StepStone Realty-Moving Real Estate Forward

The following is a speech I gave at the April StepStone Agent Workshop introducing our new logo! Read on to find out how StepStone Realty is Moving Real Estate Forward!

Have any of you ever looked up “creative real estate investing” on Wikipedia?

Creative real estate investing is any non-traditional method of buying and selling real estate. Confidence tricks and pyramid schemes in the 20th and 21st century such as Nouveau Riche (real estate investment college) have embraced the term, leading contemporary usage of the term to be synonymous with unscrupulous practices.

Ouch. What we do is synonymous with unscrupulous practices? Well, this is certainly what Dan’s parents worried about when he decided to start real estate investing. They probably started to worry more when Dan left his job as a political consultant to practice creative real estate investing full time. A year or so after Dan left his job he would call me on my lunch hour and he would tell me “Angie, you need to get your real estate license. Angie, you need to start your own business” and I would think, “Dan, I’m the one bringing in a steady paycheck!”  or ” What kind of business could I start? What do I have to offer?” I’ve always said Dan is the gas and I’m the brake pedal.

Luckily he has a lead foot and that along with deteriorating conditions at my job which led to my firing or my resigning (depending on who you ask) led me to deciding that yes… I should get my real estate license which I received in November of 2006.  Dan is a really sweet and kind husband and while some of his motives might have been his concern for my happiness it was mostly because he really wanted an agent on his team that understood him! He found out what many investors at the time knew and what many investors still struggle with… main stream real estate supporting services, such as title companies, lenders, insurers and particularly Realtors, did not support creative real estate investors. After all… why would they when the prevailing opinion was that these investors were unscrupulous.

Over the next 9 years we worked on our business, had lean times and rich times, partnerships that came, partnership that went and we earned our wings. All along, though, when it came to support services it was still often like fitting a square peg in a round hole.

It took me a long time to realize I was unique. I didn’t realize most brokerages and brokers would frown upon or maybe even prohibit the kind of real estate I was practicing. I knew I didn’t quite fit in with the traditional agents…. that I was definitely not in sync with the other Realtors I would encounter when taking CE classes or attending other traditional Realtor events. But, then I started talking to other Investor Agents and discovered they too didn’t fit in and even worse were being hamstrung by their broker in their investment goals.

Dan, Cameron, our COO, and I had our “Ah Ha” moment. WE were perfectly suited to be the brokerage home for Investor Agents. Since we began recruiting Investor Agents over three years ago our WHY has become very clear to us. Our goal, our passion, our WHY is to bring creative real estate into the mainstream.

StepStone Realty, the brokerage, is the mothership of this idea. We are no longer agents on the fringe of the traditional model, hiding what we are doing from our broker, trying to find a place that will give us the freedom AND support, a home that encourages us to use our knowledge, tools and education to not only represent others but to also build wealth for ourselves and our families! That’s bringing creative real estate investing into the mainstream.

But, that’s only the beginning. We also created StepStone Charities which is getting ready to host The 3rd Annual Black Sheep Open charity golf tournament for the creative real estate investor community. Because, if we are going to be in the mainstream, we need to be a visual, vocal and contributing member of our communities. Dan also developed and runs Safe Loan Servicing to help serve Investors to create safe and secure owner financing options. Most of you are familiar with MojoVest, a program designed by Dan to be a lead and content management tool built by and for the creative real estate investor. And while, it’s Frankenstein’ed a bit into also a Brokerage management tool, it is currently undergoing redevelopment to deliver all the needs of the brokerage as well as operate as a separate CRM tool to be used by investors of every kind to rival the currently available CRM’s that sorta work for us.  We are also in the early stages of creating more opportunities for capital that can serve in places that hard money and traditional lenders leave a gap. All of these activities are an effort… a passion… to bring creative real estate investing into the mainstream.

I believe, WE believe, that by bringing real estate in the mainstream, creating an environment where investors and investor strategies are viewed as legitimate and valuable, we are truly Moving Real Estate Forward.

And, with that, I’m very excited to announce… we have a new logo!

When we first started the logo process it was a little hard because we didn’t really hate the old one but knew we needed an updated, more polished brand and we can’t tell you how excited we are for this new look. We really feel like it speaks to what we are trying to accomplish!

And it’s not just the efforts of the StepStone Team. I believe that it’s all of you, our agents, partners, and sponsors, that are helping to Move Real Estate Forward! By joining this community, being a part of this vision, you are making a statement that you believe in doing business with a high level of integrity and honesty. Not just with each other but with our clients, our customers and other investors. With your help, with your actions, we are taking creative real estate investing out of the gutter.

With your efforts and support, together we are creating a world where creative real estate transactions can be completed with confidence knowing that we are all working toward common goals with honesty.  We are creating a world where people don’t steal deals but help each other complete them.  We are moving real estate forward to a more advanced, civilized and honest form of business.

We are not only Moving Real Estate Forward by our ethics and business practices but also by being active in the causes that influence real estate policy. StepStone agents have shown they can be a force in their communities. I’ve seen many of you get involved when the most recent Texas legislative session was threatening to severely impact our ability to do Subject To transactions which would have had devastating consequences for some homeowners facing foreclosure.  I’ve also seen many of you get very involved on a more local level as more and more city jurisdictions consider restrictions on Short Term Rentals. Without our voice, the negative economic consequences of prohibitive regulations, as well as the positive consequences of a healthy STR market, could easily be overlooked. Furthermore, some of our agents are also involved in the CodeNext conversations in Austin that also help to shine a light on healthy investor involvement and development in our communities.

So here’s your challenge… how will you help this cause? What will you do, what actions will you take to help us Move Real Estate Forward? Where will you get involved? Together, we can take a profession that is sometimes feared to a profession that is revered.

Get involved…. You can get involved by joining the fight against negative Short-term rental codes in your city.  You can get involved by joining actions against legislative moves to hinder owner-financing.  You can get involved by playing in or volunteering for the Black Sheep Open.  And mostly you can be involved by showing the world that success in this business can be accomplished through hard work and integrity over scams and dishonesty.  Together we can write a new Wikipedia that talks about how creative real estate investing is a phrase that means advanced techniques in helping homeowners, bettering our neighborhoods and having a positive impact and influence on our communities.

I hope that you all are as proud to be part of this goal as I am. I look forward to continuing our work with each of you to Bring Real Estate Forward!

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