By: Saraana Jamraj
Residents of Tamarac may be familiar with Elvin Villalobos. After all, he was almost the mayor— after losing the 2018 election by a mere 395 votes. However, away from the political realm, Villalobos has found another way to serve his community — as a real estate agent.
Born in Nicaragua, and raised in Miami, Villalobos, 35, moved to Tamarac in 2015 and buying a home with his wife and daughters.
It was while buying that home that he recognized how complicated and frustrating the experience could be. This experience inspired him to take on a career path he had long been curious about.
He said that as a homebuyer, there were so many gaps and miscommunications, and he realized he could help others.
“I always want to help everybody. That’s always been a thing about me,” said Villalobos.
He recalled passing the RE/MAX InterAction office, driving down Commercial between 2012 and 2015. Every time, he thought of it as somewhere he’d like to work one day.
In 2017, after a five-year career at Keiser University, he decided to take the leap, earning his real estate license that year. However, he put those plans on the backburner after deciding to run for mayor.
After losing the election, he found he still wanted to serve his community in some capacity.
So, he picked real estate back up again but was careful in choosing where he wanted to go.
In 2019, Villalobos ended up working at RE/MAX InterAction, because of their focus on the aspects of real estate he most prioritized. He was particularly inspired by his employer and mentor, David Mohabir.
“The reason why I chose RE/MAX InterAction was that I love the mentorship of the owner —I chose this office because of their values, their commitment to giving back, and how community-oriented they are,” he said.
Just recently, their office hosted a toy drive and filled up a truck to provide supplies to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian.
And, that’s not the only way Villalobos gets to help. Primarily, he helps people during their most confusing, exciting, and chaotic time of their lives: buying or selling a home.
“Selling and buying a house is very emotional, especially with older folks who have lived in their homes for decades. We get people crying,” he said.
They’re not the only ones having an emotional experience, he said. As young couples and first time home buyers often cry as well.
To better understand the unique challenges older home buyers and sellers might face, he chose to take on the senior real estate specialist designation, which focuses on what they go through.
“They teach you how to help them manage that transition of their life,” Villalobos said.
Right now, senior citizens make up the majority of his clientele, as seniors account for a third of the population in Tamarac. And he’s been working as hard for them as he can, up to 85 hours a week.
As he continues this work, he notes that the clientele is changing, as he’s noticed younger people move into Tamarac from other parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties and is doing his best to attend to the needs and concerns of each client.
“I love resolving concerns. I take on questions personally because I want to be able to relieve those concerns people have,” said Villalobos.
And, he’s comfortable in that role. Even after running for mayor, and taking on more responsibility in real estate, he’s accustomed to leadership positions. He was the Homeowner’s Association President in his previous community, Banyan Lakes, and is currently the HOA President in his new one, Westwood 3, as well.
He’s also a member of the National Associations of Realtors Legislative Think Tank, the National Association of Realtors Property Management Breakout Group, National Associations of Realtors State and Local Taxation Breakout Group, and the National Associations of Realtors YPN Advisory Committee. He also serves as a Census Ambassador and a member of the Tamarac Historical Society.
“God has instilled in me the heart of a servant,” he said.
Disclaimer: RE/MAX InterAction Realty, David Mohabir, and Elvin Villalobos are advertisers on Tamarac Talk
- Saraana Selene Jamraj is a writer, activist, and a student pursuing her master's degree in mass communications at Florida International University.
She's currently the communications manager at The Salt Box in Parkland and has lived in Coral Springs since 2004.
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