Liz Spies believes she’s meeting a necessary need in the community.

Spies, an agent for ReMax/Integrity Real Estate,  has been using her fluency in Spanish to provide services for potential Hispanic home buyers in the mid-valley.  It’s a service she believe is unique in the area.

“There aren’t many others, if any, who are doing that,” she said.

Spies and her husband Paul work as a team for ReMax. He works with English speaking clients while she works with the Spanish speaking population.

“About half of my clients are Hispanic,” Spies said.

By offering her service in their native language Spies believes she is breaking down barriers. She believes the Hispanic community has been underserved.

Spies said that many are hesitant to look at buying homes because they do not speak English fluently. Originally from San Diego, her family is from Mexico City and she grew up speaking Spanish and English. She also speaks Hebrew.

“There’s a large Jewish community which is where my family is from in Mexico City,” Spies said.

Most of her Hispanic clients are looking for residential property. She said that many are hoping to find land in rural areas.

In addition, most of her Hispanic clients are from Linn County. Albany is one of the most sought after locations.

One of the keys to success in the community is being honest. Spies says she is up front with her clients as to whether they qualify for what they want.

“They want someone they believe they can trust who understands their needs,” she said. “I hope I have opened a door to a trust level. They don’t want to be taken advantage of because of their lack of language skills.”

Spies said making sure the client is pre-approved is at the top of her list. Many are currently renting and want to build equity.

To help build her relationships she said she has worked with Tony Ontiveras and Chase and Jaime Guillen with County Financial Home Insurance, both also fluent in Spanish.

“They are great resources who help us get through each step,” Spies said. “It’s an emotional experience for them. Many are able to qualify for loans they didn’t think they could get.”

Hispanic home buyers often lack confidence when it comes to applying for loans according to Spies. 

“They just don’t think they can get them,” she said. “But there are great resources available they may not know about. We take them through each step.”

Spies has been working in real estate for just over a year and has just begun to tap into the Hispanic community. She said she hopes other realtors get involved as well.

“I think there was another in the area but she moved to a different city,” Spies said. “It’s helpful to a community that needs it. We need more people.”

Spies said loan rates are still low. She said that has been a factor in the increased interest from the Hispanic community.

“Their heritage is important to them. Being able to speak Spanish has been a great asset in relating to the community,” Spies said. “As buyers they are responding. We’re just starting to tap into  the market.”

Spies and her husband serve Linn and Benton counties and can be reached at  541-231-2354.

Steve Lathrop is the business reporter for the Albany Democrat-Herald. He can be reached at 541-812-6076 or by email at steve.lathrop@lee.net.

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