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Meet Poli and Claudia Hernandez of Policarp Team in Crescenta Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Poli and Claudia Hernandez.

Poli and Claudia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had just lost my job as Production Manager for Pillows of California. It was the early nineties. I really didn’t know what my next professional step would be and with five kids counting on me to bring home the proverbial bacon, the pressure to act was urgent.

My approach to problem-solving has always been to maintain calm, cool, and to think through situations rationally step-by-step. Even though my situation was urgent, I took a moment–three days in fact–to think it through and plot my next move. My options included going back to my birth country to start over (again), or staying in LA and moving into Real Estate full-time.

Going back to my country seemed like the right move. The reality of being laid off made going back home all the more alluring. Mexico beckoned me with far more comforts than I ever encountered in Los Angeles: it offered me the comfort of being able to speak my native language, a healthy network of familial support, robust business opportunities.

But going back wasn’t the right step for me. I hadn’t exhausted my options here in Los Angeles, and I knew that if I tried–if I gave my 110%–I could not fail. And while the thought of starting over in a new industry like Real Estate seemed like a step backwards, I knew I had to try: if I didn’t try, failure would be all but guaranteed. But in trying, there is no failure.

I decided to launch into the entrepreneurial enterprise of being a REALTOR, give it 110%, and never look back.

The learning curve was steep, especially back in the days when *everything* was by paper. All contracts were completed by hand and all signatures were wet. Google Maps didn’t exist so showing clients required expert understanding of the Thomas Guide.

Most of client meetings were in person–no text, no email. And since Socials didn’t exist, almost *all* advertising was word of mouth. That meant that your performance as an agent was all you had. There was no way to get around it. Your professional touch mattered: if you acted with integrity, efficiency, and a high degree of competence, your clients would recommend you. If you acted out of self-interest, managed your time poorly, or constantly dropped the ball, clients would take note and you wouldn’t really be referred.

As Gary Vee says, entrepreneurs choose between short-term returns that may come at any cost, or long-term legacy. Legacy requires honesty, self-awareness and tenacity. These qualities win out every time. They best-practices no matter the industry. They also ground a meaningful and fulfilling life–one where you can get fulfillment from professional growth *and* personal development. The two go hand-in-hand.

Today I’ve been practicing Real Estate for over 28 years. I’ve had the pleasure of solving really interesting/complex problems. I’ve mastered my negotiation style and client-advocacy practice. I’ve gotten to work with awesome, hard-working B2B professionals (some of whom I’ve known for years now). I have even, over these decades, developed my own property portfolio–a feat I am very proud of.

My future is bright: my daughter Claudia is joining me. I’m training her up in all my best-practices principles, and she’s working hard to develop our team brand and build exposure. It’s somewhat heart-warming that she’s joining me, since we’ve spent a decade sharing our favorite hobby of long-distance running and fitness. I can’t wait to see what the next decade will bring for us.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There will always be nay-sayers and want-to-bes. These people like to talk. In fact, sometimes they talk at fever pitch and non-stop.

The nay-sayers like to convince you of the impossibility of success. They will quickly remind you of the odds that are stacked against you. Your English is good enough. You don’t look the part. Your car isn’t fancy enough. You’re too old. You’re too young! You don’t have enough experience. And on!

The want-to-bes like to convince you of the probability of that they will succeed. They are quick to over-amplify their accomplishments and while not owning up to their mistakes or limits.

Either type of person can be distracting. And my approach to dealing with either is the same: self-awareness. Self-awareness has gotten me through distracting negative-talk whenever it arises. If I know who I am, why I am doing this, keep my goals in clear, and focus on what matter, I won’t be swayed. If I act with integrity, act honestly and transparently, and speak directly, then no matter who says what, I know that I’ve acted honorably. Self-awareness is key, and is, indeed, a constant journey to maintain.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Every REALTOR is an entrepreneur. We manage our own time, assets, resources. We do our own marketing. We are liable for our work. We are the engines that drive any business we generate. As a REALTOR, I’ve practiced Real Estate here in Los Angeles for over 28 years. Given that the turn-over rate is high in Real Estate, I am one of those rare legacy guys. I specialize in Residential Real Estate in Los Angeles. I’m known for my efficiency, my transparency and directness. I’m known as a client advocate and educator. I’m also known as a long-distance runner, which I think speaks volumes to my resilience and endurance I bring to the professional table: I am in this for the long haul.

I am most proud of lasting in this business–it’s very rare. And I know what got me to this legacy status: integrity, hard-work, transparency, and my client advocacy. in addition, I am very proud of my careful real estate investments over the years where I took a very slow-and-steady approach, which has proven invaluable for me.

What sets me apart? It’s has to be my client advocacy principles, which guide my negotiation style. And the fact that I’ve run over 100 marathons, which I love to share!

What were you like growing up?
I was always a go-getter, very hard-working, very willing to always learn and not afraid to make mistakes. I always wanted to make something of myself, and make my parents proud.

My mom always taught me to prize education, so I wanted to be educated. To date I have been able to support my children (now grown adults) in their respective educational journeys. I am very proud and humbled by this fact, since I truly believe that knowledge is power.

My dad always espoused the importance of owning land, so I knew at some point I wanted to start buying real estate. To my father’s philosophy I have been successful as well–which is kind of amazing given that I came to this country with nothing (not even able to speak the language), and now own properties here in LA (not a small feat given how dynamic and expensive this market can be).

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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