Auben Realty celebrates ten years of business this year, and a major part of the company’s success has been the ability to adapt to changes in the market. And now more than ever, the experience that comes along with not only working with investors, but being investors.
It began with Tyson Schuetze, a young entrepreneur who started in real estate as a sales agent in New York City in the early 2000s. He purchased his first investment property in the upstate, and quickly saw a need to educate himself on how to manage the renovation and leasing of his first rental. He traveled to regional conferences and met other investors, some of which became mentors. Tyson pored over data and articles which highlighted the do’s and don’ts of property management, and while he encountered several rookie mistakes along the way, he was determined to build a business for himself. It wasn’t long before he realized that in order to grow his portfolio, he would need to look at more affordable markets. In 2006, he packed up a U-haul, and headed south to Georgia, where a couple of his conference-going mentors were based in Augusta.
He jumped into partnering with other investors who walked him through the investment buying, renovation, and re-selling of properties. This was an exciting–and exhausting time. The real estate market was hot, and home flipping was hotter. Tyson spent years crawling under houses, analyzing data, attending investor meetings, and continued to travel to conferences. Late nights were spent writing business plans, budgeting for the repairs and renovations, and doing the work himself, but also looking for partners who possessed the skills and experience he lacked.
By 2008, the bubble had burst. Bad loans, over-leveraging, and a downturn in the economy left millions of people unable to pay their ballooned mortgages, and unable to sell their home for what it should have been worth. Traditional sales were on the decline, and investors were no longer able to flip houses as quickly and easily as they once could. This was a time to get creative. Tyson had to get in front of bankers who turned him down repeatedly for loans–as lending was very conservative at the time. He had to continue forging relationships with agents, vendors, other investors, and the people who desperately needed to sell their homes. This was a time when listening to others, and being solution-oriented was paramount. It was also a time when the status quo looked far less enticing. Tyson wanted to take what he learned from his experience and the advice of others and invest in areas that no one else wanted to be in. Columbia County was bursting at the seams with new construction, shopping and dining. Tyson was drawn to the historical and cultural nuances of Richmond County, and saw the potential to make a difference in bringing back the neighborhoods that had all but been abandoned. He began to invest in Harrisburg, Old Town, downtown, the “lower” Hill, and South Augusta.
After three years of blood, sweat and tears in Augusta, Tyson was ready to give more–blood, sweat and tears, but he had the foundation in place to bring others onboard who were eager to build something from the ground up. Natalie Walls was there from the beginning as an assistant with property management experience, and now as partner and managing broker. They began Auben Realty as a way for Tyson to manage his own properties, but grew out of the necessity for other investors in the Augusta area who were looking for property management services. And it continued to grow for investors who also needed assistance in the buying and selling of properties. Some investors didn’t have the same vision of downtown and Richmond County that Tyson had, but with the hiring of agents and the start of a brokerage he could service those clients with the same level of expertise. And yet many investors believed in what Tyson was doing, and had the capital to invest in neighborhood blocks where they could renovate homes and essentially help increase values in the area. And now more than ever, these areas are reaping the benefits of a strengthening economy and influx of people moving in.
The Auben Team continues to expand–with an office in Chattanooga and doing business regionally in SC, GA, TN and NC. The team also continues to attract members who are tenacious and eager to learn and grow with the company. They share a desire to invest in real estate, but also in themselves. And while the company now operates under the leadership of Phillip Vera, CEO and Alex Becker, Director of Operations, everyone is encouraged to take ownership in their role and contribute to the success shared as a team.
As Auben Realty approaches a decade in business, the company is more focused than ever on what it means to invest in a community, and service investors with firsthand knowledge and experience. After all, it is a company made up of investors for investors.
Read more about the benefits of working with investors here: Why Work With Investors? What You Need to Know About Real Estate Investing (RIS Media)