Allentown L.E.A.D. coordinator, Real Estate Lab graduate

I’m currently a 24-year-old Latino here in Allentown. I graduated from Penn State in May of 2020. I was doing engineering at first, and I would be walking to a class for engineering. But I’d be walking, not motivated, to get to class. Why is everybody else walking to class, talking with friends, going to class? It looked like they knew what they were doing, and they wanted to be doing it. Whereas for me? I still felt lost. I felt uncertain that I wanted to pursue the degree. I still had friends, of course, at Penn State, but even then, they already knew what they wanted to do. I would ask them ‘How do you know?’ But again, those friends had parents who went to college and everything, so they kind of implemented what they did into them.

Right after college, I wasn’t thinking about real estate, I was just thinking about corporate America, I worked at Amazon over in Easton. I was an area manager for about half a year. Long story short, I didn’t enjoy it. So, I decided to apply here in Allentown at City Hall. So, I’m the program coordinator for the L.E.A.D program that the city has here for city residents. I’m enjoying it and loving it. There’s a lot of times when I felt rewarded, specifically by residents. I’m always getting ‘Oh thank you for helping, thank you for this, thank you for that,’ which I enjoy hearing from others. That means that I did my job.

It wasn’t until I got hit with my college debt, that it was like, dang. I’m not gonna be able to pay my college loan on one type of income. So, I started tapping into other stuff, like any commerce business that I have. Then, doing real estate just popped in through browsing on Instagram. I’ve seen a lot of investors doing real estate and I was like, wow, this can truly be a passive income. So that’s what motivated me, my debt.

So overall, the Real Estate Lab has given me all the tools and knowledge I needed to feel comfortable to even tap into real estate. It involves a lot of negotiating, running numbers, and essentially not getting misled by a potential seller whom you’re going to be purchasing a property from. So, with that being said, I had so many questions initially. Thanks to the lab, they were able to answer all my questions which in return made me feel much more confident getting into real estate. So, at the end of the three months’ worth of class, I was able to buy my first multifamily property in Easton, Pennsylvania, 30 minutes away from here. With that, I’m open to just keep compounding, you know, buying another rental property, a three to four-unit single-family home. I have a platform, essentially. I just want to build off of that.

Interviewed by Lily Kaplan ‘25, Will Kay ‘23, and Samantha Tempkin ‘25. Photo by Joe Romano ’23

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