Jason Abrams is known as the "Jerry Maguire of real estate." With more than 10 years of experience, he's created a hugely successful real estate business that caters to professional athletes as well as entertainers. His success in the fast-paced, high-end real estate market of celebrities garnered the attention of HGTV, who gave him a television show, "Scoring the Deal."
Abrams took time out of his busy, non-stop schedule to talk to us about why he got involved with professional athletes, what he hopes viewers will gain from watching his show, and his plans for 2013 and beyond.
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Abrams lives and breathes real estate. He started over 10 years ago in Michigan, where he experienced moderate success. But moderation isn't a word generally used in Abrams' world. He eventually came to see his home state as a non-dynamic real estate market, in that even in the best of times, it was appreciating slowly.
That belief, coupled with the current boom that was going on in the Arizona market, created a desire for Abrams and his team to make the move and be a part of what they were sure would be massive success.
"We thought there was going to be this huge migration of people as they retired from cold-weather climates to warm-weather climates," says Abrams. "It was after we got there (Arizona), and the economy collapsed, that we realized people were not going to retire, because nobody could afford to do it anymore. And all of the sudden we were in the epicenter of foreclosures. So the reason that I moved there, didn't necessarily pan out."
Despite that fact, Abrams enjoyed his time in Arizona. And although he maintained a level of success that many real estate agents would have been envious of even through the crash, he felt the need to branch out. Abrams refused to let the market collapse determine his success, and a previous deal his team had secured in years past had fostered a vision of what was to come.
The Abrams Team had received a referral from an agent in Florida who was representing a soon-to-be Miami Dolphin, until the Detroit Lions jumped in and snatched him away. The agent called Abrams and asked his team to take care of him in his home-buying endeavors in Michigan, and they obliged.
"We sold him a home, earned a pretty nice commission check, and everything was great," says Abrams. "After that we flew out to his financial advisers and agents to say thank you for the opportunity. We were so young and excited -- it was like our first business trip."
That "thank you" is where Abrams traces his company's success.
"Saying thank you really worked," says Abrams. "They still send us referrals today. We grew and scaled the business along with the league, and now we're the largest in our space. So I can trace our whole success back to one thank you."
Abrams says he became intrigued with the athlete-relocation market due to his insistence on never being tied to one specific, geographic location. He says he also felt a calling to help athletes avoid going broke, after reading a startling statistic regarding the number of NFL players that file bankruptcy after they retire from professional sports. (According to "Sports Illustrated," 78 percent of NFL players and 60 percent of NBA players file for bankruptcy within five years of retirement)
"The statistic blew me away," says Abrams. "If you internalize that figure and you think about it, we're talking about our modern-day gladiators, and this is what happens to them? Only 22 percent of them don't file bankruptcy? It's outrageous."
Abrams says his company's mission is to change that statistic. He believes the best way to go about doing so is through financial education and responsible financial stewardship, which he believes starts with your home.
Abrams says that they won't sell an athlete a home in their first year in the league, whether the player is a first-pick in the draft or an undrafted free agent.
"If you want to buy something, you've got to go find someone else to sell it to you," says Abrams. "You're going from a dorm room into what? Buying a multi-million dollar home and then trying to fill it with beautiful things, and oh by the way, learning how to compete in the most competitive league known to mankind? Doesn't make any sense to me."
Instead, Abram says, they put new athletes in full-furnished rentals, where all they have to do is bring their suitcase and their playbook. All Abrams wants his clients to do is worry about football-at least for the first year or two.
Abrams hopes that viewers who watch his show are ultimately entertained, because he says they've worked really hard to make it entertaining. But more importantly, he hopes they will see a much deeper side in their favorite players than perhaps they had seen previously watching the games on Sundays. Lastly, Abrams hopes that he's inspiring future clients.
Check out what Abrams is reading after the jump ...
What are you currently reading?
"Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape," by Jenna Miscavige Hill with Lisa Pulitzer.
What's the premise?
Her uncle, David Miscavige, is the head of the Church of Scientology. So she was born into this group, and lived really high up in it in the most secret throes of the organization. And it's a story of what her life was life growing up in it, and why she left. What makes it interesting, is she was a member of the "Sea Org," which is like the most secret order of the Scientologists. And her mother and uncle are as high up as you can get, and they still are. It's really cool, I'm enjoying it.
What was the last book you read?
"Fatherhood for Dummies," or something like that. My wife is expecting in March.
What's next on your list?
"The One Thing." It's Gary Keller's (from Keller Wlliams)new book, and it's kind of a departure from his traditional books on real estate. This book has made me look at life a little bit. The concept is there's the "80/20 rule," and that rule is kind of incomplete. Really you can take the 20 percent of important things, and pare that down to 80/20, and pare that down to 80/20, and so on, and before you know it you have one activity that would make all other activities either easier or irrelevant to be done. So what is our one thing?
How do you pick your next books?
I'm a cover guy, I judge a book by its cover. I traveled 309 days last year, so I'm in an airport maybe three days a week coming and going. So I spend a lot of time in airport bookstores before flights.
What's your favorite way to read a good book?
Well first of all, I prefer paper over e-readers. I like to turn pages. I guess I really like reading on planes, because when I'm not on planes there's an awful lot of people pulling at me these days. It's nice to be in the air, where there's nothing going on except the clouds, and you can kind of tune out.
"Scoring the Deal" first season episodes are currently running on HGTV on Tuesdays and Sundays. For more information on Jason Abrams and "Scoring the Deal," please visit HGTV's website or The Abrams Team's website.