Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexander DiSaggio.
Alexander, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been self-employed all of my life since I was 14 years old. So I am an entrepreneur at heart. While attending Florida State University in my early 20’s I had embarked upon a business venture that I was able to expand to the 6 states in the Southeast. When I graduated Florida State in 2001, I moved on to my 7th state which was Texas and took residence in Houston. Unfortunately, 9/11 happened shortly after and 70% of my business was gone overnight. I basically had to start over and chose to do so in real estate.
I got licensed with a local Century 21 franchise and quickly realized that the training courses for real estate were all “fluff” so after being licensed as a real estate agent for only 6 months I challenged the broker to let me train a group of agents and saw immediate success. After 2 years in the business and much success, I acquired my broker’s license and began DiSaggio Properties. At the time I actually did not want to hire any agents under my brokerage, I simply wanted to do real estate deals myself because I love closing deals!
Fast forward 6 years. Although I had never believed in God, He got my attention in a big way and once I gave everything over to Him, things changed dramatically. He impressed upon me that I needed to start a new brokerage and begin hiring and training agents. I pushed back because I really did not want the liability or the trouble, but if any of you know God, you know that you can only say “no” to Him for so long. I was given the opportunity to start a brokerage called City Group and it was too good to pass up.
As of today, City Group Properties is a full service residential and commercial real estate brokerage in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and we just opened in my hometown of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, FL a couple of weeks ago. It is truly amazing what God has done with my life and my business. Even though I am a broker with the responsibility of managing and training agents in each city, I still love the deal and I still actively practice as an agent myself. Just last year, I was awarded as one of the Top Producers for 2016 by the Houston Association of Realtors and I also received an award as one of the 100 most influential real estate agents.
As for City Group Properties, I have an aggressive plan to open 10 states in the next 5 years and if all goes well in our new Miami and Ft. Lauderdale locations, we will be on track to meet that goal. If there were a couple of pieces of advice I could provide, they would be this: Never get discouraged and be consistent. Anything that is worth doing in life is not going to be easy, there are going to be hurdles and setbacks. Successful people don’t get discouraged or frustrated, they simply keep moving forward. If you are going to do anything, make sure you are consistent. You can “try” things out and move on, you have to trust that what you are doing is going to pay off and keep at it every day until it does. I have had dozens of businesses and each one took at least a year before I would see real profit. That means for at least a year, I was working every day, not seeing profit, but trusting what I was doing would have a reward, and it always did. Last piece of advice, trust God. He is amazing, and although people may let you down, He NEVER will. Sometimes it may seem like he is not there, but remember: the teacher is always quiet while the student is taking the test.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nothing worth doing is going to be smooth. If you have no hurdles, troubles, or setbacks, then your goals may be too low. If you want to reach for the stars, you have to figure out how to get in to space, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride. I’ve had 2 major setbacks in my life. The first was 9/11. Killed my business almost overnight when the gas priced spiked. I had worked extremely hard to set up my business over 7 states in 3 years and was just about to sell my first franchise when 9/11 happened and everything was gone before I knew it. So, what did I do? Picked myself back up and started over in a completely different industry that I knew nothing about, real estate. I learned everything I could about real estate in the first few months and within 6 months I was training other agents. The second major setback was the global economic meltdown that happened in 2007. That was not a great time to be in real estate. I went from making over $300,000 a year in 2005 to a fraction of that by the end of 2006. So, what did I do? Reinvented my real estate company in to an apartment locating company and that definitely helped through the recession and as a result my company came out stronger when the economy came back. I am glad we don’t have to apartment locating anymore though, I like residential and commercial deals much more.
City Group Properties – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company is City Group Properties. We are a full service residential and commercial real estate company, so basically we help people buy and sell properties. There is a twist, however. Being that I am an entrepreneur at heart and not simply a real estate agent, I am always thinking about fun ideas to give our agents and our clients a “competitive advantage”.
For example, when we sell properties for our clients, our goal is to “market” their properties better than any other brokerage. One of the things we did to accomplish that was simply taking better photos and video than anyone else. In order to do that I had to become a photographer so I could really get control over the quality. Today, we have multi-million dollar listings in West U as well as builders that use us to sell their homes because the quality of our photos and video is better than anyone else out there. Our videos are not just “slide shows” like most other agents that say they have a virtual tour, they are cinematic videos of the properties and we can also guarantee that our clients’ videos will show as the #1 video on YouTube for that zip code in the first week of being published. If you go to YouTube and search “homes 77005” you will see a property I just listed in West U a week ago as the #1 video.
As far as our competitive advantage with our agents, we offer them a 30 day jump start training that is guaranteed to get them their first deal in 30 days if they follow the steps. Statistically, most agents won’t see their first deal for a minimum of 6 months. We also do all of the client preapprovals and contracts for our agents, so all they have to do is show properties.
Lastly, our biggest niche is “owner financing”. My company has the ability to say “yes” to people that everyone else is saying “no” to and get them in the home they deserve via our owner finance and rent with option programs.
Self-employed individuals are my favorite clients because I truly relate to them. When a self-employed person tries to buy a home, the bank looks at their tax returns instead of their bank statement to verify their income. Smart self-employed people expense out as much as possible on their tax returns and therefore the banks won’t allow them to buy the house they can truly afford because it looks like they do not make enough money after expenses. However, if you look at their bank statements you would clearly see they make more than enough money. I love helping with those type of transactions, because I am in the same boat.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I think the problem is that most people define success as how much money you make, and honestly I don’t disagree totally with that. There is, I believe, a big caveat to that however.
If you are always “wanting” money or things, and you feel like you will be happy “when” you get those things, then guess what? You still won’t be happy when you get what you want, you will just want something else.
You have to learn to be “content”, happy, when you have nothing. If you can be happy with nothing, then you will be in the right mindset to have everything.
I have found that if you are “desperate” for money, it will run from you, and you will never catch it. But when you are content, and don’t really care about the money, you are doing whatever you are doing because you enjoy it or you are passionate about it, then the money will come to you. I love real estate, I love the thrill of the deal. I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the thrill. The money has come all on its own. I was happy and grateful when I had no money, and now that I have money I am still happy and grateful every day.
True success is simply being able to be content right where you are, in my opinion. If you can do that, then you are posturing yourself for an amazing life. I know a lot of people that have money, and they are miserable, would you consider that success? You have to enjoy life, no matter where you are in it.
- Address: Alex DiSaggio
City Group Properties
4801 Woodway Drive Suite 300E
Houston, TX 77056
- Website: CityGroupProperties.com
- Phone: 713-36-HOUSE
- Email: Broker@CityGroupProperties.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/citygroupproperties
- Twitter: twitter.com/citygrouprealty
- Other: youtube.com/citygroupproperties