The UTC Real Estate Investment Luncheon is at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, in the UTC University Center Tennessee Room. The free lunch will feature a keynote presentation from Independence Realty Group founder Henry Washington, a panel discussion and a brief Q&A session. Click here to register.
Every student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga should want to be a member of the Real Estate Club.
So said Nick Galbreath, the club’s co-founder and podcast chair.
“Some people come to our meetings because they just want to buy a house one day and they don’t know the process behind it,” said Galbreath, a senior business management major. “If you plan to own a house, that’s part of real estate, and there’s a lot that goes into it.
“As we do more things and talk to more people, we learn how we can help everybody—or at least appeal to everybody—in some way.”
Or as Tim Stone, the club’s vice president of operations, added: “We have something for everyone, no matter what their interest level is.”
Galbreath, Stone and Ian Cushing are three of the UTC Real Estate Club organizers, a student-led organization open to all University students. The club’s mission is to connect members with real estate experts through educational meetings and networking while fostering professional growth.
Real estate in the Chattanooga market is hot and the growth of the Real Estate Club on campus is even hotter, said Hunter Holzhauer, the club’s faculty advisor.
“This club is in its third year on campus and it already has around 100 members,” said Holzhauer, a Robert L. Maclellan and UC Foundation associate professor of finance. “The Real Estate Club is becoming one of the premier clubs on campus, and one of the reasons for that is the work Ian, Nick and Tim are doing.
“The three have spearheaded the club, they’re super-motivated and they’ll talk to you forever about their podcast. These are go-getters. There’s no doubt about that.”
Walking the walk …
Along with the demands of being a college student, Galbreath is the founding partner of Ascend Properties, a company based on wholesaling residential, single-family and duplex properties.
Cushing, the club president, is a junior business entrepreneurship major and founder of Cushing Brothers & Co., a Memphis-based real estate company.
“When it comes to our growth, one of the biggest things has been Nick and Tim putting in the time to create relationships with people in the community and getting them involved with our club,” Cushing said. “For me, to be able to meet these people makes a huge impact and creates a lot of energy and excitement for our members.”
Stone’s real estate dealings are going so well that the entrepreneurship major is currently not taking classes. He is the co-owner and asset manager at The Well Fund and a real estate specialist at Croft and Frost.
“The Real Estate Club was very important in getting me to where I am now because I came to college looking to find a career in real estate investment,” Stone said. “But then, being a part of the club, I got to meet people who were professional real estate investors and had careers in real estate. It all came together for me.”
Before the club’s first meeting in fall 2019, Cushing walked around campus “handing out over 150 fliers that I made the night before.”
“It was just about getting ourselves out there to anyone and everyone. I was in the library and the College of Business and up and down Vine Street, just getting the word out,” he said.
… and talking the talk
COVID-19 could have shuttered an organization in its infancy. Instead, it spurred the club’s leaders into action.
Since they could not bring professionals in to speak to the students in person, they brainstormed ways to put content out there for students to see and hear.
“Social media became a huge thing for the growth of the club,” Stone said. “We recorded everything on camera as well as audio, and we began putting together Instagram clips. People were seeing them, and we got a lot of attention from that.”
That eventually led to the creation of the UTC Real Estate Club Podcast, which made its debut earlier this year.
The podcasts, hosted by the trio, have featured a wide range of guests and topics, including Chattanooga real estate investor David Grabiner; Nate Barger, an Ohio real estate investor who focuses on hotel deals; entrepreneur Antoine Martel; and UTC alumnus and agent/wholesaler/flipper Eddie Bodkin.
“It became an opportunity to sit down with these real estate professionals and create some content that we can send to everybody,” Stone said. “The Chattanooga real estate community is very intertwined. Everybody’s at all the networking events and they all know each other.
“Putting that content out there to students lets them learn a little bit about these people and see what opportunities they may want to pursue or hear different strategies.”
The podcasts come from a unique viewpoint because college-aged students are asking the questions, Galbreath said.
“Students can level with somebody like us versus watching a podcast hosted by somebody who’s 30 or 40 years old and at the height of their career,” he said.
“Yeah, we don’t know anything,” Stone said with a laugh. “That’s why we’re just asking the professionals and they’re telling us about what they do.
“Because we’re so young, almost everyone that we bring in to speak says something like, ‘Man, I wish there was a Real Estate Club at my university when I was in school.’ Educating yourself at this age is giving you that opportunity to get into the market.”