Today in our “Meet the Agent” series we get to know Hugo Torres of CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes in Monrovia, CA.
In addition to his real estate chops, Hugo is also an active user of social media, a fitness and adventure junkie (just like our CEO Rick Davidson) and bought his first home after a landlord wouldn’t allow him to keep his pet iguana in the apartment.
C21: How did you first get into real estate?
HT: My fiancée and I had purchased our first condo and the experience with the real estate agent was lack luster. This was at the time when e-commerce was being positioned to solve all consumer needs and we used an online brokerage which is now no longer in existence.
Seeing as how the e-commerce company I worked for was experiencing its own challenges as a result of the tech bubble bursting, I decided that I would focus my efforts on the real estate industry and provide folks the levels of service that I felt we had been denied during our own purchase.
My first job in real estate was with a prominent CENTURY 21 office where I was hired as the administrative assistant to the broker and her private team of real estate professionals. The years spent with that office where formative as I encountered hundreds of transaction challenges and learned how to overcome objections from a Hall of Fame agent with the CENTURY 21 System.
C21: Do you remember your first sale?
HT: I was 27 years old, my license was just a few weeks old and my client was a feisty entrepreneur who had laser-focused expectations of how his home would be sold starting with his insistence of using his own listing and purchase agreement contracts that he had drafted on his word processor. The sale turned out to be a tightrope of negotiations and emotions as we overcame an overzealous buyer’s agent and the death of a beloved cat during the sale. Ultimately, the home was sold and my client eventually referred me to several of his friends over the years.
C21: When you bought your first home, what made you fall in love it?
HT: My fiancée and I loved our pet iguana and after our apartment manager had a change of heart about reptiles at the complex we needed to find a place to call our own. We fell in love with our apartment because it had an extra bedroom that Indiana-Bones could call his own.
C21: What was the first big furniture purchase you made for the place?
HT: One of the first things we bought for our first condo was a couch. We saved for a few months and bought us a $500 set that was eventually donated to my sister when she went to college. We used to call it, the “magic couch” because you could sleep in it for ours and it was better than any fancy bed out there.
C21: When did you join the CENTURY 21 System?
HT: I was in my early 20s and seeking to make a difference in the real estate industry. I have been affiliated with just three CENTURY 21 offices in this field and I can’t see myself working with any other brand. People describe me as “bleeding gold” and I tend to agree.
C21: Your area of focus is Monrovia, California. What makes this real estate market special and unique?
HT: Los Angeles County is a densely populated area and sometimes people loose themselves in the urban jungle. Monrovia and the cities surrounding it which make up the San Gabriel Valley tend to have the “small-town” charm that I missed growing up. Here, people know one another. Our Chamber of Commerce is tight-knit, your children’s school teacher is someone you’ll run into at our Friday downtown market and the community comes together in the thousands to see the fireworks at our library.
C21: If I had only one day in Monrovia, what are the three things I must see/do?
HT: Hike to the Monrovia Canyon Falls and enjoy the forest that our city owns for the public’s enjoyment, visit our new state of the art library and take a stroll down Myrtle Avenue on Friday’s festive Farmers Market and have a CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes agent take you for a tour of Monrovia’s unique homes and architecture.
HT: An entrepreneurial spirit, a true care for people and a gift for using one’s resources to their utmost.
C21: Our company mantra is “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” How do you embody the mantra in your day-to-day work?
HT: Our team and I challenge ourselves each and every day to better our systems and make them more efficient for the benefit of our clients. That is why several of use iPads, carry high-end digital cameras, work on relevant blogs and carry the best phones at our hip. The point is to provide the best information in the quickest frame of time to a new consumer who is more astute than ever.
C21: You are quite social media savvy. We couldn’t help but notice you have your Twitter account (@HugoRealtor) linked to Foursquare and Instagram. How are you using these social media channels for business?
HT: I’ve been privy to hundreds of homes over the years and over that time I have seen wonderful examples of design, charm and character. People can be so creative in their abodes and before social media, real estate professionals were amongst the few professions who had access to these secrets. By sharing the information through these services, I can share my unique take on what makes a house a home, like the special nooks that can’t be described but that people fall in love with
Also, our commitment to today’s seller is to position their home to buyers in new and innovative ways. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+ and Instagram help us achieve this promise.
C21: If you could give one piece of advice to a young person starting out in the real estate business, what would it be?
HT: Stay the course and use the tools made available to you consistently. They’ve made the right choice getting into the industry and an even better choice by joining CENTURY 21, now it’s the time to go to work and share with the world their new career step. Others may try to discourage you. Don’t let them. Listen to your broker/manager and stay the course and use the tools our brand provides for you.
C21: Word on the street is you are quite the adventure junkie, just like our CEO Rick Davidson! What do you love about outdoor challenges like white water rafting and glacier hiking? Do you have your next outdoor trip planned?
HT: My next goal is to run the Los Angeles Marathon. Since mid-2011 I have been training for the event next year and I’ll be representing my family there proudly. This year I have run in Alaska and Big Bear, CA, completed a race in the top 20 in Southern California and continue to challenge myself. I believe that being physically fit is correlated to success in our industry. A healthy body means more enthusiasm towards our clients and their affairs.
C21: You developed a passion for photography through taking images of your listings. What is your favorite place/person/thing to shoot?
HT: Like homes, people are unique and I particularly care for the charm and character people wear on their faces. Therefore, a few years ago I took on the project of photographing each and every agent that joins our brokerage. Typically these shots are used for social media pages and our company website. Also, as being an active participant in our community you’ll usually find my camera and I at Chamber of Commerce mixers, Halloween Haunts, Spring Festivals, 4th of July celebrations, inaugurations and much more. It gives me great pride to see my photos on the web and have community folks use them to show what life is like in this great city of the San Gabriel Valley.