He was the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Diaz started his career by carving out a powerful niche primarily helping Hispanic residents of his Central Valley community become first-time home owners. "While we share a cultural heritage and language, that didn’t guarantee my acceptance; I had to earn that family by family." As the economy weakened, he expanded into managing bank-owned sales and then working with distressed sellers. He takes high touch to the next level—"high teach," he calls it. His father and grandfather taught him échale ganas—give it your all, Diaz says. He tells clients the same thing: Do as much or as well as you can. His advice: Think about setting up a lease-option program to help renters start building equity toward ownership.