Unlocking Real Estate Success

Mastering Real Estate and Entrepreneurship with Jeremy Brandt

Join us as we delve into the journey of Jeremy Brandt, a visionary in real estate technology and investment. Discover the strategies and insights that have propelled him to the forefront of the industry.

Innovative Strategies

Explore cutting-edge techniques that Jeremy uses to stay ahead in the competitive real estate market.

Expert Insights

Gain valuable knowledge from Jeremy’s extensive experience in real estate and entrepreneurship.

Proven Success

Learn about the successful ventures and impactful decisions that define Jeremy’s career.

Jeremy Brandt

Jeremy Brandt is a trailblazer in the real estate industry, known for his innovative approach to property investment and technology. From a young age, Jeremy exhibited a strong entrepreneurial spirit, starting various ventures while still in his teens. Moving to Texas at 16, he quickly immersed himself in the world of computers and networking, laying the foundation for his future success.

Jeremy’s career took a significant turn during the dot-com bubble when he decided to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams full-time. He began flipping houses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, combining his tech-savvy background with real estate. This led to the creation of a lead generation company for real estate investors, which eventually evolved into the nationally recognized brand, WeBuyHouses.com.

Under Jeremy’s leadership, WeBuyHouses.com has grown into a national brand with locally owned and operated offices, facilitating thousands of home sales annually. Jeremy is also a sought-after expert in real estate, frequently contributing to major media outlets and speaking at industry events. His resilience and adaptability have helped him navigate challenges, including the 2008 housing crisis, and emerge stronger than ever.

"If you want a low-stress life, being an entrepreneur is not the career path you should choose." – Jeremy Brandt

Transcript

HENRY: Well, Jeremy, thank you very much for being on entrepreneurs, business and finance. 

JEREMY: Thanks, Henry. Good to be here. 

HENRY: So I’m going to give a rather long introduction for my friend, good friend, Jeremy Brandt, because he’s done and is doing a lot of things. So he’s a founder of WeBuyHouses.com.

He’s an entrepreneur, a lender, an angel investor, and he has a focus in real estate technology.  And he’s such a expert that he’s asked regularly to you. Contribute to major media outlets around the country, including Fox News, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business, NPR, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, which in fact you had an article in which you were a contributor just a few days ago.

And then I saved this one for last, Larry King Live, because some people may not even remember Larry King Live. So that gives you an idea. I’ve been gone for a while.  So you started this a long time ago. It wasn’t something new. You’re also we met through the entrepreneurs organization where you were a member in Dallas and went on to become president, which I was also president.

Then you founded the Fort Worth chapter. Then you went on to become a chair of the EO Global Governance Committee, which means you were Very involved at the top echelon of the worldwide organization called EO, standing for Entrepreneurs Organization. So you have a busy person with a lot of accomplishments and you have personally invested with me in the past and we you’ve got a beautiful home and actually celebrated my birthday with me a week and a half ago and in your backyard with a got a nice big pool and oversized hot tub if it’s too hot. So it’s great to have you on.

And I’m going to just kind of, we kind of went to the end and I want to see about maybe going back to the beginning.  Where and how you started out  in the entrepreneur world.

And then before that, how you started out in the business world, because I think it’s a really interesting story.  Because you weren’t from Dallas originally, and now you live in the Dallas Fort Worth area, still not in Dallas, but the Dallas Fort Worth area.  How did that, how did that happen? 

JEREMY: Well, I think I was always an entrepreneur. I grew up in Washington state. I was homeschooled by my parents oldest of a large family. I have six siblings and grew up very independent. And from a very young age, I was the kid that was. Buying stuff at Costco and selling candy to neighbors and doing all that kind of stuff.

And so I think that was always kind of in my blood and something that I was always a part of me. Always had odd jobs during the summertime and working on different projects. Very entrepreneurial. And then when I moved, I moved down to Texas with my family when I was about 16. Got involved really heavily in computers and computer networking and kind of at the right place at the right time.

And both worked for a computer store and then kind of started a side business doing computer pair work and computer networking and that type of a thing. And just always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. And the opportunity, the opportunity just hadn’t presented itself yet. And then during the dot com bubble,  I got laid off from the company that I was working for.

Really great job at a consulting company. Loved it. It was traveling all over the country and got laid off, which was in retrospect, one of the best things that happened because that jump started being an entrepreneur. I think sometimes people that have really comfortable salaries, it kind of becomes golden handcuffs and difficult to go follow their entrepreneurial dream, because you have to really take a big risk and a big leap.

And so that happening to me in 2001 or so was really a blessing in disguise because helped me go start my company and really focus on building my own business and and on the entrepreneur journey. And so I first started by getting involved in real estate. I was flipping houses around VFW really loved it.

It was a great time to be in real estate. I think you were probably in real estate back then as well. And and so just really enjoyed it. And quickly kind of combined my technology background with the real estate that I was doing. And the first kind of business that I started beyond house flipping was a lead generation company for real estate investors.

 So we were doing online marketing and SEO and all that kind of stuff before almost anybody was doing it in real estate investing. And we’re getting houses from all over the country, people that wanted to sell their house to an investor. And so we would not going to go buy a house in Miami based here in Dallas.

As you would call investors and just say, we’ve got these people that want to sell their house to an investor. It needs a bunch of work. Would you give us a thousand dollars if we make the introduction and you buy the house? And everybody said yes at the time. And so pretty quickly, the, the focus shifted from buying and selling real estate to running an online marketplace for people that want to sell their house to a real estate investor, a cash buyer, and started that business.

Now we’re, I think 21 years old, it’s called fast home offer. And and have been going great you know, since we started a bootstrapped, we never raised outside capital definitely went through some difficult times during the Oh, eight housing crisis and real estate is very cyclical in our business kind of follows the cycles of real estate, but overall, it’s been a fantastic business.

We’ve worked with millions and millions of home sellers and tens of thousands of real estate investors all across the United States and Canada helping kind of connect those home sellers with with investors. I think within a couple of years of starting that company is when you and I met I had kind of grown up in in a small town.

I didn’t have a lot of different mentors. Again, I was homeschooled. My parents were somewhat entrepreneurial, but kind of very small. On a very small scale. And and as I started a business, I was looking around for  other entrepreneurs, people to learn from, I was a voracious reader, read every book on entrepreneurialism that’s out there but I found entrepreneurs organization, which is how you and I met.

And it was just kind of the right thing at the right time for me. I was in my twenties building this business, having a lot of success, but very unsure of what the next thing was and how to do it. And you. All these questions. And, you know, the first time you do anything is the most difficult it’s ever going to be.

And when I joined entrepreneurs organization was amazing because I found  dozens, hundreds of other people that were. On the same journey I was but a different spot on the path, and it made it much easier to one just have people to talk to you about the things that you’re working on and what you’re doing.

And then to people to learn from that have already been through some of the same struggles and can tell you what they learned from them so  I’ve been, as you know, and you have part of that organization for a very long time and volunteer a lot of my time and energy to it. And it’s been a great, great group.

I think any entrepreneur should join EO if there’s a chapter in their city and and it’s a fit for them.  

HENRYT: It also opened my eyes as well. We’ve, that was going on 20 years ago and I remember not knowing much outside of my business and having a family full of professional people, which are all very smart, but a different journey of being a doctor, a lawyer, you know, government.

And one thing that I think was intriguing to shows your, I mean, I’ve met your family, your parents, your siblings. And so they were always there and loving and supporting for you. You’ve shared. And of course I’ve met them, but you were kind of on your own at age 16, which is unusual. 

Why don’t you give her a little quick story about that? Cause I think that’s neat. Most people be kind of afraid to do that.

JEREMY: Yeah, I mean, maybe I was a bit of an odd duck. I mean, I as I said, it was always very independent, always entrepreneurial. The oldest of seven was always kind of.

Trying to go off and do things on my own. And when my family had moved down to Texas, it wasn’t a permanent move. They came down here for about a year. And then they were going to go back up to Washington where they had some property. And when it was time for them to go back to Washington, I was about 16 or maybe just turned 17.

And I had gotten this great job at a computer store. I was making really good money. I was loving what I was doing. And I went to my parents and said, I just want to, I want to stay down here and do this. I found something that’s. Interesting to me and that I enjoy.  And I mean, amazingly supportive parents they were, you know, we had some conversations about it, but they allowed me to stay here in Texas and and we’re supportive of that and trusted me to be down here kind of on my own.

And and so it was, I think oftentimes some of the best things that parents can do is just be supportive of the kind of dreams of their kids if they’re very ambitious and want to go do something that’s a little bit less traditional. You know, I was homeschooled, so I hadn’t really finished school yet per se, right?

I was still kind of in that, and this was a really foregoing college, but it was, I think, it felt right, like the right path for me and the right path to take for the, for the journey that I was on and the kind of person that I was going to be. And so I’m, I’m endlessly appreciative of that. To them for supporting that and helping enable that happen 

HENRY: There’s so many different ways to learn and school is one of them.

And I think recently, I mean, given the right circumstance, I would encourage anyone to go to college, but there’s been some pushback to leave. That’s not always the thing that you need to do, especially if there’s a lot of debt. And, you know, if it’s not really something, you know, you’re going to want to do with, you know, all those considerations.

And there are other ways to learn and be a professional and very successful. And you’re certainly a good, I And I think that’s a really good example of that because there’s college graduates and they majored something and they can’t find a job and it can be hard for them. Yeah. And you’re, well, you had one at 16.

So, so, so now you have a national organization, several really. And you want to talk about what leaving out maybe the lending and real estate investment, what your we buy homes does, we buy houses or?

JEREMY: Yeah.  So, you know, I started this lead generation company 22 ish years ago. And and we still have that but over the years, what came out of that was, it was, um, very profitable and we’re looking for kind of what is the next thing that I want to do or how do we grow this or expand it and about 13 or 14 years ago, I had the opportunity to purchase WeBuyHouses.com, which is a company that very well known all across the country at the time they were mostly selling leads to real estate investors, kind of like what I was doing.

And they just hadn’t really dialed it in in a way that I thought it could be dialed in.  And so it took me about five years of chasing these guys that owned this company and this domain name and the brand but was able to finally purchase it and the vision that we had around building WeBuyHouses.com was, we kind of called it the anti-franchise. The real estate investing kind of these franchise systems, which are great, but they’re mostly about teaching people how to be a real estate investor, and really constraining them within the exact system that that franchise or wants, which makes sense, right?

You don’t want to go to McDonald’s and have a burger that doesn’t taste like another McDonald’s burger. You must follow the formula exactly. So that’s kind of what franchises are great at. 

But having been in this lead business for many, many years what I heard over and over from these franchisees was  it’s great if you want to learn about real estate investing, but if you’re already an expert real estate investor the overhead that they add and the fees that they add and the constraints of their system. 

Make it much more difficult. And they’re actually hindering to to the real estate investor. But what they loved was the national brand, the national access to technology being able to negotiate national deals with very large companies based on having a large organization. And so that was really what we set out to build and what we have built. 

Which is this large national brand that’s I would say one of the top couple of brands in residential real estate investing in the country WeBuyHouses.com and then locally owned and operated offices all over the United States that operate under our brand, but do it under a brand license, so we don’t put really tight controls around what they do as long as they’re honest and ethical and legal and treating consumers right.

How they do their investing is not as important to us. We don’t get involved deep into their PNL and the balance sheet and kind of the details of their business. We’re more of a service provider to them and charge a monthly license fee and fees for accessing technology and fees for doing marketing more of a service provider.

And so what happened was we just built this amazing network of incredibly experienced, large residential real estate investors who were able to that operate under the brand that own exclusive territories and cities all over the country, but are free to kind of operate their business, how they want to locally.

And that’s been a really great fit for what experienced investors want and a great fit for us and the kind of business that we want to run and then we run a national an annual mastermind group with all of our investors come together. We have one coming up this fall here in Dallas.

Where they all come from all over the country, and we run a conference and a mastermind with all of our licensees. And one of the neat things that’s come out of that is that they all feel comfortable sharing their secrets of how they’re investing, things that they’ve learned, marketing tactics that are working well for them.

They feel very comfortable sharing that in this setting because there are no competitors in the room. Everybody’s got an exclusive area. Nobody crosses over. And so everybody feels really comfortable sharing and not Worrying that a competitor is going to take, you know, some, something that they’ve learned or some angle that they’ve found.

And, and that’s been really fun. We just got an incredible group of people. I think the last time we surveyed them I think last year we bought about 3000 houses across our brand nationally. So pretty significant volume of real estate kind of coming through the system with all of our local offices and and so yeah, WeBuyHouses.com has been just a phenomenal ride.

We’ve done deals with, you know, the largest big box retailers for like Lowe’s and Home Depot and you know, companies like that to provide discounts to everybody in our group. Because again, you get that large of a group, you have real buying power when it comes to purchasing construction materials and, and that type of thing.

So yeah, it’s been, it’s been a lot of fun. And the, the two main companies we have in the property space really are that WeBuyHouses.com, which is our brand license. And Fast Home Offer, which is our pay per lead service for investors. 

HENRY: And if someone wanted to come join you, a real estate investor, is that something they could reach out to your website online and you talk to them about that possibility?

JEREMY: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, either of those websites, they can go to WeBuyHouses.com or FastHomeOffer.com and there’s a, you know, contact us, learn more information link on there. 

HENRY: So how did you become an expert and where did it start that the Wall Street Journal is reaching out to you and you’ve been on national TV  live 

How did that get started? Because that’s not something that most people are called on to do.

JEREMY: You know, it’s an interesting story that will come full circle back to EO. When I had, you know, first started doing the lead business, I was reading, you know, all kinds of books and there were lots of different books out there. One of the books that I read was a book called free PR and it was written by somebody here locally that, you know, Jeff Crilley.

This was, he was a, he was a reporter for the local Fox news or for local Fox station here in Dallas. And I just read this book cause I’d heard about it and kind of talked a lot about how to get publicity for your business. And with that book and some others I really started doing exactly what they said to do, which is just reporters are desperate for stories.

And people that own companies are experts in usually the company that they’re running. They think about it all day long. And if you just go reach out to reporters and talk to them, you’ll end up with a lot of stories about what you’re doing and your company, and you can become an expert in industry.

And that’s  really all that I did. I mean, I was getting my twenties. I just, every time I saw a story about real estate investing or the real estate market, I would call the reporter and give my opinion. And a lot of them said, thank you. I never heard from him again, but a number of them did a follow up story or asked more questions.

And really that’s how I became a kind of a, a person in the industry that is often interviewed in the media is once you’ve done it two or three times, reporters are looking around for who’s talking about this topic. And then my name would start popping up.  The funny story of you know, again, Larry King’s been off the air for a long time, but he used to have a nightly live talk show on CNN.

And the funny story about how I ended up on Larry King. Again, this is how easy it is sometimes. And why you also shouldn’t trust the talking heads on TV. I was driving, I was, I was in my car driving somewhere and I was listening to satellite radio CNN and an ad came on for Larry King that night.

And this is how long ago it was. It said coming up tonight Donald Trump is talking about the real estate market. And this was like, 2008, I think 2009 Donald Trump’s talking about the real estate market and what’s going on. And we have these other guests and it was a promo for Larry King live that evening.

And again, I just, cause I thought cold calling was the way to go and nobody calls these reporters. I picked up my phone. I Googled the name, the phone number for CNN in New York. And I called the phone number and I said, I need to talk to the producer for Larry King live. And like, hold on a second.

And they transferred me over to some guy and I said, look, I know it’s too late. I’m the CEO of this company. I deal with real estate all day long. I just heard your ad that you’re talking about real estate tonight on Larry King. I’m sure it’s too late, but if you ever need somebody to talk about it, I’m happy to, to help and you know, we’re national, we work with distressed real estate, et cetera, kind of gave some qualifications and the producer said, sure, thank you.

You’ve got my number. And that was the end of it. I totally forgot about it. Cause I had done that kind of a thing a dozen times. And then a week later I got a call on a Monday and I said, this is so and so the producer of Larry King live. Are you available Wednesday evening to be on the show? We’re doing another show on real estate.

And you know, if you’re available, we’d love to have you. And that’s how that happened. And it was literally one phone call. They didn’t, they probably did some vetting online, but they didn’t really do any vetting of me or asking me too many preliminary questions. And I went out to a studio in Dallas that evening and did the live remote on Larry King.

And it was, you know, live TV on CNN. And it was. Very exciting and quite stressful, but kind of a cool experience. 

HENRY: Really cool. I think to give you some credit here, they don’t keep inviting you back if you aren’t really an expert and you don’t have good quotes. You don’t know what you’re talking about because I’ve seen the quotes and I know you’re an expert.

Well, one thing people always seem to like to hear and I can understand why is people sometimes have a vision that everything was easy and smooth sailing and from our experience in entrepreneurship and you referenced one point, the housing crisis, and maybe that’s the point.  We’re going to talk about, but what’s the story or two about something that you had to overcome because everybody I know certainly has had those trepidations.

I think Mitchell Allen, who we both know, he, he talks about how he was 27 days away from running out of cash completely and basically having to go bankrupt and and one of his first businesses.  May not have been that severe, but I know there’s been times when it’s stressful other than just going on Larry King.

JEREMY: Well, yeah, that’s the, that’s the good kind of stress.  No, for, for sure. And I would say you know, when I’m talking to entrepreneurs or people that want to be entrepreneurs, I say often, if, if you want a low stress life, being an entrepreneur is not the career path that you should choose. I mean, certainly there’s a lot of advantages to it, but from the out, probably like anything from the outside, looking in, a lot of people view it very differently than the reality of what it looks like.

And absolutely I’ve had multiple times throughout my career where we’re basically bankrupt. I remember in the, in the 2008 housing crisis we lost. So I had to shut down one business that I had that we haven’t really talked about, but it was shut down in 2008.

And then the lead business, we lost about 60 or 70 percent of our clients in 10 months. So I had a multi, you have to have a million dollar business to be an EO. I had a multimillion-dollar business.  Things were going great. The housing market crashes and every day we’d go into the office and more clients would quit and more clients would quit.

And we just started bleeding cash. I, you know, during this period of time, I laid everybody off in the company. It was back to me as the only person in the company. Gave up all my office space, went back to working from an extra bedroom in my house.  And really just tried to hold on. And I think for a period of time had an unhealthy optimism.

I think entrepreneurs are good at always believing the best is going to happen. An unhealthy optimism about the market’s just going to turn around. It’s just going to turn around. And it wasn’t, and it was kind of digging a deeper and deeper hole. And you know, one day I just woke up and kind of sat down and said, if this business is going to be bankrupt, what’s everything that I can do before that happens.

Like it was going to go away anyway. I might as well go down like fighting.  And I still have the note that I made that I go back and look at sometimes like all the actions that I was going to take that day. Do fix what I could do. I couldn’t, you know, I couldn’t go get more clients in a bad housing market, but there are a bunch of things that I could do.

And that was right before I gave up the office space. I laid everybody off, you know, laying people off is one of the hardest things that you can ever do. And so, especially as an entrepreneur, because often you’re your friends. But you must do it, right?  Company goes bankrupt. They’re all going to be laid off anyway with less runway.

And so it’s the right thing to do to kind of do the hard thing. And and lay people off early on. So you can give them some runway. Same with the office space, you know, holding on to this office space. And it was just, we’re bleeding money. We can’t continue to do this. And so I made a, I really just decided if the company’s bankrupt, then it’s all going to go away anyway.

So I might as well do it proactively and in a methodical manner and, and was able to cut all of the expenses down to a very small amount. And you know, I ran an unprofitable business for about two and a half, three years. Where I was working every day to lose less money not to make money, just to lose less money than I had the day before.

But the, the positive that came out of that was every single one of our competitors went out of business during that time. You know, real estate is full of opportunists. And so there’s a lot of opportunists that when things are great, they come in. Kind of milk it for everything it’s worth.

And as soon as the market shifts, they all disappear and do something else. And we had kind of stuck with it through that time. So in the real estate market started to come back, we were the only company doing what we did. So as the customers came back, we got all of the customers for a year and a half, two years until, you know, more people kind of started coming in to compete.

But it was, it was a stressful time. It was a tough time. And I’ve had a number of those. Throughout my career, probably two or three or four you know, moments where you don’t know if you’re going to survive businesswise, you don’t know if it’s worth it, you question why you’re even doing this and then you, you know, you dig deep and you push through and keep going and you get through the other side and kind of figure it out.

HENRY: Well, congratulations to you for pushing through and being who you are. Um, you do, you’ve done a little bit of speaking also. Is that generally EO groups or I know you could push that if you wanted and you don’t, you just get asked like you were asked to be on this because people know you and respect you and like you speeches where you go through those stories. Is that part of what you talk about? Or it depends on the setting. I guess, you know, maybe how to invest in real estate, how to get leads. 

JEREMY: Yeah, I enjoy speaking. I enjoy being on podcasts. I think you know, especially for anybody that’s been in business for a long time, a great way to give back is to share all those stories so that people can learn from, you know, my mistakes or the things that I’ve done wrong or, you know things that I’ve learned along the way.

I think that’s a great way to give back. And I enjoy that. One of my kind of funny things is that the only time that I’ve ever gone to college was as a speaker because I didn’t, I didn’t go to college, but I’ve spoken at two or three universities now to their different classes on entrepreneurship or at the A& M law school here in Fort Worth.

And so that’s been kind of a fun thing talking to students about entrepreneurialism or, you know, different things that we’ve done or so I, I enjoy that give back. I enjoy talking to people and, and just sharing kind of stories and experiences from my life. And maybe it saves somebody a couple of years of pain and they get there faster when they’re building a business.

HENRY: Well, that’s a good note to leave on because you can follow Jeremy in many ways because he’s out there whether it’s the Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn, he’ll typically post or his various websites and because you do go around and go on podcasts and communicate. So, um, Jeremy Brandt  I can’t even list all the names of your companies, but we’ll just call one that people know, WeBuyHouses.com. And thanks so much for coming on. Really appreciate it.  And I will talk to you soon.  Bye, Jeremy.

Our Product Evolution

Discover the journey of WeBuyHouses.com as we continue to innovate and expand our services to better serve our clients and partners.

Acquisition Phase

We acquired WeBuyHouses.com, envisioning a transformation into a national brand with localized expertise.

2005

Brand Licensing Model

Implemented a unique brand licensing model allowing local investors to operate under a trusted national brand.

2008

Expansion of Local Offices

Expanded our network with locally owned and operated offices across the country.

2012

Technology Integration

Integrated advanced technology solutions to streamline operations and enhance customer experience.

2015

National Recognition

Achieved national recognition through media features and industry awards.

2018

Future Innovations

Continuing to innovate with new tools and resources for our investors and clients.

2023 and beyond