Years in real estate
Give or take, 12 years. I started right out of college in 2010 with a development company in Tampa. We did some multi-family development mostly in the Carolinas. Was there for about three years. And then started selling houses on the side just to friends and family and what not. And before I knew it, I was making more money on the weekends than I was during the week, in my full-time job. So, I decided to jump ship about eight years ago, went with Charles Rutenburg for some time and then decided to do my own thing two years later with Hartney Realty.
Why St. Pete?
St. Pete was an easy choice for me. I was born and raised here St. Pete High 06. Spent some time in Alabama, went to college at Auburn University for four years. I couldn’t wait to get out of St. Pete then, but you quickly realize once you leave here, how special of a place that it is. Couldn’t wait to get back, and likely will be here for a long time.
What’s your speciality or favorite kind of transaction to be involved in?
Recently we’ve expanded our business model. Hartney Realty Firm is kind of our sales side of the business. However, we’ve recently partnered with another broker in town Megan Flatt with Everlane Realty to create Sundial Title which is now the title arm of our company. And then we also have a lot of investment things going on with residential flips in the area. This year, we’re shooting to probably do about 40. My favorite transaction is when we can renovate the property, represent the sale when it’s completed. Hopefully, do an open house and pull in a buyer. And then facilitate the transaction through Sundial Title. It’s just refreshing to be able to see the whole thing go from start to finish. It’s a very rewarding thing to see.
What’s a unique perspective you have on real estate that others may not have?
My history is, when I was a kid watching St. Pete grow, I was always fascinated with the condos going up. And always knew that I wanted to be in development in some way or the other. So, that’s what drove me to go to Auburn, ended up getting my construction degree there. And as a result of that, I actually got my contractor’s license in North Carolina and also in Florida. Having that construction background although, I never I guess – when I was younger – set out to be a realtor, but having that construction experience has really helped me guide customers through home renovations or just general estimates of what it might cost them to do what they want.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology or practice that you would share with our readers?
The biggest thing for me recently, has been trading habits and things that we do on a weekly basis or even a daily basis or within family, and in life and in work. Just making myself create healthy habits to drive productivity, keep myself honest, keep everyone in our organization motivated. We do sales meetings once a week, every week no matter what. We do weekly construction meetings on any of the renovations every week, 7:30 on Wednesday no matter what. Got to go to the gym at least once a day, or at least I try to. And just creating those habits in my life has really helped grow the business and help us be successful.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I’d say that consistency drives success, and being able to just make sure that we do things once a week or once a day or once a month depending on what that item may be, whether it’s calling clients or doing sales meetings, making cold calls. Just keeping ourselves committed to the process kind of in a Bill Belichick mindset if you will, really has helped up recently. Whereas, when I first got started I was all over the place doing an open house or calling people and showing houses. Just being able to set those processes in line has really helped us recently.
What’s one thing you wish buyers or sellers knew in advance, to optimize their real estate experience?
I like this question a lot, because I get a lot of calls from people that maybe are not happy with their realtor or didn’t have a good experience. I always ask them, “How did you find them?” and it’s usually, “I found them on the internet,” or, “I met them at a bar,” something like that. I think the biggest takeaway for this question is, anybody who doesn’t already have a relationship with a realtor should really interview. Not just like, “Hey what’s up? I’m Ryan, I’m Jim let’s sell you a house,” but really interview them. At least go and get coffee with two, maybe three agents. Understand their processes, understand their experience, where they sell. I think the most important thing that they should be looking for is a realtor that will commit to being with them for the long term.
We’re looking to add members for sales and investment in the residential real estate sector. Whenever I interview potential agents or they’re interviewing me really to see if they want to come, join up with us, I always tell them that, “If you’re looking to learn how to be a realtor, there’s a lot of brokers in town, but if you’re looking to learn real estate as a whole, no you’re not going to find a better place that will give you more exposure to all sorts of various ins and outs of the residential real estate business here in St. Petersburg, Florida.”