeownership is what drives Oralia Herrera—broker/owner of CENTURY 21 T.K. Realty, Inc. in Addison, Illinois—to go to bat for each and every one of her clients. In fact, knowing that she and her clients are working together to achieve the American Dream is what keeps the adrenaline pumping. 

“In addition to guiding clients through the process of buying and selling property, I also help them create a short-, medium- and long-term goal for themselves,” says Herrera, encouraging clients to be open and honest about their current lifestyle, how they’re living and where they see themselves in the future. 

“I tell them to pretend like they’ve known me for a long time. I’m Oralia. I’m the aunt. I’m the sister. I’m a good friend. I’m whoever you want me to be,” says Herrera, who has made it her mission to ensure that no one experiences what her family went through as far as not understanding the home-buying process. 

“Nobody explained the process to us early on, and while my family had been in the United States for nearly 50 years at that point, there weren’t many role models who had purchased a house in our community that we could ask,” says Herrera, who made sure she became that person for both her community and sphere of influence. 

A true believer in leaning on people who have a better understanding of what she’s going through at any particular point in her career, Fermin points to mentorship and coaching as the single most important thing that has helped her push past her own self-limiting beliefs. 

Today, the Fermin Group is paying it forward in a big way through a junior mentorship program that dives deeper than logistics, as well as eight-week mentorship programs geared toward teaching high school seniors how they can benefit from a profession in real estate. 

“There’s nothing more meaningful than giving back,” agrees Romero. Coming from very humble beginnings, she was one of five children whose parents were never able to purchase a home. 

“My way of giving back is mentoring and helping other people achieve the dream of owning a home,” adds Romero, who points to a complete mindset shift for changing the trajectory of her life—from a young single mother to being afforded the opportunity to open her own business and continually elevate her business to the next level. 

“I realized early on that I needed to find my purpose in this journey, and it wasn’t about selling. It was about changing people’s lives and helping them navigate through one of the most important things in their lives,” says Romero. “Knowing that it’s possible and helping others achieve the same is so rewarding.”

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“There are a lot of changes taking place in the industry right now, so we need to be ready to embrace change. And while many people are leaving the market, it’s important to remember that Hispanic homeownership marketshare is still the same or bigger.” -ORALIA HERRERA,
Broker/Owner,
CENTURY 21 T.K. Realty, Inc.

Leading through an evolving environment

According to the Urban Institute’s 2021 “The Future of Headship and Homeownership” research report, Latinos are projected to contribute up to 70% of new homeownership growth in the U.S. over the next 20 years, making it more important than ever that Hispanic real estate professionals double down on their commitment to leadership as the industry evolves. 

While affiliating with a brand like CENTURY 21® is a good place to start for those who are proud of their Hispanic heritage and passionate about incorporating cultural elements into their businesses, staying ahead is all about being prepared for any and all shifts. 

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“At the end of the day, it’s all about being the calm within the storm and reminding everyone that this is a customer-based business that hinges on performance—and only the strong will survive.” -PEGGY PRATT,
REALTOR®/Team Leader,
Pratt Properties Team,
CENTURY 21 North East

“Today’s buyers are a lot more educated, so we’ve shifted our focus so that we can zero in on their motivation and come up with a plan that’s not only helpful for their current situation, but their situation five or 10 years down the road,” explains Fermin. 

Adapting to change and leveraging opportunities is also important. 

“There are a lot of changes taking place in the industry right now, so we need to be ready to embrace change. And while many people are leaving the market, it’s important to remember that Hispanic homeownership marketshare is still the same or bigger,” says Herrera, pointing to the inventory shortage we’re currently experiencing as the next opportunity for Latinas looking to make their mark on the residential real estate industry. 

“I think the next generation of Latinas will likely become builders generating affordable housing, which will put us in the position to not only sell homes, but build them as well,” she explains. 

As the industry contends with a plethora of exterior threats, maintaining a leadership position boils down to being loyal, practical and consistent. 

“At the end of the day, it’s all about being the calm within the storm and reminding everyone that this is a customer-based business that hinges on performance—and only the strong will survive,” says Pratt.

A Message From Mike Miedler, President & CEO of Century 21 Real Estate LLC:

“As the real estate market evolves with an increasingly diverse salesforce and consumer market, the CENTURY 21 brand recognizes the critical role that the Hispanic community plays in driving economic growth. We are proud to not just showcase the efforts we have committed to as a global industry leader, but more importantly, to celebrate the brand’s affiliates who are on the front lines of real estate making a true impact on their communities and helping to elevate the state of Hispanic homeownership. The five Latina leaders featured here exemplify the thousands of CENTURY 21 affiliated brokers and agents across the network who are helping to deliver the dream of homeownership to generations of Hispanic families across the country.

I always say my biggest inspiration as CEO are the people within the CENTURY 21 network and the real estate industry. And I’ve enjoyed seeing first-hand how the Hispanic community is making an impact on the industry. From attending the annual NAHREP® at L’ATTITUDE convention in Miami to being a part of first-ever CENTURY 21® Latin America conference in Mexico, I was inspired by the passion, dedication, and yes, IMPARABLE ambition of the industry’s Hispanic leaders—sales professionals from markets big and small coming together to share their expertise and collaborate on ways to help drive better representation within the industry and enhanced opportunities for today’s buyers and sellers.

We are proud to have so many CENTURY 21 system members taking on leadership roles across change-making organizations such as NAHREP® and local REALTOR® associations. The CENTURY 21 network is rich with Hispanic brokerage leadership mentoring the next generation of Hispanic sales professionals. Match that with the CENTURY 21 brand’s commitment to providing critical resources, insights and support, and you have the winning formula for these agents to seize the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead within this growing market.”

For more information, please visit https://www.century21.com or https://espanol.century21.com.





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