Colin Reilly - President, Townsend Kane

Colin Reilly is an Entrepreneur and Real Estate Investor. Born and raised in Tucson Arizona, after earning a degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Baylor University and a successful run at the Southwestern company selling books, he elected to head home and establish his roots.

In 2003 Colin and his brother were franchisees of the company HomeVestors, where they purchased undervalued houses and provided distressed homeowners with alternative options to foreclosure. By 2008 they had purchased over 600 single family homes.

While in operation of HomeVestors, Colin also founded a company called Drive electric. In 2009, as part of the economic stimulus package, the company capitalized on an incentive for taxpayers to purchase an electric vehicle. With the incentive expiring year end 2009, it gave Colin Reilly and Drive Electric only 60 days to market and sell the units. They were able to garner attention from Fox News and CNN, directing national traffic to their website.

The company went on to sell 10,000 cars in 2 months, which equated to over $75M in gross revenue. Eventually, Colin sold the company and began focusing on his investment firm, Townsend Kane.

Today, Colin is the President of Townsend Kane with his brother, Rob, as CEO.  The firm is now Tucson’s Number One home buyer, and they pride themselves on their ability to provide fair and fast home purchases.

Colin thanks his 4 summers as a salesman at Southwestern for teaching him grit, determination and problem solving skills that have undoubtedly contributed to his entrepreneurial success. Colin states one of his greatest inspirations being his college sweetheart, to whom he’s been married for over 23 years and has raised a family of four.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

In 2003, my brother and I signed up to become a franchisee with HomeVestors, the “we buy ugly houses” company.  While we had little real estate knowledge, our background in sales and finance gave us an edge and we became the number 1 office in the country out of 350.  We fell in love with the house buying business as we were constantly solving complicated problems.  We worked with HomeVestors for 5-years and purchased over 600 single family homes in Tucson during that time.  Townsend Kane was founded in 2009 and is a boutique real estate investment firm.  We continue to seek residential and commercial real estate opportunities and apply a win-win strategy in every deal we structure.

How do you make money?

Townsend Kane buys, rehabs and sells single family houses.  Our firm might “flip” 40-50 homes each year and we have holding companies that own rental properties which include single family and multi-family houses, a fraternity house on campus, a restaurant, a commercial building leased to a behavioral health clinic, and two wedding venues.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

Investing in real estate take tremendous capital.  We became profitable after our first year and continue to invest in hiring amazing staff that help us complete our mission.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

There are always highs and lows in business and moments of confidence and insecurity.  We’ve learned that success is never final, and failure is never fatal. This mindset allows us to set and measure aggressive but attainable goals.

How did you get your first customer?

Our first home purchased came as a result of an ad placed.  The seller called us in the morning, by noon we were sitting down with him writing up a purchase contract and we closed 2-weeks later.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

It seems no matter the industry, people don’t like to prospect or cold call for new business.  Most of our business comes as a result of us reaching out to prospective customers.  In order to be successful, we research the prospect’s situation in order to offer a meaningful solution once we meet them.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

Saying no to a good opportunity in order to yes to a better opportunity can be difficult.  We recently came across several premium vacant lots that would’ve been an excellent development for us.  This would require us to build spec homes and be patient for the market.  While there was an enticing profit projected, we decided against it because it was outside our scope of expertise.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

Understand the “why” behind what you do is critical.  For me as a Christian, I believe I have a higher accountability than man to answer for my life’s choices and behavior.  This motivates me to treat others the way I want to be treated and to make an effort to always do the right thing irrespective of the pain or consequence.  I have hired and trained like-minded individuals who are exceptional at their core and who desire to use their gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of those we do business with.  I am relentless when it comes to solving complex real estate problems and never give up, no matter the challenge in front of me.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Building a profitable enterprise while improving the lives of those I touch is very rewarding.  When we buy a distressed home it generally has a lot of deferred maintenance and has been a burden to the owner.  We provide a sensible option for sellers that include a fast close, moving assistance, and flexibility.  Every seller is different and has a unique story and situation and it really is a privilege to help solve the real estate dilemma.

The crews who renovate our properties have been with us for almost 10-years and are a key component to our business.  It will usually take us 60-days to completely rehab a property.  By improving the condition of the house and offering it on the market for a buyer, we help increase the values in the neighborhood.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

I have been through a real estate cycle and have enjoyed the run up on appreciation and have suffered through the downturn.  Our business model is sustainable and enduring.  I’m most excited about growing the rental business and looking for new and diverse real estate opportunities.

What business books have inspired you?

The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan.

What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

We made a recent investment into web development and software that can support our business.

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