We had the good fortune of connecting with Derek Campbell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derek, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I love real estate and have always wanted to start my own investment business. I previously managed a team of wholesalers at a large acquisitions company but wholesaling was never the end game for me. I enjoyed the energy and teaching others about what I loved but wanted to be more than just a middle man. I wanted to be able to provide my clients real value, I wanted to be able to directly help people out of some very trying situations and ultimately make the community brighter. That said, to be honest, while starting my own company was always in the back of my mind, I figured it would be a little later in life. I planned to play it a bit safer, learn more, save more etc. but when this opportunity fell or you could say was forced into my lap, I had to take it, and there has been no looking back since. So to answer your question, I just leaped. Of course I put thought into it, evaluated financials, market potential, believe me when I say there were countless spreadsheets, but when it really came down to it, it was a calculated leap with faith in both myself and the team I secured. I’ve since come to the conclusion that I was never going to be fully ready, I don’t think you ever can be. There is always more to know, more that you can plan and if I had waited for the stars to align perfectly, I may never have gotten to where I am today. This last year has been challenging to say the least, and if we are being transparent, at times frightening. My financial models and planning didn’t include COVID or a city wide shut down. I never considered the possibility that phone calls from leads would just stop for over a month. But the good far outweighs the bad. I’ve learned more than I can imagine, opened my eyes to possibilities I never knew existed, built lifelong relationships and most importantly reconnected to my passion in a way that is truly fulfilling.
What should our readers know about your business?
Flash Realty Solutions is a boutique Real Estate firm specializing in the purchase and renovation of distressed homes in the greater Houston area. I started in real estate investment wholesaling five years ago. I really loved matching sellers to investors, but always intended to take down properties myself. Cutting out the middle piece allows Flash to tailor our solutions to our clients needs and ultimately offer our sellers a better value for their property. This is particularly important in the market we operate in. Many of our clients have recently suffered a loss, are facing financial strife, or otherwise unable to list their market traditionally. Using our nearly 40 years of collective experience and vast real estate market knowledge allows Flash to do right by our clients which is the bit I love most. At the end of the day, our market knowledge and the ability to perform on what we say we will do is what makes us stand out. There are plenty of companies that do what we do, so we work everyday to do it better. Our services often do not end at the closing table. We care about our clients and want to make certain they are equipped to make the transition to the next stage of their life seamlessly. Our team has helped our clients find a new place to live, arranged moving services, we’ve even helped them host online yard sales to lessen the load. We really do care, I think that is what I am most proud of in my team, their compassion and willingness to go the extra mile really is beyond comparison. The road to where I am today has been less than straight at times, but each experience taught me something new that made where I am today possible. I began my real estate career as a financial analyst. A few years later I transitioned to wholesaling where I sold properties to investors other agents acquired, I then moved into acquiring them myself and ultimately ran my own team of agents. Each step allowed me to use my previous training and build upon my soft and managerial skills in the space. But I still wanted to flip them myself which I had no experience with. It wasn’t until I partnered with Ryan DiGiovanni, a skilled and experienced flipper that I was able to move into the space. With my market knowledge, Ryans project management experience, and a few other key players we’ve been able to make it happen. It really is all about the team you surround yourself with. If you want to be successful, find people who are passionate and eager and just watch what you can build together. We’ve of course had challenges along the way. Covid-19 set us back like many other small and large business alike. We had to evolve very early on, and continue to. That is part of what makes us different. We do not do things like other people. We are lean, efficient and ready to pivot, and because of that our clients are better off. We know no two homes are the same, no two families are in the same spot, and because of that we do not assume that any two people will find comfort in the same solution. This is why education is a big piece of our process. Our neighbors cannot make the best decision for them without knowing what their options are and what each means for them and their unique situation. We acknowledge that what we do is niche and not a fit for everyone, that said, we are more than happy to provide resources and referrals to get each person to their end goal. As we scale, this human aspect will continue to be a cornerstone of our business. We are first and foremost a people company. What we do is very personal, selling a home is riddled with emotion no matter the circumstance, and in order to be successful, our clients need to feel confident in us and their decision to work with us or to take another route. We are a numbers company second, and the numbers will always need to make sense for us to execute. Each renovation is different, and comes with its own challenges and excitements, that is part of what makes the job fun. No two projects or days are the same. Different neighborhoods require different renovation styles which allow us to flex our creativity and make each property feel like a home. Producing high quality will always be the end goal, because again, this is a people business, and homes are made for people to love, grow, learn and build a life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of the best parts of living in Houston, is that there is something for everyone and new things are constantly popping up. I love experiencing culture through food, and Tex-Mex, BBQ and a great Texas size steak are a must for anyone new to town. El Tiempo, Killens and B&B Butchers are a few of my favorites for dinner respectively. Activities are certainly dependent on the time of year, but a few of my go tos in the city are visiting our world renowned Museum District, feeding the giraffes at the Houston Zoo, picnic on the lawn at Hermann park or spending the afternoon shopping, and sampling jerky, at the Manready Mercantile in the Heights. A bit further out there is of course NASA, which is still mind blowing, and for some fun in the sun year round, the Kemah boardwalk and galveston beach. My family is from Pennsylvania, and most of them still live there, so it is always fun to show them a good time down by the water. No trip is complete without visiting a local beer garden and/or patio accompanied by a good food truck snack. Karbach, St. Arnold and 8th Wonder are great local spots with live music, outdoor games and great company!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A number of people. First and foremost, my family. I would not be here today without their support. My mom and brothers have been there since day one offering constant love and encouragement, pushing me to be better and do better, and to think differently. My dad died when I was young, but even in my short time with him he taught me the importance of hard work, kindness and that life is short to not enjoy it. Knowing that allowed me to take the leap even when I was scared of failure, I would not be here without his influence. Fortune favors the bold, and I have never been afraid of putting it all on myself and my team to succeed. There are also a handful of close friends that I owe my success to. Those that pushed me to forge my own path, picked me up when I fell and lent an ear when I needed it. Over the past year I’ve learned the importance of these friends and how rare they really are. A number of people will celebrate your successes with you, those that stick out the rough stages are really the ones worth holding onto. I owe a special shoutout to my partner Ryan for taking a chance on me. He not only took the time to talk with me during my career transition about how I could help him, but also about what I wanted for my future. He truly cared about what I wanted to do, what brought purpose to my life, and from there he believed in our ability to build something amazing. He is a calming influence since he has been there, and is always there to talk through challenges together. I would not be here without my team. This year has tested each of us, challenged us in new ways, and ultimately allowed us to grow closer as a unit. I am constantly in awe of their dedication and determination to make Flash what it is and to make Houston a brighter city one renovation at a time. Every member has their own strengths, and i’m excited to see where we continue to go as we recruit other talented individuals with a passion for the investment world.