Helping first-time homeowners, Spanish-speaking community
Growing up, PAULA VARGAS dreamed of buying and owning houses. Born and raised in Colombia in South America, she would constantly tell her siblings and mom about how one day, she’d have a house and fill it with people. When Vargas was eleven years old, her parents decided to move her and her family to Wilmington thanks to a refugee program and sponsorship from First Presbyterian Church in downtown Wilmington.
Nineteen years later, Vargas is still in Wilmington, but now she’s helping others buy houses.
Vargas’s journey to real estate started back in 2019 when she was working as the manager of a pawn shop for seven years. After doing a little bit of research about the home-buying process, she discovered the real estate agent’s role in the process, then wasted no time in obtaining her real estate license in 2020. Today, she is a broker with Tidal Realty Partners under eXp Realty.
“The pawn business is very similar to real estate,” Vargas says. “You’re helping somebody overcome something. It’s either selling their merchandise or selling a house or purchasing something. I was the manager, and I had to make sure the money was right at the end of the day, I had to make sure we were purchasing the right number of items, and that we were paying the customer the right amount — not too much, not too little.”
Just like at the pawn shop, Vargas sees a variety of clients. Sometimes, she might see a client that has a budget of $2 million. Other times, she’s working with a client who’s hoping to stay around $130,000. No matter where they stand, Vargas strives to provide good customer service and build a good relationships with her clients.
As for her favorite clients to work with, Vargas always finds herself drawn to first-time homebuyers or sellers. She also services the community’s Spanish-speaking population as a bilingual agent.
“I love first-time home buyers because they just don’t know how it works,” Vargas says. “It’s just teaching them how it works. I always tell them buying a house is scary and it should be scary because it’s a big investment. But if they trust the realtor enough to guide them, we can get to the finish line. At the end of the day, when you give them that key, it’s just priceless. They cry they scream, and they celebrate. I think that’s why it’s so close to my heart because it’s just their reaction.”
In addition to real estate, Vargas is a member of the Latin American Business Council, which has a vision to “promote accessibility for all the established Latino Businesses” in the Wilmington region.
Further, Vargas’ work as a realtor has earned her the eXp Realty ICON Agent Award, which is one of the most privileged statuses an agent can earn. Vargas is one of ten agents who received the award in North Carolina and was one of three women across the state to receive ICON status. The ICON Award is awarded to agents who achieve exceptional production goals, positively impact company culture, and serve as leaders in their field and uphold the core values of eXp Realty.
“I think growing up in Colombia helped me to not take anything for granted and work really hard,” Vargas says. “I don’t take anything for granted. I don’t take my clients for granted, I don’t take any of my experience for granted.”
To view more of photographer Logan Burke’s work, go to LoganBurkePhoto.com
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