Meet the Real Estate Tech Entrepreneur: Kurt Carlton from HomeGo And New Western
This week, we interviewed Kurt Carlton from HomeGo.
Let’s get to it!
Who are you and what do you do?
Over the past 15 years, I have worked in the real estate industry. In 2008 I co-founded New Western alongside my friend, Stuart Denyer, and together we launched a national marketplace for real estate investors to find homes to rehab. Through our portfolio of companies – New Western, HomeGo and Sherman Bridge Lending – we help homeowners move on from difficult situations or distressed properties while providing opportunities for local real estate investors to improve their communities. We operate in most major metropolitan areas across the nation. Since our company’s founding we’ve experienced immense growth – 40% annually over the past 10 years.
What problem does your product/service solve?
New Western and its family of brands support the property needs of real estate investors on a national scale, while bringing solutions to sellers with difficult properties or situations. Through our marketplace, New Western provides real estate investors with exclusive access to the largest private source of distressed investment properties in the nation. These investors rely on our market insight, exclusive platform, and extensive inventory to help them acquire fixer-upper properties to either flip or rent. Currently, a property trades on our marketplace every 20 minutes, helping to dramatically improve neighborhoods across the US. Our marketplace offers real estate investors the opportunity to achieve financial independence.. This career also allows real estate investors to express their creative side – I’ve seen many come up with amazing and innovative home designs.
HomeGo provides a simple and dependable way to sell a home that may need a bit of love to reach its full potential. We work directly with sellers or with their agents and have purchased more than 30,000 homes. HomeGo is an off-market buyer that’s setting the standard for the industry with its market expertise, use of licensed real estate agents, and standardized seller experience.
Sherman Bridge Lending provides fast, reliable capital for real estate investors. Through a variety of loan products, we help investors secure additional funding for the purchase and rehab of investment properties to either sell (flip) or rent (hold). We help investors take on more projects at a time, make more extensive improvements, and scale their real estate investment business faster.
The glue that allows our portfolio of companies to work together seamlessly is our proprietary internal marketplace. We recently revitalized our technology department and hired a new chief technology officer to ensure our marketplace continues to scale and meet the needs of the real estate investors we work with. Our technology has full API integration with every MLS in the markets we operate in; leveraging the data of 110 million single-family homes across the country. The marketplace plays an integral role in each step of the property transaction – from the first contact with a seller to the final repositioning to the investor. It allows our agents to work faster, communicate better and streamline processes.
What are you most excited about right now?
The current market conditions have positioned the real estate industry for significant growth. There is a huge opportunity for real estate investors with millennials in their prime homeownership years. For the last five years, millennials have made up the largest share of home purchase mortgage applications. In fact, 4.7 million millennials turned 30 last year, and another 4.8 million will be turning 30 this year. This generation came of age in the aftermath of the great recession and either chose – or was forced by circumstances – to put off homeownership, but now many are eager to enter the housing market as they age into major life milestones. The pent-up demand for housing is the result of having one whole generation delay buying a home. With builders currently struggling to keep up with current demands, there’s a lot of opportunity for investors who revitalize aged homes and give millennial buyers a chance at homeownership.
This demand will last for years and with inflation it’s expensive to build new homes. In these conditions New Western’s aged inventory is the perfect solution, as it’s cost-effective for investors to bring new life into these homes, while helping increase the value of communities. We are also seeing homeowners leave city centers and start to plant roots in suburban areas or towns with lower population densities. This is another trend where New Western’s aged inventory is the smart solution for investors looking to revitalize and sell homes in this competitive real estate market.
As seen across the country, home prices are rising due to this lack of inventory and buyers are prepared to spend more to get their dream home. Consumers made $1.0 trillion more than usual in 2020 due to government stimulus. And, of course, while we were all stuck at home, spending dropped by more than $500 billion. Would-be buyers had the ability to save more for a down payment and benefited from the surging stock market. On top of that, existing homeowners collectively gained more than $1.5 trillion in equity in 2020. All of this has given new homebuyers and existing homeowners more wealth to leverage and many are choosing to put that wealth into a new home — whether that’s making the leap from renter to homeowner or upgrading from an existing home to more space and a better location. Demographics are at play, but demand was also accelerated by the pivot to remote work. Now buyers and renters have the ability to live where they can get more home for their money. It all spells opportunity for New Western investors. The competitive and growing real estate market offers life-changing value for small business owners and individuals looking to jump the wealth gap and escape the rat race in corporate America, while helping improve the communities they invest in.
What’s next for you?
Our company is experiencing hypergrowth like we’ve never seen before. Over the past 10 years we’ve been growing about 40% on average, and are currently planning to grow 50-70% annually over the next 3-5 years – numbers perceived as impossible by many other businesses. New Western is disrupting this niche in the real estate industry that’s growing rapidly, and we are leading the charge in this expansion. We are really focused on giving our agents the tools to be successful and scale their number of transactions. Currently, our agents on average complete six times the amount of transactions compared to other agents in the industry. We are investing in technology and continuing education to give our agents the knowledge and resources to be as fast, efficient and successful as they can.
From a training perspective, we accelerated the development of the New Western University internal training platform for our agents. We also recently hired a chief people officer who specializes in adult learning techniques to support our agents’ training and growth. It’s exciting for these agents to work with an industry leader like New Western, as they have the opportunity to develop relationships with real estate investors who are constantly buying. Our agents are able to quickly build robust industry networks and have a fulfilling career.
Looking forward, growth is our main focus. Growing the number of real estate investors we work with at New Western, growing the number of home buyers we help at HomeGo, and growing the number of loans we provide at Sherman Bridge Lending to help real estate investors do what they do best – invest in communities.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
Many years ago I pioneered a local men’s group associated with our church. I have since passed leadership over, but I am still actively involved. We meet monthly and arrange education and speakers so we can all aspire to be better husbands, fathers and leaders in the community. Throughout the year we launch initiatives and mobilize volunteers from within our group to participate. This includes food drives and monthly assistance to a local shelter called The Bridge. We are constantly identifying needs within our community we can address from a hands-on perspective. I believe personally volunteering and regularly being face-to-face with the problems in our communities brings a perspective we are often blind to. We donate our fair share of money to various causes, but being able to contribute through real work and meet the people that you help is incredibly rewarding on a personal level.
Thanks to Kurt for sharing his story. If you’d like to connect, find him on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop us a line (Community @ geekestate dot com).