Real Estate Profile: California Realtor Sees Value in Helping Others in Developing Countries

April 28th, 2014 – in miscellaneous

Whether it’s a farmer in El Salvador who needs help to purchase a fertilizer, an auto shop owner in Guatemala who needs to buy parts for the cars he is fixing, or a snack store owner in another Central American or African country who also needs help, California Real Estate agent Lewis Bishop is there.

Bishop uses Bay Area crowdfunding micro-loan start-up Kiva to lend small business owners in countries with struggling economies get back on their feet.

“(Kiva) makes it easy for me to connect my account and transfer funds,” Bishop said. Technology is also an important part of his day job: “I am trying to make transactions for my buyers and sellers as smooth and trouble-free as possible. Whether its DocuSign (or creating) videos when I am at a property, so clients don’t have to run out on work to view every single property.”

Bishop found Kiva a few years ago as he was searching for a way to give back to others. His wife is a native of El Salvador, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere (second only to Haiti), and it made sense. He could loan money to those who needed it, even they were thousands of miles away.

“Everyone has been in situations where we’ve gotten kicked down and we wish we had someone to give us a hand up,” he said. “Sometimes (people need) nothing more than an opportunity.”

What he has learned is that when some people find out he uses Kiva to help people in less-developed countries — and some potential clients do, indeed, research Real Estate agents — they are more likely to choose him to do business with.

“It has allowed individuals to relate to me,” he said. “In our business, we come across strangers. Whether it’s an open house, or a lead, we’re interacting with people in one of the biggest decisions they will ever make. I think they are craving for a way to connect with someone.”

Author: Roman Gokhman