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Hispanic Wealth Profiles

Diego Corzo - A Dreamer's Success in Real Estate and Beyond

Diego Corzo is a testament to the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit that defines the American Dream. Born in Lima, Peru, and moving to the United States at the age of nine, Diego quickly embraced the opportunities presented by his new home. Despite the barriers imposed by his undocumented status, Diego's journey from a DACA recipient to a Forbes-featured real estate mogul and public speaker encapsulates a remarkable narrative of overcoming adversity.

Graduating from Florida State University in the top 1% of his class, Diego earned two bachelor’s degrees in less than four years—a significant accomplishment, magnified by his status as an undocumented immigrant who was ineligible for student loans or financial aid. Diego’s career began in corporate America as a software developer, but his true calling was realized in the realm of real estate.

In 2015, Diego transitioned from tech to real estate by joining The Nino Group in Austin, Texas, where he excelled in helping families achieve homeownership. His real estate career has been distinguished not only by significant sales achievements—over $15 million annually—but also by his personal investment in real estate, with 12 rental properties that cover his living expenses, ensuring his financial independence at the age of 28.

Diego's story is one of innovation and service. He is the founder of RatRaceToFI.com and HouseHackingClub.com, platforms dedicated to teaching financial independence and savvy real estate investment strategies, particularly to millennials. His story has been shared on prestigious platforms including TEDx, highlighting his journey as a Dreamer navigating and succeeding in a complex immigration landscape.
What was the pivotal moment that drove you to shift from software development to real estate, and how has your tech background influenced your real estate practices?

Diego: I graduated from Florida State University in 2012. In 2011, my friend Pascal Wagner threw me a book and said, "Dude, you have to read this... This book is so good!" That book was Rich Dad Poor Dad. It taught me two things: you can trade your time for money or make your money work for you. I was 20 years old at the time and had no driver's license or work permit; this was pre-DACA. After reading that book, I knew that I wanted to build wealth with real estate, despite my current circumstances. I knew I would figure out a way. When I graduated in 2012, right after DACA was announced, I got a job as a software developer for General Motors. I started working, saving as much as possible because I knew that I wanted to buy a house ASAP and start investing through the strategy called House Hacking. It was then that, in doing research, I decided to also become a realtor so that I could start making extra income and invest that money into real estate. Being in tech definitely helps in my everyday real estate practices because I'm able to implement things quicker.
Can you share how your experiences as a DACA recipient have shaped your professional outlook and your advocacy for financial education?

Diego: Being a DACA recipient has made me very grateful for the opportunity I have on my hands since DACA is a band-aid for now as Congress works on a long-term solution for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Professionally, I am always striving to give 110% to the task at hand and continue to focus on my superpowers, which are building connections and helping others. I believe that we are in a country of opportunities, and I believe anyone in this country can achieve financial freedom with the right action plan. That is what I teach since that is how I have achieved my own version of the "American Dream" financially, despite the circumstances.
With your successful approach to "house hacking," what advice would you give to young investors looking to enter the real estate market?

Diego: House Hacking is a great opportunity to start investing in real estate because you can do it by putting little money down and you can qualify for an owner-occupant loan every year or every two years.
Through house hacking, you also get to live for free or pay a lot less than if you were living by yourself because your roommates/tenants can pay most of your mortgage. As a young person, house hacking allows you to get the benefits of real estate: appreciation, cash flow, debt paydown, tax benefits, and more!

How do you balance the emotional aspects of real estate transactions with the financial and investment components, especially when dealing with first-time homebuyers?

Diego: One thing that I have learned in my ten years as a realtor is that I cannot get emotional or attached to the end result. Things always come up, but I do my best to educate my clients throughout the whole process, always reminding them of the "why" — the reason they wanted to buy in the first place. If there are things I can't control, then I let things go quickly. I have learned not to be attached to the commission or the deal and to do the best I can with controlling the things I can control. If the deal falls through, I take a deep breath and move on to the next because there are a lot of people to help. One must have an abundance mindset.

Looking forward, what are your long-term goals both within and beyond the real estate industry?
Diego: My long-term goals are to continue sharing my story to inspire others and continue helping others achieve financial independence through my mastermind: The FI Investors, where we help members become millionaires in all areas of life. I also want to continue helping the agents on my team grow not just professionally but also personally in all areas of their life. I'm really grateful for my KW Realtor Team being #1 four years in a row, selling 250 homes a year in Austin, TX, and want to help each agent become the best version of themselves.
Diego Corzo's journey is not just a narrative of personal success but also a source of inspiration and a blueprint for financial and professional achievement against formidable odds. His commitment to empowering others through education and mentorship in financial independence reflects his passion for giving back to a community that mirrors his own start in life—a life of potential, perseverance, and positive impact.
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