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Hispanic Wealth Profiles
How Jona Gamboa is Empowering Communities Through Real Estate Excellence
Jona Gamboa is not just an investor–he's a visionary leader in the real estate industry, passionate about transforming lives through education, mentorship, and exceptional service. With a remarkable 17-year journey in the housing industry, Jona has cultivated a deep commitment to his clients while also spearheading transformative initiatives that empower communities and individuals alike.

As the driving force behind the Gamboa Real Estate Group, Jona's impact is felt not only through his exceptional sales record but also through his dedication to education. Through mentorship programs, engaging radio talk shows, and immersive classroom instruction, Jona empowers others with knowledge, equipping them to make informed decisions in the complex world of real estate.

Under Jona's stewardship, the Gamboa Group has consistently earned accolades, securing a spot on the prestigious NAHREP Top 100 Real Estate Teams list for three consecutive years, both at the national level and in the state of Utah. Now, he is poised to replicate this success in the dynamic market of Florida, where he is expanding his real estate horizons.

Beyond his role as a real estate professional, Jona's investment journey is equally impressive. A savvy investor and developer, he's no stranger to the art of creating wealth. From long and short-term rentals to property flips and ambitious land development projects, Jona's investment ventures epitomize his passion for both financial growth and knowledge sharing. Through classes, mentorship programs, and a dynamic presence on social media, he imparts his investment wisdom to aspiring individuals.

As an active leader within NAHREP, Jona champions the organization's core mission of advancing sustainable Hispanic homeownership and wealth creation. His commitment to community empowerment is palpable, with a history that includes serving as the President of NAHREP Salt Lake City Chapter in 2016, acting as a NAHREP National Coach, and now occupying roles as a NAHREP 10 Certified Trainer and a NAHREP National Board of Directors member. In addition, he contributes his insights to the national board of Keller Williams Chispa Organization.

Jona's story is rooted in Mexico City, where he was born. Now, he resides in Palm Harbor, Florida, alongside his wife and three children. His life's journey is a testament to the transformative power of education, mentorship, and commitment to community, exemplifying the profound change that an individual can bring about through dedication and vision.

As a seasoned professional in both real estate and investments, can you share a pivotal investment experience that has shaped your approach to wealth creation?

Jona: One of the first real estate investments that really helped me make decisions in all other real estate investments was one of the first rental properties that I purchased. I moved to this country in 2006. I was a pretty new real estate agent then. I started seeing people investing in rental properties. I bought a house close to $300,000 back then. This was in 2008, right before the market crash in Utah. The monthly payment was close to $2,000. The cheaper rents on a home were about $1,200 to $1,300. Paying $2,000 was not the average rent at that point in Salt Lake County. I bought this property, and I got some type of deposit with these tenants, and I felt that I was just saved because I thought the market was always going to be increasing in value. Two years later, in 2010, the house had already lost about $30,000 in value. The tenants had a lease option, they had the right to buy the property from me at a fixed price. They wanted to buy it, but they couldn't buy it at the time. The property would not qualify, or it would not appraise for the amount we said they could buy from me. Basically, I negotiated with them, and they were able to buy the property, but I had to bring $18,000 to the closing table for them to be able to purchase it.

And what was this a pivotal part of my investment in the future or from that point moving forward? I learned a lot of different things with this.

Number one, if you want to minimize risk when buying rental properties, you need to buy a rental property that 70 to 80% of the population can afford to pay its rent. Because when the market crashed, the properties with the lowest rent, entry-level homes, rents didn't go down almost at all. I have a property that I was renting for $1,250, and that property kept being rented. If the people moved out, I already had others who wanted to move in because those were some of the cheapest properties or the cheapest rents in the area. Number one is, if I want to minimize the risk as an investor for rental properties, you can minimize the risk by buying properties that the rent 70% of the population will be able to afford, 70 to 80% for most people.

The second lesson is that the market, the real estate market it has ups and downs. I've been in the country about three or four years before the market adjusted, so I had never experienced a market decline. I came from Mexico, where you always see the properties increase. But it's not that they are always increasing, it's in your perception when you live in a country like Mexico, you always see the prices of the homes going up, but you don't take into consideration that the peso depreciates a lot, and that's when the property values really adjust with the depreciation. That was a big lesson for me. The market is cyclical, you need to be prepared for the downturns. Two, minimize the risk by buying a property that most people can afford to pay rent.

Number three is that in real estate, sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. That lesson cost me $18,000, and I learned that it is better to cut your losses. Sometimes you need to make tough decisions, cut your losses, and a lot of people told me do a short sell. I'm like, no, I don't want to do a short sell. I actually paid $18,000, which back in the day, that was a lot of money for me. But I paid, and what happened after that is that I was ready to buy more properties. And one year later, I was acquiring two or three rental properties that now they are worth a lot more money. So, those three things are some things that I learned from that experience.

Your dedication to education and mentorship is evident in your various initiatives. What inspired you to take on the role of educator alongside your real estate endeavors?

Jona: There are two things that motivated this. Number one is I love teaching. I used to teach since was a little kid. I love math. I love physics. But when I was in elementary school, I would always love to teach other people or help them understand math or anything that they couldn't understand in school. When I was in middle school, I think middle school and high school, I started tutoring kids with math and physics. Same thing in high school and through college. Now, I have a passion for teaching, but why am I so passionate about teaching other people? And I have, I teach people through radio, through social media, through classes, about real estate. I'm passionate about it because I know that real estate is the gateway for people to go from the lower class to middle class. Now, if you start investing in another property, second, third, fourth, fifth property, you can go from middle class to middle, upper class—to be wealthy. And real estate is a way that it is affordable for most people, not affordable, but it's a way to get rich and it is available for most people. I'm passionate to teach this even more to my Hispanic community because we were taught that we need to work hard to get a better living and to be able to have a better lifestyle and to be able to afford things for our kids and have a better life. One of the reasons or one of the biggest reasons we come to this country is to be able to have a better financial situation than most of us would have in our countries.

So, I'm passionate about teaching people because most of us didn't grow up with a rich uncle, at least I didn't. Most of us come and we don't know how to invest. We were taught about working for the money, but we don’t know that the money can work for us. So, for me, it's powerful when I can teach people to buy their first, second, third, fourth, fifth property, and see how they start creating wealth. It’s the coolest thing to see in my clients and people that I have helped—it’s like the light turns on and something changes in the way they think. Instead of thinking from a place of scarcity, they start seeing everything from abundance and it's not just the money, but they start thinking like, “okay, if I can do this, now what else can I do?” So, they start opening businesses and their life changes, their eyes change because now there is hope. There is hope and they believe in themselves, and they believe that there is a lot more. That is something that is really cool to see and I'm super passionate about and it is priceless. I would do it even if I don't get paid a single dime just to see their faces—the people I have helped, so I can be like, “what else can I do?” I can do a lot more.

Your achievements in the real estate industry are remarkable, from being a NAHREP 10 Certified Trainer to serving on the NAHREP National Board of Directors. How do these leadership roles enable you to contribute to the Hispanic community's advancement?

Jona: These opportunities have taught me many things. So, I believe that we, wherever we stand, can be a positive influence for ourselves, our families, and our communities. And for me, NAHREP has given me the opportunity in different roles to become a better version of myself, to be better at communicating with people, to gain confidence. And I like to say that even NAHREP has allowed me to change my story. And the story of being like, you know, like I changed my story in such a way that I believe now that being Hispanic in this country, in the United States, is one of my superpowers instead of being one of my weaknesses.

So, it has allowed me to be able to identify myself, to find a spot for myself, but also to push myself out of my comfort zone in different areas. To be able to be a leader when I was a chapter president, and when I was coaching other chapters, it has allowed me to know how to coach other people better, to challenge them to be better. And now when I do that with my clients, with my agents, with my companies, I can do the same so we can go and reach more people. Now that I'm the national board, I have had the opportunity to speak in front of a lot of people in the national conference, which is intimidating because I didn't grow up... I mean, English is my second language. And when I got to this country, I remember talking to people in real estate, and I used to be kind of like doubting myself talking to people who spoke English because I know I have an accent. And when they look at me like, “I don't understand what you're saying,” there is something in there. There was a story in my head that maybe they didn't want to work with me. And now I can get in front of thousands of people and present other speakers or speak in front of a lot of people. It is a challenge. It's allowing me to get out of my comfort zone even more, and to be able to reach a larger community so we can make a difference.

The coolest thing about it is when I do that, I know that I'm impacting other people's lives because they said, “if Jonah can do it, so can I.” And I believe that all these different positions have allowed me to grow, to be better, to be in different networking circles, to meet people across the nation so I can expand my reach, empower people, motivate people, influence people to be a better version of themselves, to be better at investing, to be better at whatever they want to achieve. Because when one of us, one person that looks like you, acts like you, and maybe sounds like you even with the accent that I have, does these things then you don't have any excuse why you should not be able to. NAHREP has allowed me to do this, and really to be able to advance and empower my community.

Transitioning from Utah to Florida for your real estate endeavors is a significant leap. What motivated you to explore the Florida market, and what unique opportunities do you see in this new landscape?

Jona: I decided to move from Utah to Florida because I remember I went to Florida and saw the beautiful ocean, the sand—it’s such a warm place. After 17, 18 years of living in Utah, it was a dream of mine to live close to the ocean. I thought about moving to California. The market was different there—the taxes and a lot of things that made me realize it wasn’t the place for me. So, I moved to Florida. After a few years, my wife and I started researching: the schools for the kids, the lifestyle, the opportunity to invest.
After four or five years of preparing for it, we decided to move to Florida because we wanted to enjoy life when we were young, not when we are old. We just took the leap of faith, so me, my wife and my three kids moved there. We said, “we just have one life, and we better enjoy it.”

Another major reason why I decided to move was because I used to have my real estate team running in Utah (one of the most successful teams in the nation, among the Hispanic real estate teams) and I knew then that if I stepped back, it would also allow me to spend more time with my kids, be more involved in their lives. Family is really important to me. My family, my wife, my kids–they’re all central to who I am, who we are—it's part of the main narrative. Another reason why I moved to Florida was to expand my business without being in front clients. It allows me to grow the business. We're doing a lot of flips. I believe that there are a lot more opportunities to flip houses in Florida. It’s a reason why I went from one of the youngest states in the nation, Utah, to one of the states where they have a lot of older people. So why is that important? Because in Florida there are a lot more opportunities to buy properties that are dated, that need a lot of work to make them beautiful and sell them for a profit. The rents are higher proportionally for the same price compared with Utah. The market is expected to increase a lot in value because a lot of people from all over the country are moving to Florida.

If you're going to buy and hold properties to keep for rentals, Florida is a great place to invest. I love to live there—the ocean, to run on the beach every Saturday. Utah is great, but Florida is a better place for me and my family.

The concept of sustainable homeownership and wealth creation is central to NAHREP's mission. How do you envision furthering this mission, particularly in your role as a NAHREP leader and educator?

Jona: As a NAHREP leader, we really, first and foremost, need to lead by example. For me to lead with integrity, I need to keep investing, keep pushing myself to new heights. I know that I have invested in rental properties, in vacation rentals, a piece of land in Mexico that we're developing. That’s all pushing me to be like, “what's next?” And what is next is multifamily, like big, big multifamilies, and that's what we're working on now. Being a NAHREP leader helps me connect with people who think bigger, it's going to help me to think bigger. Thinking bigger is going to allow me to keep growing. When you grow, you can bring more people and have more people grow with you. You don't grow on your own. When you grow, people around you, your community, they need to grow with you. You bring them along. Being in this position helps me educate and advance even more the community because I'm going to be able to have a relationship with people, again, who think bigger than I do. Maybe they are already ahead or in the place where I want to go so being around them will inspire me more. I want to make sure that I can get there so I can bring people along.

The people I'm educating through social media, through radio, the people who are from NAHREP, were one of my goals as a leader—to really motivate people with my NAHREP family so they can do the same. One of my biggest concerns is that a lot of people, most real estate agents, are in this industry where you can create a lot of wealth but are just buying and selling but not investing in real estate. One of my goals, through this position, is to really tell people—agents, loan officers, and anyone who is working in the real estate industry—to invest. Invest. You can work for the money, but it's better when you put your money to work for you. When you leverage your money with the bank's money or other people's money, you can create a lot more wealth and a better life for you and your family.

The place where I am with NAHREP helps me elevate myself and others through education, through mentorship and leadership—to be able to really wake up and encourage those not yet investing in real estate and in other resources and root for those who are already so we can scale, so we can grow at a higher level. It's really important that we, as a community, have more say and carry more weight in this country. The more power we have financially, the more people are going to listen to us. That’s how we're going to be able to make the biggest difference and impact in this country.

Jona Gamboa's journey from Mexico City to becoming a prominent figure in the real estate industry is a compelling testament to the power of education, mentorship, and unwavering commitment to community. As he continues to break new ground in Florida, Jona's story serves as an inspiration to aspiring real estate professionals everywhere. His work not only elevates the profession but also lays the foundation for a future where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their dreams of homeownership and financial stability. Through his leadership, Jona Gamboa embodies the spirit of empowerment, making a lasting impact on the communities he serves and shaping the next generation of real estate excellence
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