By CAITLYN BELCHER View Staff Writer Las Vegas Review Journal
From selling homes to constructing seismic rebar reinforcements, Realty One Group Realtors Susan Brock, David Morris, Mark Sivek and Chad Roberts and his wife, Sarah, are passionate about the housing industry.
Between closing deals in the valley, the real estate gurus financed and built a home in Esteli, Nicaragua, in December through Giveback Homes, a network of real estate professionals who contribute physically or financially to construct homes for families in need.
The network partners with Habitat for Humanity in Nicaragua; Las Vegas; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Orange County, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego; Dallas; Houston; Phoenix; Denver; and New York City.
“We decided that if we were going to be part of the program, we wanted to make the most impact, and building a house in Nicaragua did just that,” Brock said. “It was a bit of a stretch, but we like to push ourselves to learn more and be better people.”
In five days, the real estate agents placed about 600 cinder blocks and mixed about 1,500 pounds of cement by hand to construct a “core home,” a basic structure that allows families to eventually add on rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and more.
The 387-square-foot home contained a door, an outlet, a light and switch, two windows and no plumbing.
“The idea is not to give away a free house but to create an atmosphere for success,” Roberts said. “The recipients of these homes get educated in construction, personal finance, safety and sanitation and more. It’s not that we just gave them a house without plumbing. We gave them a structure to succeed and start a new life.”
Esteli resident Elba Paramo, 28, was selected by her community to receive the home. As a single mother of three, she was living in a home made of scrap wood and plastic tarps, according to Sivek.
Paramo worked selling food at her daughter’s school and made about$150 a month. In order to purchase land for a home, she saved $30 each month for five years.
“They told us that Nicaragua is the second-poorest country in terms of housing conditions. About 70 percent of people don’t have adequate housing,” Roberts said. “But despite that, we were so surprised to see that everyone was so happy and friendly and welcoming.”
Brock, Morris, Sivek, Roberts and Realtor Kristen Vuckovic are part of a business mastermind group, nicknamed No Excuses, that meets weekly to discuss real estate or “do something Las Vegas-related.” The idea to travel to Nicaragua was sparked when the group was approached by Giveback Homes.