Location. Location. Location.
At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the Real Estate Club is one of the fastest-growing student organizations. It also mirrors the real estate market in the Chattanooga region.
In other words, it’s hot.
About to begin its fourth year at UTC, the Real Estate Club is a student-led group open to all University students, regardless of major. The club’s mission is to connect members with real estate experts through educational meetings and networking while also fostering professional growth.
Membership has surpassed the 100 mark, and the group hosted its first Real Estate Investment Luncheon during the 2021-2022 academic year.
As one of the group’s founders, Nick Galbreath, said, “Every student should want to be a member of the Real Estate Club. If you plan to own a house, that’s part of real estate, and there’s a lot that goes into it.”
So how do you keep the momentum going?
Location, of course. As in, you can learn about the club and real estate wherever you happen to be, thanks to the world of podcasting.
“Podcasts are a great way to have an open conversation for a long period of time that doesn’t take any attendance except for the hosts and guests,” said Ian Cushing, a UTC rising senior majoring in marketing and professional sales and president of the Real Estate Club.
“When you have a podcast, someone could be riding their bike, driving to work, relaxing, working out and still be able to take in that knowledge.”
Cushing, along with Galbreath and Tim Stone, co-hosts the “Student of the Game” podcast, available on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Using equipment provided by the UTC Library Studio, “Student of the Game” features a wide range of real estate professionals—both near and far—as the trio meets regularly to produce content that allows students to learn more about the market.
Podcast guests have included Chattanooga real estate investor David Grabiner, UTC alumnus and agent/wholesaler/ flipper Eddie Bodkin, Ricky Carruth, an Alabama-based real estate agent who closes more than 100 transactions each year, and Cody Davis, who owned 81 apartments by the age of 21.
“I think that the market we’re in makes a positive impact on the outcome of the club,” Cushing said. “There are a lot of people doing really big things in town that love to educate young people about it.
“People doing big things want to teach young people. The club is a great forum to do that.”
One of the keys to the podcast’s success, Cushing said, is the co-hosts realize how young they are in age and experience.
“We’re not pretending to have all the answers. We go into the podcasts with the attitude of, ‘Help us learn,’” he said. “Having these professionals on there, they know we’re young and we’re trying to help others. If there’s an advanced term that they use, we’ll go back and ask them to explain it because we know that listeners might not know what it means.
“It’s very exciting because you get to learn more than you would in just a normal conversation. You can kind of dig in a little bit deeper into these terms that are just kind of thrown around while learning all the different strategies that you don’t easily find.”
Galbreath, who received a bachelor’s degree in business management in December 2021, now works in commercial real estate in Boston. Stone is on a break from school. His real estate dealings are going so well—in other words, lucrative—that the entrepreneurship major is currently not taking classes.
Still, the three remain in constant contact, congregating behind computer cameras to churn out content.
“To be able to continue to have that forum with Nick and Tim is important since we’re all doing different things and meeting different people throughout the industry,” Cushing said. “We’re posting pretty much every week, and we have had plenty of great guests.”
Cushing, a native of Memphis, said Chattanooga’s robust real estate market has given him many opportunities to learn.
To him, location really has made a difference.
“If I was somewhere where it wasn’t booming, it would be tough to find people having incredible success in that area,” he said. “So coming here has had a positive impact on me and my future career.”
This is an updated version of a story that first appeared in the spring 2022 issue of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Magazine.