El Paso Times: Top Realtor

David Acosta loves his wife and daughters. But selling homes is a very close second.

“I love it (real estate). My family first, and riiiiiiiiiiiiiight next to them is real estate,” Acosta said as he broke into a broad smile last week in his West Side office.

“I like everything about it. It’s exciting to get to know people every single time. It’s great to wake up — you don’t know what’s going to happen. But something fun is going to happen, and you’re going to do some business.”

That passion for selling homes has worked magic for Acosta, 37, who’s been selling homes for 8 years.

He’s been the top-selling residential Realtor in El Paso for the past three years and among the top agents in the nation.

Acosta was ninth in the nation last year for residential sales transactions — 531. He was 43rd in the nation for sales volume — $79.3 million, according to a report compiled by Real Trends Inc., a Denver real estate consulting company, in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal.

“In my 25 years in the (real estate) business, I never met anyone more successful than him,” said Douglas Van Nortwick, broker-owner of ERA Sellers, Buyers and Associates, where Acosta has worked 3åyears.

It’s also impressive that his sales have increased as the real estate market has slowed, Van Nortwick said.

Acosta accounted for 20 percent of his real estate firm’s revenues last year, Van Nortwick reported.

Acosta is not a high-pressure salesman, Van Nortwick said.

He’s easy to like; he’s gifted at gaining people’s trust and loyalty; he embraces technology, but doesn’t lose sight that real estate is an intimate transaction where relationships are key; and he’s a very hard worker, Van Nortwick said.

He also gets help from his team of three assistants, who do marketing, office work and client relations.

Eduardo Fernandez, owner of Edward’s Homes, a fast-growing El Paso homebuilder, said he met Acosta two years ago when he was searching for a sales agent to sell his homes. Fernandez was impressed by Acosta’s sales record, and he liked his personality.

“We feel this energy from him,” said Fernandez, who made Acosta his exclusive listing agent.

“He has a lot of confidence in himself. He believes in himself, and all his believing comes through,” Fernandez said. “He is very professional, and very smart, and very honest with us.”

Real estate wasn’t the career Acosta had in mind when he received a degree in 1996 in international business from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Juárez. He and a friend started a company that sold water treatment systems in San Diego, and later in Monterrey, Mexico.

“I was a horrible salesman,” Acosta said of his days selling water treatment systems. “There’s not even words to describe how bad I was.”

Acosta moved to El Paso in 2002, got married and decided to sell real estate.

“I had to find something to do, and I always heard there was a lot of potential in the real estate industry,” Acosta said. “It’s one of those things that there’s always a need for; a product everyone needs, but not everybody has. It gets used up and replaced, and you can sell it over and over again. It’s one of the principles of marketing.”

His salesmanship improved by the time he started selling real estate in April 2003, Acosta said. But the Juárez native had to learn how the real estate market works in the United States, he said. He learned early that financing is a key element.

One of Acosta’s key to success is to sit down with buyers in about a 30-minute counseling session to let them know how he works, find out about their expectations and determine whether they can qualify for a loan. Sometimes that means figuring out how someone can clean up his or her bad credit, he said.

Acosta and his small staff bird-dog deals daily to make sure that the loan process is moving along and that the buyer is doing what the lender needs to get a loan closed.

Another key to Acosta’s success is selling a lot of new homes. He’s had a long relationship with Saratoga Homes, but deals with several other builders, including his fairly new relationship with Edward’s Homes, he said. He chooses companies that are building quality homes, he said.

“A lot of people prefer new homes,” Acosta said. But the competition is fierce in the new home market, he noted. “Most of the (new) homes are concentrated on the same places. Everybody is out there going after the same customers.”

Acosta began his real estate career focusing on buyers, but the majority of his sales are now tied to properties in which he is the listing agent. He still relishes dealing with buyers, from first-time buyers to a doctor looking for an $800,000 home, he said. He especially likes the challenge of dealing with buyers who have been turned down for home loans and are referred to him, he said. Most of his clients come through referrals from past clients and loan officers, he said.

Even though Acosta sits atop the El Paso real estate market, he said, being the top seller isn’t his aim.

“The goal is not necessarily to be number one, but to improve,” Acosta said. “I’m just making sure I do better than last year. I like the slogan from Lowe’s (home improvement stores). ” ‘Never stop improving.’ They stole it from me.”

Vic Kolenc may be reached at vkolenc@elpasotimes.com; 546-6421.

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