Lydia R. owns A Plus Real Estate Services. She has been a real estate agent for the past 30 years, and a real estate broker for the last two. Lydia got into the real estate business after buying her first home. She says a poor understanding of the business side of home buying made her feel vulnerable throughout the process and motivated her to educate herself. She took courses in real estate management, which eventually led to her becoming a certified real estate agent. Lydia holds a bachelors degree from Texas State University, from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2005.
Being a certified real estate broker means she has the credentials to manage her own real estate business without operating through a middleman. Lydia has a small office with a conference room where she can meet with clients. She says that meeting a potential client is much like an interview, and that having an office gives her business professional credibility. In addition to herself, Lydia currently has one real estate agent that works for A Plus Real Estate.
When Lydia decided to start A Plus Real Estate, she wanted to do it alone, without any outside financing. This strained her resources. Early on, she invested too much of the company’s revenues back into the business, assuming she could pay herself with future business transactions. Overextended, she found herself in a bind when business temporarily slowed. She soon realized paying cash for everything was not practical, and decided it would be prudent to take out a small loan to help cover operating expenses.
She first heard of ACCION Texas-Louisiana years ago through a San Antonio Express-News article written about the organization and its CEO, Janie Barrera. Lydia found the article inspiring and saved it. When she decided to apply for a loan, she remembered the article and decided to apply through ACCION Texas-Louisiana.
Lydia never wants her business to grow to the point that it costs her customers quality of service. She says she would someday like to have 10 real estate agents with A Plus Real Estate, but says she does not want to overextend herself and wants her business to grow naturally. This summer, she expects to be ready to hire an additional two agents.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.