Regents Park real estate agents Samuel and Claudia Escobar aren’t just in the business of selling houses, but together they are building a stronger community in the Logan West area.
The couple came from civil war-stricken El Salvador to Australia as refugees in 1989.
Samuel said the couple were teenagers when they first met at a church in El Salvador in 1985.
“Back in the late 80’s there was a lot of political conflict … it wasn’t safe to live there,” he said.
The rich minority was running the country, and government injustice sparked protests and uprising among the people.
“There were guns involved … there was no other option for the people to race in in arms and kill each other,” Samuel said.
Samuel and Claudia decided that the living conditions in El Salvador meant there would be no future for their future children.
An opportunity arose for them to move to a Commonwealth country as refugees.
They visited libraries in El Salvador to research their options and chose Australia because of the warmer climate.
“After the blessings of our parents, we moved across to Australia,” Samuel said.
“It was a two-year process from the time we applied to the time we arrived in Australia in Sydney.”
By the time they left El Salvador, their son Sam was 6 months old.
Claudia said they left their whole family behind, including parents, siblings, grandparents, and aunties.
“It was an adventure to begin with, and then it got a bit scary when we had settled down and we didn’t know exactly how to communicate,” she said.
Claudia said the language barrier and lack of support were among the biggest challenges they faced after moving to Australia.
“Language was the biggest – not being able to communicate what we needed or what we wanted,” Claudia said.
“It was a very different world – right now you can travel anywhere and download on your translator the different languages.
“At that time there were no mobile phones – there was no internet.”
They didn’t have warm clothes for their baby at first, and two days after arriving he developed an ear infection and high fevers in the middle of the night.
They had no idea who to call and how to communicate what was wrong, but fortunately they knew someone who took them to hospital for treatment.
Samuel learned English through his job as a taxi driver, and Claudia at home through TV, radio, and their children’s schooling.
After their second child was born, Samuel returned to study computer technology and an associate diploma in electrical engineering.
Claudia worked selling Le Reve and Tupperware products, where she was recognized as the 4th top consultant in Australia.
12 years after moving to Australia they visited Queensland for a holiday, and decided to raise their three children, Samuel, Geysel and Rebecca in Brisbane.
Claudia started a job in into real estate nearly 13 years ago with Natgroup real estate.
Three years ago Samuel joined her forces with Claudia, and their daughter Rebecca joined Team Escobar a few months ago.
“It’s definitely a family team, orientated on providing that warm family feeling for our clients,” Claudia said.
Claudia said her favourite thing about real estate was meeting and helping people.
“Personally, from the first moment that I meet up with my clients, I don’t connect with how much commission I’m going to get, I actually connect with the reason why they are selling,” she said.
“When we connect with a buyer, we connect with the reason why they are buying and where they want to go.
“To us it’s about creating that connection, and that connection pretty much stays for life.”
The family also worked in various ways to help people build community connections.
“It’s got nothing to do with real estate, but we just like to make a difference – for example, if someone in the community loses their spouse, there is a void there that needs to be filled,” Samuel said.
“During that period of time and grieving, we can coordinate support from the community itself – and the support in 4118 is just amazing.”
Claudia and Samuel created the 4118 Neighbourhood page on Facebook, which was inspired after the first Covid lockdown in Brisbane.
“We went around and we left little notes for our clients asking ‘if you need us to pick up anything from the groceries, from the chemist, we’re always out and about – just let us know’,” Claudia said.
“A couple of people actually reached out, and that sort of created a need – ‘what about the other people out there that we don’t know?’
“That’s how the 4118 Neighborhood page actually started – as a way of keeping the community together, as a way of helping the community.”
The community page has supported locals in many ways, including paying for a funeral, providing meals to a young mother for 2 months, and coordinating a Christmas toy appeals for kids in social services.
“Everyone knows that we are real estate agents, but to us we are just neighbours helping neighbours,” Claudia said.
“At the time it was just the tip, with two football fields that nobody wanted, and two portaloos – that was it,” Samuel said.
Samuel (right) and Sam (second from the left) are founders of the Logan Metro Football Club.
Samuel said the football club was a platform to encourage and influence young people.
“Football, or any sports in that matter, brings people together from all backgrounds,” he said.
“There are a lot of refugees and immigrants who play the game.
“It’s easier for refugees to get in so much trouble because their parents are trying to get into society, to integrate, and sometimes they forget the children.”
Samuel said he often talked to the kids about his experience as a refugee and encourages them to work hard, abide by the law, take opportunities, and learn to speak English.
“Obviously we’re not there to save everybody, because that’s not the case, but that’s how we help the community in that way.”
Their son Sam Escobar also runs the 4118 Podcast, which celebrates the stories of people in the local community.
Samuel and Claudia have three adult children and five grandchildren.
“We’re quite content with where we are at the moment, as far as setting up life for the children and now the grandchildren for future generations, and grateful for the opportunities that this country has given us,” Samuel said.
“We don’t forget where we come from, but we have embraced the Australian culture and are grateful every day for where we’re at.”