The stock market crash of 2008 was a result of a series of events that led to the failure of some of the largest companies in U.S. history. As the housing bubble subsequently burst, it affected banks and financial institutions who were betting on the continued increase in home prices. This left hundreds of thousands of people facing foreclosures on their homes, losing their jobs, and facing the possibility of living on the street. One of the people who decided to take action during this devastating recession was David Stanger. Dedicating his career and business to helping people navigate the uncertainty of foreclosure, David Stanger started tackling this problem one client at a time, until he grew his business into what it is today.
David Stanger was born and grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. After completing his Bachelors of Talmudic Law from Beth Medrash Govoha, he went on to study Real Estate Finance and Investment at NYU SCPS. After investing in residential properties for several years, the Real Estate market crashed in 2010. At this time, he decided to build a business focusing on helping people handle all the foreclosures that were developing from the recession. Today, he remains with his company, the Westmarq Real Estate Group, as the VP where he helps clients with their real estate and foreclosure issues.
How did you get started in this business?
After the 2008 recession, it was impossible for me to ignore how the housing crisis was impacting families all across America. As someone who has been lucky enough to always have a roof over my head, I knew that I needed to do something. Already working in the real estate business, I decided to dedicate my career to helping others navigate the turbulent waters of foreclosure. As many people do not have the resources to be able to turn their finances around, I wanted to use my skillset to help them create a sustainable future for them and their families.
How do you make money?
In short, Westmarq Real Estate Group helps people with foreclosures. Through foreclosure and real estate solutions, we try to get the best possible deals for our clients, settling their debt and getting them out of a foreclosure.
How long did it take for you to become profitable when you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
It did not take long for our company to become profitable when we were starting out, primarily because it was built out of necessity. After the 2010 real estate recession, hundreds of thousands of people were facing foreclosures on their homes, and needed help navigating that uncertainty and find sustainable solutions. These people, at their most vulnerable, needed a licensed real estate agency that knew the ins and outs of foreclosure. Our agents worked, and still work, very hard to help guide individuals towards a clear solution that allows them to move on in life with their finances intact.
How did you get your first customer?
As I was already in real estate at the time of the recession, I knew dozens of people who were facing a foreclosure on their home. Through these relationships I was able to get my first customer.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
It is extremely important for us to be where our clients are and are slowly starting to build out our social media marketing efforts to reach clients who may need our help. From Instagram to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Linked In, we are trying to share relevant stories, tips on navigating a foreclosure, and ways to connect with us and our business. All of these sales funnels lead potential clients directly to our website, which is easily our greatest resource. In addition, the submission form on our website has generated a fair amount of traffic, and it takes away the fear of calling or e-mailing someone directly, allowing us to gather information about our clients to generate new leads.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision I have had to make in the last few months is to take a little bit of time for myself. I am not only financially, socially, and physically invested in Westmarq Real Estate Group, but emotionally invested as well. A lot of the people we help are in emotional distress, and I carry that with me until we are able to get them on track for financial stability. This has taken a toll on me, and I have had to incorporate self-care practices like exercise, meditation and hobbies into my daily schedule. While it was a difficult decision, it has made me a better leader.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I have an unbreakable spirit. Despite feeling emotionally burnt out, the passion for helping others and excelling at a skill I have been cultivating over my entire career has given me the drive and motivation to succeed. If you do not feel connected to the work you are doing in some way or lack the motivation to improve your skills and expertise, it is my honest belief that you will not be successful.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
There are too many satisfying moments to pick just one. Other than starting Westmarq Real Estate Group, it is in every success we are able to achieve for clients.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
As someone who works with clients facing foreclosures on their homes, it is difficult to say I am excited about the prospect of more clients. However, I do hope to be able to expand our operations, increasing our overall manpower to be able to help more people.
What business books have inspired you?
There is a book by Adam Grant called “Give and Take”, which outlines why helping others drives our success. Of course, talent, hard work and drive all drive success, but Grant shows through his own research that giving has a surprising impact on success. As someone who feels like this book was written for them, I cannot recommend it enough to other entrepreneurs and business owners. It not only reinforced my drive to give back but helped me further develop my skills.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to take hard work more seriously and to slow down. I think we all go through a phase when we are younger where we lack motivation and would rather spend time with our friends. If I could go back, I would’ve spent more hours dedicated to developing my skillset, and it would have helped make life easier in the long run. Additionally, and possibly contradictorily, I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy life as it happened. Too often we get caught up in the stress and overwhelm of everyday life, that we forget to enjoy the little moments.
Would you consider being a mentor? If so, how would someone contact you?
I am afraid my plate is full right now. I just would not have the time to spare at the moment.