Chas Carrier Of HomeVestors: Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Opening a Franchise

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Networking is very important. You have to talk about your business with others at all times. You really need to be proactive in bringing in business and doing so by making connections with others.

The world of franchising offers a unique blend of entrepreneurship and established business models. However, navigating the franchise landscape can be daunting, especially for those embarking on this journey for the first time. There are lessons to be learned, pitfalls to avoid, and success stories to be inspired by. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Chas Carrier.

Chas Carrier has been with HomeVestors for 18 years. He owes four franchise territories — Dallas/Ft. Worth, Johnson County (Texas), Nashville, and Chattanooga.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion about succession, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I started in the corporate world and had a long and successful run on Wall Street and then worked in management for Pepsi. I liked the Dallas area but ended up running a business in Rochester, NY and didn’t really enjoy it. I served until my contract expired and then figured I would return to the corporate world.

I always enjoyed residential real estate and saw HomeVestors’ “We Buy Ugly Houses” billboards. I did some research and eventually purchased a franchise in Dallas.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

There are a lot of interesting stories in this business. We’ve done our share of work on high-end properties and they give us a lot of satisfaction. We purchased one foreclosed home in a nice part of Dallas and we had a great vision of what needed to be done to sell the property. We were able to figure out the downside of the property and why people were not drawn to it and we took a successful path in upgrading it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Slow and steady wins the race”. That is especially important in residential real estate. It is about putting the assets together to make you successful. You need to have a strategy in place to build long-term wealth, and that is where slow and steady is important. I see others who want to try to make money and ramp up too fast. Real estate is a business where things accumulate.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think the thing that makes HomeVestors stand out is the quality of the culture. It is a very supportive environment. I’ve been with other franchises where there was a considerable amount of tension between the franchisor and franchisee. That doesn’t exist with HomeVestors. Real estate is a very volatile business. Our leadership has done an incredible job of creating a system that is very supportive.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. What factors did you consider when selecting your franchise, and how did you determine it was the right fit for you?

It was important for me to have a passion for the product. I wasn’t planning on getting into franchising, but I did have a passion for real estate. By starting my franchise, I was able to decide where I wanted to live and also do something that interested me. That definitely helped in deciding what I wanted to do and in my daily work.

Can you share a significant challenge you faced while establishing your franchise? How did you overcome this obstacle, and what did this experience teach you about running a successful franchise?

Even though I had a passion for real estate, I had no professional experience in that area. Without that, I had to fall back on my management, leadership and recruiting skills. That is what I used to make it work from the start. I had high expectations for the business and rather than doing it myself, I started to build a team.

Looking back to when you first started your franchise, what was one aspect that completely took you by surprise? This could be related to the franchising process, customer interactions, or day-to-day management that you hadn’t anticipated.

Starting a franchise requires a considerable amount of capital. Some people will see a successful business and think they were able to generate income right away. Just understanding how much capital was required and the foundation that needed to be built to be successful, that you need to be prepared for that.

In hindsight, what advice would you give to potential franchisees about selecting a franchise that aligns with their personal and professional goals?

I’m a big believer in having a passion for the business. I liked getting into franchising as a way to control the location in which I lived and worked.

How do you balance adhering to the established systems of your franchise with the need to innovate and adapt to your local market? Can you provide an example of a successful adaptation or innovation you implemented in your franchise?

I wouldn’t have gotten into this business without it being a franchise. I didn’t have experience in real estate and I felt I needed a system to teach me. That was essential for my success. But as time goes on, you see things on the front lines that the franchisor doesn’t necessarily see. Some of the best innovations come from franchisees doing things a bit differently. For me, that was coming up with some long-term methods of lead generation to be successful.

One example is getting into online auctions of houses. Although it is now more mainstream, when we started it was innovative and allowed us to buy a lot of houses and make money.

What are your “Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Opening a Franchise”?

1 . I didn’t realize how different it was from the corporate world. I thought I was well-rounded and knew how to run a business. But you don’t realize how much a corporation supplies things in areas that you have to do on your own. For example, you have to worry about raising capital on your own.

2 . The ramp up time that is required. It takes more time to get to the steady state than you would think or like.

3 . Networking is very important. You have to talk about your business with others at all times. You really need to be proactive in bringing in business and doing so by making connections with others.

4 . Recruiting is key. That is one of the things that has made us successful. Some of our best resources and hires have been random occurrences.

5 . You have to build a great team, and that doesn’t mean just the people who work directly for you. In my case, it can include bankers or a legal team. That is essential to your success.

As your franchise has grown, what have been the key drivers of its success? Looking forward, what strategies do you plan to implement to ensure continued growth and sustainability in an ever-evolving market?

I think having a passion for the business is essential, at least in real estate. Most people I know who are successful in real estate talk about the industry all the time. Having a strong work ethic is also very important. I find that I need to stay connected with the market. Real estate is a volatile business and you need to always stay on top of things.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

There is a lot of seasonality in real estate, so you need to know when those important times occur, whether they are going up or down. I also want to spend a lot of time identifying the next great sub-markets in my area the rest of my career.

Technology in the field has really taken off recently. It can be a real challenge to adapt and embrace technology, especially at this stage of my career.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I like to think of a way to make the world a better place through real estate. One area is affordable housing. There is just not enough of it. I also see some opportunities in real estate to get involved with halfway houses because so many of those are dependent on having the right piece of real estate.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.