BY: TONY TAGLAVORE
He is a flight attendant, but basically works when he wants.
“For me, it’s been a huge blessing. It’s very flexible.”
He is a real estate agent, but right now, is focused on purchasing properties and listing them on websites like VRBO and Airbnb. “We buy them, furnish them, and then we rent them out short-term.”
And he doesn’t like to stay in one spot for very long. “I love to travel, so I am usually exploring some part of the country or the world.” Bermudez was born in the United States, but moved with his family to Puerto Rico when he was two years old. Bermudez’s father is from Puerto Rico, (his mother is Peruvian) and wanted to be closer to his side of the family. When Bermudez turned 20, he moved to Florida for a job opportunity. Bermudez eventually moved back to Texas “to get to know my roots.” But it was while attending a wedding in California that Bermudez met Brandon Magtalas. They have been together six years—married the past four years. After time in Wyoming and North Dakota, Magtalas’ military career—he is stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base—brought them back to Shreveport-Bossier.
But while in Texas, Bermudez became heavily involved in real estate. “My Mom, she was the one that did some research about real estate. I was like “Oh, that’s interesting.” Then, I read a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, that really opened up my eyes on the possibility of having the ability to grow wealth—starting with owning your home.”
So, Bermudez dedicated himself to helping fellow Latinos/Hispanics buy their own home. “There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to real estate. Whether or not you are legally living in the states, you can still legally qualify for a mortgage. Granted, the interest rates will be slightly higher because it’s a higher risk for the bank. But, with an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), you can get a loan approved. You can make a down payment, then acquire a property. Then, you can sell it down the road.”
Bermudez says buying a house in your name eliminates a lot of issues. “They chose to sometimes buy through a cousin, or an aunt, who has legal status. But getting things under (the buyer’s) name—it always becomes a bit convoluted. What happens when they die, or when they have to sell their property? Just put it under your name, and have a piece of the American dream, which is available for everyone.”
And when closing day comes, and the person Bermudez has helped, signs papers giving him or her home ownership?
“It’s beautiful. I’m a big believer in that where there is a will, there is a way. So, giving them a way to make it happen—it’s a beautiful process. At the end of the finish line, it’s like “You did it!”
Bermudez has also enjoyed helping fellow Latinos/Hispanics re-finance their home.
“Let’s say they bought a For Sale By Owner. If they have the opportunity and it comes up, I will ask, “Are you aware you can still legally refinance the property under your name, and get the third person (the original owner) out of the picture and have everything going through a bank, where you are the full owner?”
For Bermudez, the real estate work he has done is more than business. It’s personal. “It’s no coincidence that I connect with that person. For a lot of people, being able to be homeowners, it’s such a big dream. Being able to be part of that dream—it’s indescribable. It’s a period of their life that last a lifetime.”
No matter what Bermudez does, he sees himself as a teacher. He wants to help people, passing along his knowledge so that others may benefit the way Bermudez has.
“I feel that we are all here to learn, or to teach. As I grow, other people grow. As other people grow, I grow. Everything is part of the learning process. That’s why it is so fulfilling when I help someone else. It’s all about passing it forward. If I don’t pass knowledge, it becomes stagnant. It’s not part of the growing process.”