Twin Realtors Succeed Despite Humble Beginnings

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Realtors Manny and Leo Barajas are proud to be able to look out over Lake Macatawa from Leo’s lakeside home.

“If someone wants a lifestyle like this, that’s fine,” said Leo Barajas. “I didn’t come home one day and I wasn’t happy to be home.”

As children, the twins and their family traveled to southwest Michigan to escape danger on the streets of their hometown of Chicago.

“The only place my uncle had space for us was an independent garage,” said Leo Barajas. “A detached two car garage that we pretty much put our beds around and slept in all summer.”

They spent their summers working in the field.

“We started picking blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, apples,” Manny Barajas.

“From sunrise to sunset,” added Leo Barajas. “To see the sun go down is to quit time because you can no longer see.”

Problems at school caused them to drop out.

“I didn’t finish high school at all,” said Leo Barajas.

Not finishing school was not a major setback for them. The brothers worked and eventually began flipping houses in their early twenties.

“We just knew we could make a lot of money flipping houses, fixing them, selling, making money,” Manny Barajas said.

The brothers learned the ins and outs of the real estate industry. They became agents and then brokers. Manny and Leo started their own company, MI Home Group, which operates under Coldwell Banker, in 2015.

“In the top five in the company, we are doing well,” said Leo Barajas. “We love 250 homes a year. That’s a big number.

“Coming back from zero to where we are now is very rewarding,” added Manny Barajas.

In addition to offering people the opportunity to buy homes, the Barajas brothers pride themselves on being able to guide the agents they work with. They want their agents to achieve a similar level of success.

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Kristan F. Talley