Breaking into real estate with humble beginnings
After spending time at West Point and working as a headhunter, Jim heard of the potential profitability of real estate through a friend and took his chances on small rental properties. Single family homes and small lots of land provided him a myriad of learning experiences and a foundation of knowledge. Compared to the massive multifamily properties that Jim works on now, his start emphasizes the importance of learning to crawl before you walk or run
“The ‘crawl, walk, run’ method was one of the funnest times of my life. We felt like we were so broke, but we were happy, because all of our money and energy was in those houses.”
Volunteering to help fellow veterans and those impacted by war overseas
Jim’s work has never stopped with real estate, and his experience in the army never stopped with his graduation from West Point. A major volunteer project that Jim was recently involved in centered around helping combat interpreters apply for United States citizenship and move their families out of the Middle East. Through tireless efforts and tapping into his personal network, he’s helped many families safely escape impacted areas together.
“There ended up being about 500 people [that we helped through combat interpreter assistance], and I don’t want to take credit for me doing all that. There were at least 10 of my buddies that were around the clock with us.”
Remembering that his success didn’t happen overnight
It took Jim a long time to get from small properties to the large projects Sabot Development works on now, but the process was a necessary learning experience according to Jim. Guiding principles for Jim throughout his career have been character and leadership. Incorporating the knowledge he learned during his enlistment and the experience he’s developed over the years, he fully embraces that identity can be your currency.
“It is a big jump, but at the same time, I feel like I never tried to go from here to there. We worked our way along and have learned lessons, sometimes the hard way.”
Understanding where bureaucracy fails developers and tenants
On our quest for a Greater Texas, we have to acknowledge the current lack of affordable projects in Austin. When bringing this up to Jim, he reassured me that this issue is not just on my radar, but on his as well. For Jim, the permits, fees, and permissions needed to get projects off the ground has deeply impacted the affordability of housing projects, making many developers give up on lower-priced housing options due to red tape and wasted time.
“The biggest impediment in my opinion [to affordable housing] is the bureaucracy and time it takes to get a site plan and a permit.”