Slam-dunk Success: Low interest rates, affordable prices, and the home buyer tax credit spell big opportunity for B.J. Ward and his target market: first-time home buyers. Seizing the potential, Ward took his business to new heights last year. His 2008 sales volume rose to $6.1 million on 17 sides, up from $5.2 million on 14 sides the year before. Short sales and REOs now make up about 90 percent of the business at his brokerage, which he opened in 2005. "We learned how to do these as we went along. Now we know what to expect from the banks," Ward says. Today, his company has 14 associates and recently opened a satellite office.
Hoop dreams: A former college basketball player at the University of California-Santa Barbara, Ward still keeps his hand in the game. He directs and sponsors an annual summer basketball clinic for the county and plays in adult leagues.
It’s personal: Ward, the youngest of six kids who grew up in Oxnard, Calif., delights in helping families find the right home, but no sale was more meaningful than one of his very first in 2003. "I helped my parents buy their first home. It felt great to finally see their dream come true."