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Meet Landon Smith of The Landon Team in Denver Metro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Landon Smith.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I (Landon) was introduced to Real Estate in 2010 when my wife and I were engaged and started looking at homes. I was a full-time singer-songwriter and touring artist at the time. Knowing that I needed to find something that would get me off the road for three weeks a month, I was open to anything in music.

My REALTOR and lender at the time, Randy Bell and Curtis Helton, both asked me if I was open to Real Estate. Given the recession, the housing news, etc…I was a little hesitant but decided I’d give it a shot. I started working on my license and did my coursework in multiple locations across the country as I was still performing to make money. After getting my license in April of 2011, I closed 19 deals before 12/31 that year.

In 2012, I stopped touring and only played shows in Colorado to focus on my real estate career. Halfway through 2013 I left my team leader on good terms and started focusing on building my own team. Without a huge sphere of influence (I moved to CO in 2009) I used Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, etc…to build my business; in addition to working with fix/flip, buy/hold, and developer/builder clients. I hired a part-time assistant to help out with various tasks. His name is Randy Almquist, and at the time he was delivering pizzas. He and I worked really well together and I told him to start working on his license. Within about six months I was referral only and had enough business to start hiring team members.

At the beginning of 2014, I started Invested Real Estate Group; my own brokerage with a couple guys along with a property management company. By the time 2014 was over, I’d closed almost 80 transactions and had a team of 7. I couldn’t handle being a managing broker, compliance officer, team leader, marketer, and my personal production, so I left my brokerage to the other two founders and moved my team to Colorado Home Realty. The two founders converted the brokerage to property management only, are still good friends, and have grown their business substantially since then…and still manage some of my properties.

In 2015, I decided to start splitting deals with my agents. Initially, it was because I knew I had my first child on the way, and wanted to create space for family time as I’d been working 15 hours a day seven days a week since I got in the business. We started splitting tasks within a transaction for efficiency, and it became very clear that we could serve the consumer at a much higher level by clear division of labor. It also created bandwidth for more business. Being involved on the same side of a transaction with my team opened my eyes to who was really in the game for the right reasons. I lost a few team members that year; some left and some were asked to leave. We ended up doing more business in 2015 than 2014 and were able to be better husbands and fathers at the same time.

I had no idea that 2016 was going to be the start of the biggest life changes I’d experienced. I also didn’t know it would be my biggest year (personally) to date. I was working on a development project that forced me to go all in. We’d sold our dream house, made other financial moves, etc…to make it work. A week before closing, the deal fell apart, and just so happens it was on my birthday! While we didn’t lose anything monetarily, it forced my wife and I to step back and look at everything in a different light. Our entire immediate family is in the Austin TX area. By the time my daughter was 1 year old, she’d already flew over 30 times. Given the way my team was structured, I was showing homes far less than previous years, was working from home the majority of the time, and spending a ton of time in Austin. We mutually decided to start splitting time between Denver and Austin.

It was the most difficult decision I’d ever made, but we did it for my daughter. We’re both extremely close to our families, and they all live within half an hour of each other. Personally, I loved Colorado and still do. My friends were all clients, I had a great business that was so much fun, but I knew I wanted Chloe to grow up with her family.

After trying to figure out what it would look like from a business perspective, I went to my two best agents who had been with me since 2013 and 2014. Billy Wiegner and Randy Almquist. I looked closely at the strengths and weaknesses of the three of us, and they’re all different. In the spirit of playing to everyone’s strengths, we decided that I would focus on Investors, builders, developers, marketing, and business development. Randy would handle buyers, lead conversion, and showing homes. Billy would handle listings, contracts, and negotiations…all knowing that there would be some overlap.

Between 2017 and 2018, we collectively served our clients in well over 200 transactions. I’ve flown between Denver and Austin over 100 times in the past couple years and know the DIA & ABIA Clear/TSA guys pretty well now haha.

We’ve certainly gone through some growing pains, but we’re always refining with efficiency, education, and the consumer experience in mind. This setup has allowed us to focus on tasks that utilize our strengths and make up for the weaknesses we all have. With the freedom I’ve been given on a daily basis, it’s allowed me to focus on what gets a transaction from good to great, begin working on a building and development company, dive deeper into investing in rental properties, etc…all of which end up serving the consumer as I gladly share what works and what doesn’t. I love real estate, and I love to learn. The similarities of TX & CO are many; as are the differences. It’s a unique privilege to look at each from the lens of the other. I wake up every day because I want to show people what’s possible, and see how I can help them get wherever it is they want to go. Our mission is to serve, give, empower, and educate every human we come in contact with. Our ultimate goal is to create an always-expanding community by being the place people go for information, what’s possible, and how to reach their goals. Always learning, refining, educating, serving; knowing the solution may be our service or a connection elsewhere.

Has it been a smooth road?
Real estate is hard at the beginning. I used cash advances on credit cards to pay the mortgage a couple of times when I first started. I’ve had to learn to restructure debt, take risks, try and predict, deal with my own emotions while dealing with others. Managing people is hard. Staying calm can be hard. There’s no manual for running a team in a different state. It’s been super tough, but well worth it. I can elaborate on much of that if needed.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We specialize in all things real estate. We are known for being the guys to go to with questions. We don’t always know the answers, but if we don’t, we know who does. We’re not in this for a sale, we’re in it to find out what people’s goals are. We give options and advice that doesn’t always make us money, and that’s okay. We want to be the trusted source. If you tell us where you’re trying to go, we’ll help you get there, regardless of whether it’s with us or not. I’m a very creative guy, and getting to use that for the benefit of others is the most fun and rewarding part of my career.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Denver is a great place to start although it’s extremely competitive. The industry has transformed substantially since I started and will continue to do so. My team may not be the place to start, but our company certainly would be. My team is very aligned with Colorado Home Realty. It’s all about service, education, and consumer experience. From the building and developing standpoint, Cities in the metro area make it extremely time and cost prohibitive for affordable housing. It’s something that needs to change. That said, a lot of the regulations are very important and need to stay. Too much deregulation is just as bad to overregulation.

Denver metro is certainly not alone on that. I see the same things in Austin. Some of it is just common sense reform, some would require major reform. Some is just the city(s) not knowing how to handle the crazy growth. I believe there’s a happy medium when it comes to regulation around building and developing. I have examples of too much and too little. At the end of the day, the focus needs to be on what’s best for the citizens in these communities. I don’t think they know how they’re being impacted.

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