It’s cheaper to own than to rent. That’s one of the most well-worn adages in real estate. It’s also the foundation of Gary Hand’s business.
Hand, a co-owner of Alliance Real Estate Group in Walker, La., started his real estate career with $34 to his name. He’s emerged less than two years later as a team leader overseeing three salespeople and a steady flow of business: He had $6.7 million in sales last year.
Hand discovered no one in town was converting apartment dwellers to homeowners. So he found an aggressive lender willing to work with first-timers, and he set out to show prospects how to buy homes with zero-down financing. Hand builds name recognition by sending 6,000 postcards each month to the same apartment complexes. Then he tracks his results. The cards, along with follow-up calls, yield an average of two transactions per month. A simple classified ad urging people to stop paying rent brings in a lead every day. His long-term plan is to convert his first-timers into lifetime customers.
“There’s a lot of hand-holding and counseling,” admits Hand. “I answer the same questions over and over. But I think the results are worth it.”