Q 1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.
Ans: The concept for Venture One Realty originated as I became active in the re-hab flipping business 10 years ago. As my houses were being marketed it occurred to me that most every buyer who contacted me had found the property on-line thru various listing sources. MLS, Zillow, Homesnap and Realtor.com. While that was extremely efficient it made me think more and more about the money I was spending on Real Estate Commissions, especially at closing when those 6% commission fees in some cases added up to costing me 30% of my profit. The same dilemma was also confronting the average homeowner who, over the last 10 years or so, has seen lower appreciation on their homes with much smaller equity build-up. Why give all that commission money to a Realtor when you get the same results for 1%? The key was to be able to offer the same full service that conventional Realtors offered but at only a 1% Listing Fee, which we have been doing successfully for a while.
While this business model is very different from what has been traditionally done in the Real Estate business, I believe it is the future of the residential real estate industry. The efficiency of the internet has enabled information flow and better productivity which translates to being able to offer superior service without the traditional high cost.
Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself
Ans: I grew up in South Windsor Ct and attended the local schools, played both soccer and lacrosse and was I guess what you would call an average student. I attended Southern New Hampshire University where I played Division 2 Lacrosse on an athletic scholarship and graduated in 2007 with a degree in Business Administration and a Minor in History. After college I got my Real Estate license and got some great experience working in my Uncle’s Brokerage. My sister and I started an investment company and we were able to invest in commercial real estate, mostly small retail plazas and ran our own Boutique lending business, lending private money to Real Estate Investors for Re-Hab projects as well as doing our own Flip deals. Eventually I purchased and later sold a HomeVestors Franchise, the “ we buy ugly houses” company and started marketing our own re-hab homes. I am now a licensed Real Estate Broker and my wife is a collegiate field hockey coach, we have one child and we live in Central Connecticut.
Q 3. How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: I became interested in real estate when I was still in high school. My father had built and developed a condo project in Hartford and he had ended up renting one of them, it got trashed by a tenant and when I went with him to take a look, I talked him into letting me get it fixed up and off I went. He was really busy and he agreed to pay me a minimum amount by the hour, fund all the costs, but told me that when it was resold, he would split the profits with me. I really needed a summer job so off I went. I hired my buddy’s to demo, found and supervised all the contractors and by the end of the summer, we sold it and he handed me a check for $6700 for my share of the profits.
Obviously the money was fantastic but what I really liked about the whole thing was that I could see the immediate tangible results from my own efforts and the freedom to work my own schedules and make the decisions. Some were good, some bad but more were good than bad. I learned a lot that summer. After graduating from college I got some great experience working for my Uncle’s real estate brokerage and began to pursue additional opportunities in the Re-Hab flipping market. I also began to research and formulate a new business model that ultimately became Venture One Realty.
Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: Do your research but don’t get bogged down in trying to create the perfect new idea. Most business successes are derived from improving an existing idea. I would also advise to absorb and learn as much as you can about your craft from as many different perspectives as possible. The third thing would be to not judge your success or failure too quickly. Most entrepreneurs have failed in a business before they succeed in the next one. The next one might be a similar business but maybe with a different market focus or have some other angle to it.
Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Organization and procedures in place so that you can delegate the routine repetitive tasks which then gives you the time to work on growing your business externally and not get bogged down with the internal tasks. I think it is also really important to be able to identify with your customer so that you can make adjustments within your business as the customer’s needs shift. In my business that might mean things like the local economy in a certain area as well as rising or falling property values and changing demographics.