16 Sep 2011
- Written by Carlee McCullough
Carlee McCullough, Esq.: What attracted you to the real estate industry?
Cassandra Bell Warren: I worked in customer service for 15 years at a large company. In 2001, the downsizing began. I felt it was time to seek other opportunities. I was already investing in real estate and loved working with people. So becoming a Realtor was the next best thing.
Daryl Lewis: While attending the University of Memphis, I majored in Architectural Engineering Technology. During that time there were two schools of thought being illustrated – one was from the architect’s stance, which was to determine how a structure was defined spatially, and the other was the engineer’s perspective, which was to determine how to build the structure. But the ownership of the land and the cost of development were not addressed. So that point of view sparked my interest.
Malcolm Wilson: My Godmother owned a lot of Real Estate in South Memphis and she encouraged me to consider the business as an Investor.
C. McCullough: What separates you from the competition?
D. Lewis: The number of other industry skills that I have acquired over the years separates me from my competition. My knowledge of architectural history, design practices and principles, and construction along with having been employed as a community developer in neighborhood preservation, housing codes inspector and right of way agent gives me an edge. Having a knowledge of real estate is one thing, but understanding how real estate relates to the economy and how what we do stabilizes the community is equally as important.
M. Wilson: I answer my phone and return calls the same day.
C. McCullough: What has been the secret to your company’s survival while other real estate companies and real estate professionals left the industry totally?
C. Bell Warren: We focused on staying lean with debt in the beginning and when the market changed we diversified and began the property management division of the business. We also learned the short sale process in order to help distressed buyers sell their properties due the economic times.
D. Lewis: The secret was the understanding that America has been here before and understanding the trend. In everything, you will have highs and lows. But we have ridden the waves and are staying the course until the market fully recovers.
M. Wilson: To survive, a business owner can’t look for excuses. But instead should provide solutions to problems in the market. We go the extra mile for our clients and always follow up.
C. McCullough: What advice would you provide for those interested in investing in real estate? And is now a good time to invest?
C. Bell Warren: Now is a great time to invest in real estate. There are a lot of low-priced properties that are there unfortunately because of the foreclosures and the misfortunes of others. The market is saturated with properties, which need a little TLC and a great tenant to become an income-producing property.
D. Lewis: Right now is a great time for investors. Determine what is important to you and what you are willing to sacrifice to get it. Real estate is risky and there are a number of factors that will determine what your financial success will be such as will you buy and hold or buy and sell.
M. Wilson: My advice would be to turn off the TV and ignore the media hype concerning the market and buy their first property. Now is a perfect time to invest because prices are so low.