Back in 2007 when StepStone Realty was first incorporated we were one agent strong. Me. Over the years we have had one or two other agents come and go that were friends or partners but it was more out of convenience than anything else. We continued like that until the end of 2014 and that’s when StepStone Realty made a major shift and became the brokerage we are today.
So what happened in 2014?
After many years of practicing real estate together, Dan and I began to perfect our methods and strategies for working with distressed sellers. We decided we wanted to branch out from the Austin market. We started to build relationships and partners with other investors… in San Antonio, in Houston, in D/FW… even a few in California. When we partnered with someone we always made sure they had an agent on their team. Not just to call for comps or submit an offer but an agent ON THEIR TEAM. We recognized that by having a licensee on your team the opportunity to monetize leads was higher and we wanted to monetize all our leads!
Our partners began to use our methods and practice what we now call Solutions Based Real Estate and they had similar success. However, if we were going to advocate that investors get their real estate license they would need a home to hang their license.
So, we spent some time working on the nuts and bolts of our brokerage. I spent many hours creating a policy and procedure manual. Dan created accounting systems. Cameron created paperwork and forms. We got ready. And then, in April of 2014, we went to Houston, bought lunch for a handful of investors and asked them to join our brokerage. One handed us a sponsorship form that day and it began.
Over the last two years we have talked to hundreds of real estate agents, investors and agent/investors. I’ve shaken 1000’s of hands, fed over 200 at our information luncheons, attended network events nearly every week and bought so many coffees that I now have the gold Starbucks card.
From all those conversations a common theme arose… we were different. There was not a brokerage that was built specifically for the Agent/Investor. Before StepStone, Agent/Investors were forced to either choose a flat-fee, no support brokerage or a traditional brokerage that expected their agents to practice traditional real estate. While talking with agents in these other brokerages, over and over we would hear phrases like:
· “No one understands me.”
· “My fellow agents are more concerned about their property tours and open houses than building wealth for themselves.”
· “My broker only cares about how many listings and buyers I’m working and they don’t let me pursue creative strategies.”
· “I’m the black sheep in my office.”
Out of these stories of frustration, lack of support, and investment strategies being squashed by traditional brokers, The Black Sheep was born. We are proud to be different from the crowd. We are the brokerage to choose if you are tired of being a Lone Wolf investor at the mercy of unscrupulous wholesalers, if you are an Agent who understands that you have a right to build wealth outside of commissions alone, if you think the best way to help a homeowner in distress is to have all options available to you, or if you want to continue to be an entrepreneur rather than just an income producer for a broker.
The Black Sheep now number more than 70 agents in 7 Texas regions and we continue to grow. As we add more to our team we build strength in numbers. We can be the standard bearers for how real estate investing should be practiced, with integrity and honesty, but also with an eye to personal success and the success of our fellow agents.
Be a Black Sheep!